I hate to be negative. I think writing is a great way to make a sideline income, or even a full time income, and I want to share my enthusiasm with you.
But sometimes you do need to be cautious. You see, not everything in the writing garden is rosy. And today I want to WARN YOU about something I really do think you need to stay away from.
Here’s the sort of thing I’m talking about ….
You’re reading a newspaper, magazine, or a website, or you might receive an email, that goes something along these lines ….
New Authors Wanted …. Books Wanted For Publication …. Publisher Urgently Seeking New Manuscripts …. We Will Publish Your Book !
It sounds perfect. Just what you’re looking for. So you send your book manuscript off to the address given (usually an anonymous PO box somewhere) and wait.
And – wow – after a week or so you get a letter back. Your book has been accepted! The publisher wants to publish your book!
You’re so thrilled and delighted. Especially if you’ve not been published before. You immediately sign the paperwork and send it back. And well, there is an ‘administration fee’ of a few hundred or even a few thousands pounds to pay. But, no matter, you’ll soon get that back from your royalties won’t you?
Well if you receive an offer like this i need to warn you right now to be very careful.
Because this is a practice known as vanity publishing (or subsidy publishing). You might have heard about it before. But you might not know what waste of time it usually is.
Actually, there’s nothing wrong in principle with paying for your own books to be published as long as you know the pros and cons. But with these vanity publishers it doesn’t usually work out like that.
Because they will tell you how great your book is. Flatter your ego. Appeal to your vanity – yes, that’s where the term comes from! And maybe tell you how much money you can make from your book.
But at the end of the day all they basically do is charge perhaps several thousands of pounds for typesetting and printing your book. They don’t do any advertising, marketing, promotion and distribution … which is essential if you’re to make good money from any book. So vanity published books rarely sell many if any copies.
Most people who do use vanity publishing end up losing their money. And never, ever write anything again, which is a shame.
Now you might think you’re too smart to be taken in by this. But vanity publishers can be very, very convincing. They might tell you that many famous writers started out by paying for their books to be published. While this is true – Alice In Wonderland author Lewis Carroll paid for most of his books to be published for example – it hardly ever pays off for the writer.
At best these vanity publishers are just glorified printing services. At worst they’re scammers. Do be careful.
Lastly, although I recommend you don’t use vanity publishers there is not necessarily anything wrong with publishing your own books or manuals. But a much easier and cheaper way into self publishing is to try ebook or electronic book publishing. You might find these articles useful: