Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Vanity v. Self Publishing

Today at my writer’s online forum, an interesting discussion ensued on Vanity vs. Print on Demand Publishing. I have since learned that Print on Demand is the method by which books are published, and that the real issue is between Vanity and Self Publishing. Many people believe they are one in the same because books are not published by traditional means. However, I have come to believe that Vanity and Self Publishing are not the same.

Vanity Publishers are often masked as a traditional publishing avenue. For example, we have all heard about markets where your poetry is accepted, but only if you buy the book. If you don’t buy the book, your poem is thrown into the garbage. My friend once wrote the worst poem possible, which got accepted only if she purchased the book. Her point proven, she did not buy the book. These vanity publishers really know how to talk an author up and, if you are not in careful check of your own need to be immediately published, they will reel you in.

On the other hand, I believe that a legitimate self publishing company is straight forward. An internet search of Self Publishers brought up many companies. From what I see, most Self Publishers are up front that the writer will pay to have their work published. They often list out their packages and costs. Others ask that you tell them about your book first. I believe the honesty of what they offer is what separates them from Vanity Publishers.

Of course, this all seems black and white, but I’m sure there are some grey areas in between. I suppose that Vanity Publishers can indeed be legitimate and honest about their services, just as Self Publishers can be sneaky and underhanded. I would say that, whatever avenue you choose, whether it be an adventure in vanity or a journey in self, be sure to keep your eyes open and explore all the avenues and alleys. Ask yourself why you are choosing your particular path and be completely honest.

I have had some poetry and two short stories published. I am nowhere ready to publish my novel. So, all of what I have written is based on a little experience, lots of research and some introspection. I guess that does not make me an expert in the publishing business, but it does show how well I can reason this all out.

When it's time to publish my novel, I have decided I will…..

Never mind. No time to think about it now.

Happy writing.

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