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CATEGORY ARCHIVES:
Is vanity/subsidy publishing really a scam or just another publishing method?

As has been requested (endlessly) EK's Star Log is returning to the internet. You can still read the original archive here... https://eelkat.wordpress.com 

The reason you couldn't find it is because I set it to private un-index mode, meaning it no longer shows up in Google search results and can only be accessed by a direct link.

Meaning, if you didn't have the url for it, no amount of searching for it would tell you how to find it. Anyone who had the url could still access it though.

I had set it to private September 23, 2013, intending to move each page here to EelKat.com... however, November 14, 2013, after only moving about 30 pages, I was beaten up and left paralyzed for 5 months, then spent 18 months relearning to walk. I am still crippled and have limited mobility.

Below is one of the blog posts that originally appeared on EK's Star Log. The original articles are still online but no longer indexed in Google. Links to the original article, are included with this post, as is the original posting date. Clicking the links will take you to the original site, where you can see the old Space Dock 13 website still online. Space Dock 13 as it looked when hosted on WordPress from 2003 to 2013.


By EelKat Wendy C Allen

Is vanity/subsidy publishing really a scam
or just another publishing method?

Is vanity/subsidy publishing really a scam or just another publishing method?

Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2012 | Comments Off

IS VANITY/SUBSIDY PUBLISHING REALLY A SCAM OR JUST ANOTHER PUBLISHING METHOD???

There is so much misconception about vanity/subsidy publishing. Many people think it is all a scam, but it isn’t really. I don’t see any harm in fee charging companies. they are a business and part of the publishing world as much as any other publishing method is. Sure there are many scam artists who pose as vanity/subsidy publishers, but in reality, there are also many scam artists who pose as editors, self publishers and main stream publishers.

Why is there so much negativity about vanity publishing? I think that perhaps people are mislead about the publishing industry. I would not choose to use a vanity press because I can see not added bonuses that i don’t get with self publishing.

I would like to know your thoughts on the subject so that I can be educated as to the truth about vanity/subsidy or fee charging publishing. I do not know a lot and am looking forward to knowing a lot more about the publishing industry, in particular the vanity side.

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My Answer:

 I don’t see it as a scam, so much as being scam-like in their methods. By that I mean, most of the vanity press companies are not honest up front with the authors. They often put on a big show of “Publish with us and become famous!”

Vanity press is fine for those who understand how it works and can see past the hype, but the unfortunate truth is that most authors come into it, thinking they are dealing with a publisher and have no idea they are actually dealing with nothing more than a small time copy shop with a big website. You could easily walk down the street to your local copy shop and order your book printed there, because it’s exactly the same thing.

Vanity press is you paying money for a print shop to print up your book. Nothing more. Nothing less. Authors have been doing it this way since the 1600’s. Shakespeare did it. Ben Franklin did it. Mark Twain did it. Hundreds of authors have used it and been successful. Many still do. But the one’s that use it successfully, also know ahead of time that THEY are responsible for advertising, marketing, buying an ISBN, making their own press kit, sending out review copies, contacting mom&pop bookstores, sending out waiting room copies, sending copies to libraries, contacting interviewers on their own, etc, etc, etc.

Why I feel it is often scam-like, is when you deal with shady companies like Tate or IUniverse, who tells you this story of “signing a contract” with them, and how if you pay extra they’ll “market your book”. New authors read the hype and think they are actually getting something special, when in fact, all they are getting is an ISBN (which they could have bought on their own for $33 directly from the gov) and a listing on Amazon (which they could have done on their own for FREE).

That’s it.

That’s all they get for their extra $300.

New authors get the letter from Tate and than the phone calls, and the emails, and more letters, and more phone calls, and think “I must be a really good writer, look how desperate they are to publish my book!” Fact is, Tate is desperate for the book, because it’s their source of income, and an author with more experience would know that no legitimate publisher is going to hound you night and day begging you to publish with them.



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Why I feel it is scam-like, comes into play when the author dishes out $1,000 to $30,000 thinking they’ll get a good income from the investment. Than they are stunned when truck load after truck load of books show up on their door step. Suddenly they realize what vanity press actually is. Suddenly it hits them, they have to spend another $200 a month for many, many years, for a storage unit to keep all these thousands of books in. Suddenly they realize, there is no marketer advertising their book, no sales rep taking the book out to shops, no distributor sending their books to Amazon’s warehouse, zip, nadda, nothing. Than it hits them, all the many more thousands of dollars they have to pay to do those things themselves.

How do I know this? Two ways.

#1) I did a lot of research before I started self-publishing, and I knew what I was getting into when I started out. So from 1978 – 1997 I used vanity press, because I only needed a hundred or so copies of each of my books. I wasn’t looking to mass market. I knew there wasn’t a large following for my genre. For me, at that time in my career, vanity press worked fine. Today I prefer POD and eBook publishing. My fan following has grown from a few dozen to 7,000 so it’s no longer feasible for me to be printing up hard copies via vanity press. It was a good thing for me, but now I have outgrown it and the disadvantages now outweigh the advantages for me, but for many years it was a good thing.

#2) I have an uncle who wrote 5 books, and used vanity press for each one. He printed up 2,000 copies of each book. He had no idea how much space 10,000 books take up. He took out a $200,000 loan to cover the cost of printing and storage.

He lost his house and now lives in a much smaller place, made even smaller by being stacked floor to ceiling, room to room with 9,000+ unsold books. He spent so much on cost of printing and storage that he can not afford advertising or marketing. He has weird phobias of book stores and Amazon and believes the only way to sell his book is on a free hosted website that is difficult to find at best, and only has a cryptic message telling people to contact him for info on his book and how to buy it.

He did all this near on 20 years ago and has sold fewer than 1000 copies in that time.

He is a perfect example of what is wrong with vanity press.

He believed the hype and did not do his research, he dished out too much money and get deep in debt, and he is far from being alone in this.

In conclusion, I think vanity press is good if you know what you are getting into, and do your planning and researching, but I also think it is more often than not, a very bad thing, because few who do it, know what they are actually getting into, and it’s too easy for people to get themselves in a lot of financial trouble with it.


Good morning Starshine! Liked this post? Looking to connect with me online? I love social networks and am on most of them. You can find me on: BloggerEtsyFaceBookGoogle+KeenMySpaceNaNoWriMoProBoardsScript FrenzySpoonflowerSquidooTwitterULC Ministers NetworkWordPress,and Zazzle Feel free to give me a shout any  time. Many blessings to you, may all your silver clouds be lined with rhinestones and sparkle of golden sunshine. Have yourself a great and wonderful glorious day!


~Rev. Wendy C. Allen

Comments Offon FQAs: Is vanity/subsidy publishing really a scam or just another publishing method?

Posted in advice for fiction writersAdvice for Self PublishersAsk a WriterAsk EelKatPOD Publishingself publishingSubsidy Publishingvanity press


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