One thing we can be sure of is that the publishing world has changed, and is still changing. Self publishing is rumored to be the way to go. Going indie can be profitable. I say “can be”, because while there are many indie authors who do exceedingly well, there are also numerous others who barely make a few dollars a year. Competition is tough. That being said, I would still choose self publishing over vanity publishing any time.
Many reasons. And don’t let competition discourage you. You found my website among over a billion websites, didn’t you? Yep, as of 2019 there are now 1.94 billion websites. Getting noticed between all those blogs and pages is already a success, wouldn’t you agree? It isn’t much different for books. So, hang in there, don’t give up yet. Let me list the differences between vanity and self publishing, and I’ll explain why I prefer self publishing.
How Did Vanity Publishers Appear?
What is a vanity publisher? Basically, it is a publisher which authors pay to have their books published.
Why do authors have to pay for that? Like I mentioned before, the publishing world has changed. It is not easy to submit your manuscript to a traditional publisher. It wasn’t easy in the old days either, but compared to today, it was definitely a lot simpler, and there was less competition. Now, publishers take ages before they even read your manuscript and – based on my conversations with authors on Twitter – many are rejected.
Rejections are not uncommon. At the same time, traditional publishers still need to bring new books on the market. Now, however, with the high amount of people writing books, publishers do reserve the right to be a lot pickier. I understand that. They cannot publish just any rubbish. Nonetheless, they risk rejecting some good work, and other authors who are truly talented don’t get the chance to get their work seen …
That’s where vanity publishers come in. Instead of waiting years to get your manuscript published – or even looked at – authors can pay a vanity publisher to do all the work for them.
What Do Vanity Publishers Do?
For a fee, they will provide the following services:
- book cover design
- basic author website or author website on their own page
- press release
The rest is up to you. You can, of course, also pay for marketing services, but adding up those new expenses to the ones you already had to publish, the bill adds up … For some, it is not a problem to pay all that money, but for many it is. And think about it, why do you have to pay someone to publish something that took you perhaps a year to write, something that was a lot of hard work? As if that wasn’t enough, now you have to dig into your wallet to get your soul, sweat, and tears out into the world.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to discourage you from using a vanity publisher. If this is what you prefer, then go for it. They definitely make things a lot easier for you. They do everything. Formatting a book is a lot of work, and not everyone has the time or patience for it. I understand that. The first time I formatted a book it took me ages, accompanied by several frustrated outbursts. With practice, you get better at it. Now, formatting is a lot easier for me.
So, in conclusion, a vanity publisher is right for a writer who prefers to have someone take care of everything. I used a vanity publisher for the first book I published, and after that I used another one for two more books, but then I turned to self publishing, because it just seemed more profitable. By that time I had also gained more information about it.
Why Self Publishing?
As an independent publisher, aka indie publisher, aka self publisher, you have all the control. You control how and when your book is published and you make more profit than you would if you published with a traditional or a vanity publisher.
Does an indie author need an editor?
As an indie author you’re in charge of everything, but you still need help for editing and book cover design, unless you’re a professional book cover designer yourself. When it comes to editing, I recommend you hire an editor to revise your manuscript. It’s always best to have another set of eyes examine your work. They may pick up on things that you might have missed. Doing it yourself is possible, but it is not recommended.
An editor doesn’t only check grammar, but also content. Perhaps there’s a paragraph that is unnecessary and can be deleted. Perhaps a certain character needs more or also less background information. Editors are great for spotting these things. When you’re editing your own work, there are many details you might miss. The editor is part of the writing team and helps the author deliver a polished end product to the book market.
When you self publish you’re in charge of:
- release date
For marketing, you can hire professionals to help you. As for a website, you can create one yourself in under a minute. Wait, you expected me to tell you to pay someone to set up an elaborate website for you, didn’t you? Nope, why would I say that when WordPress and Siterubix offer this for free? Creating a website is no longer reserved for the techies, it is very accessible nowadays and no special knowledge is needed.
If you’d like to know more about setting up a website, you can click on the below lick to read my article.
And don’t worry if you’re new at this, Wealthy Affiliate offers 10 lessons to set up and run a successful website. I took those lessons, and believe me, if I can learn it, you can too 🙂
Conclusion: Vanity or Self Publishing?
It is, of course, always easier to let someone else do all the work for you, but your wallet will get thinner. Having a vanity publisher also doesn’t guarantee immediate or high book sales. You still have to work hard to promote your books.
Self publishing is more work, but your wallet suffers less, meaning that the debt level stays lower, and you can invest in marketing services if there is a need for it. And you’re in control.
I find self publishing very rewarding. The moment that you get your book up there – on Amazon KDP, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, or whatever platform you prefer to use – is priceless. Although I love writing, it is difficult for me to put into words that first moment when you see your book up on the internet, or that moment when you hold your first paperback in your hands. It is indescribable.
Whichever route you take, if you have a story to tell, write it down, and get it out there, Let the world know your story!