Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DM3W: Never Pay To Publish Your Book- Part 2

In the 1st part of this discussion, I mentioned the basic misunderstandings I had when looking at self-publishing houses. We're going to dwell a little deeper into exactly what these sort of publishers are, what they do, and the reasons why they may not be the best idea for authors that want to make writing a career.

What I call self-publishing houses is what people generally refer to as vanity publishers or vanity press. I personally don't like using that term since "vanity" can have some negative implications behind it, and I believe in a "you get what you pay for" way of thinking. And as I tried to stress before, I'm not trying to make these companies seem like "the bad guys" for us authors. There's simply a misunderstanding between what some of us expect out of them, and I'm hoping to redirect some people's ideas before they make the same misconceptions I did.

So, a "vanity press" is a company that a person can pay to print their books along with other services. If one pays the certain amount, one can also have some marketing items like bookmarks, post cards, a press release and business cards. Other services could also include copy editing, copyrighting, an ISBN, the inclusion of one's book on various websites, and just about any marketing idea one can possibly think of. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, that's because it is, for the most part. ^_^

However, self publishing houses tend to be more effective toward people that might be looking for a smaller audience. A person who wants to give books out to family, friends, and maybe some coworkers would probably be pretty content with paying someone for all this work. However, call it a hunch, but I'm guessing you want to share your books with a broader audience if you're reading this article, right? ^_^

I'm going to break off this segment into 4 parts.

  1. Cover
  2. Editing
  3. Pricing
  4. Marketing
We'll discuss the first two items that vanity press does for an indie author, and why one might want to reconsider going strictly solo.

Cover- While self-publishing/vanity houses offer so many items in their packages, quality may not be included in the criteria. Many people might be able to decipher a "vanity press" author just by the look of a cover. While these companies have an arsenal of designers, they may not necessarily put their best foot forward with effort, and yes, people still do judge a book by its cover. I got my degree as a graphic designer, so I'd like to think I have a basic idea on what a good design is or isn't ;). Now, I'm not the best designer by any means, which is why  "Prossia" is getting a cover redo.

Still,In many cases, many of the cover designs seen from vanity press companies are considered hit or miss. I've seen some covers that are just downright awesome while others arrrrrrre. . . not so much. >_> One's best bet is to simply go out and find a designer that you know will get the job done right. Besides, it'll save you some money. ;)

Editing- Another issue is the editing. Most of these presses provide copy editing, which is very important, but not nearly as effective as having a a full fledged editor. For those that don't know the difference, copy editors can correct grammar issues in one's story. No one likes typos! However, a regular editor goes beyond the mere grammar issues. He/she will offer insight on how to make a story stronger. In most cases, an editor is more expensive, but if you've been following my posts, you should know by now that I consider editors one of the best financial investments an author should be willing to make for his/her book. A finely edited story can be the difference between a 3 star or five star review. Don't believe me? Read a review I got on "Prossia" that could've been more positive if I invested more. So, instead of saving that money for all of the packages self-publishing houses offer, one might be better off saving that money for a solid editor.


I will say it again. DO NOT. DO NOT. DO NOT PAY TO HAVE YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED. Patience is the key. We need to do our research in regards to making sure our stories get the quality attention they deserve. Besides, we've been too reckless by skipping meals, staying up late, and having family and friends get angry at us for suddenly becoming "antisocial." And by the way, none of those are really necessary either, but that's a whole 'nuther story. ;) 'Til then, keep those creative juices flowing, and stay tuned for the next segment! Pricing and marketing are some of the more important reasons why a self-publishing house may not be the best fit for you. More on that later!

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