I like to believe there is a huge chasm between vanity publishing and self-publishing. Vanity publishing has been with us for a long time. Many of us dream of being published and we approach this dream from different directions, vanity publishing being one of those directions, albeit an expensive and potentially damaging one. And there are bad ones out there, scammy ones whose sole aim is to make as much money as possible, irrespective of the dreams and ambitions they trample on. A vanity scam is like a gigantic evil squid–once you’re caught by one of its many clawed tentacles, you’re going to have a hard time breaking free and it’s going to cost you. You’ll either lose everything or you’ll lose chunks of flesh while trying to escape. Honestly, we don’t need vanity publishers. There are way too many options open to us. But not many writers know this. What is also worrisome is that some of these vanity presses are owned by traditional publishers. That is the shocking part.
David Gaughran at Let’s Get Digital wrote yet another excellent article on the scams out there and how many writers and writer hopefuls are still being exploited today. It’s a sad article. You’ll see why. Here are some excerpts. You should also read the comments.
“Today it’s very different. The scammy vanity presses are owned by traditional publishers who are marketing them as the “easy” way to self-publish – when it’s nothing more than a horrifically expensive and terribly ineffective way to publish your work, guaranteed to kill your book’s chance of success stone dead, while emptying your bank account in the process.”
“And it’s much harder to tell the scammers from the legitimate organizations when they are owned by the same people”
“Publishing is a screwed up business. The often labyrinthine path to success makes it much easier for those with nefarious intentions to scam the unsuspecting. But it doesn’t help that so many organizations who claim to help writers, to respect them, to assist them along the path to publication are actually screwing them over.”
And from the comments:
The figures are pretty damning when you line them up:
1. 150,000 customers have only published 190,000 books, meaning there’s very little repeat business – esp. when you factor in all the authors publishing multiple titles right off the bat. For comparison, the average Smashwords author has published over four titles with them.
2. The average Author Solutions customer spends $5,000 publishing their book, and only sells 150 copies.
3. Only one-third of Author Solutions’ income comes from book sales royalties. Two thirds comes from author services – their whole model is based on making money from you, not with you.
Read the rest here: The Author Exploitation Business | David Gaughran.