Don’t Fool Me— Vanity Presses…. Not Self-Publishing Companies.

I am in a bit of a mood— not with you but with a few emails, I think I annoyed the powers that be, or at least people who use vanity presses and think that they have had some success with them.  I am referring here to the big three– but more specifically to iUniverse.

In many ways self-publishing is like writing a blog, you do this because you love doing what you do, and for most people writing a blog is free, and this means that you have control over what you say and write.  Self-publishing a book is similar, you take the good with the bad.

I have my views on the vanity presses– the fact that editing is not seen as a must but rather as an option annoys me, so do the emails of big sales.  I’ve said this before, if you want to be a true self-publisher, there are certain things to take into consideration.

1) ISBN:  This needs to be your own.  What I find interesting is that with these groups they make it “too easy” for you not to  do the foot work.  What it means is that you are not the publisher, they are.  Sorry to  break it to the emailers of the ISBN doesn’t matter– it’s still my book.  In other words, it is my ISBN, which means that i am the publisher.  If it is not your ISBN you might not have as many rights as your thought you would.

2) The more you pay… the less you really get–$599 for an editorial evaluation?  Then you get it edited?  Frankly it should be the other way around.  I  mean, if you are that serious about getting an evaluation and spending that sort of money…. you are not going to do the thing you want which is: make money with your writing.

3) There are other places you can publish:  There are other places, Lulu, Lightning Source, CreateSpace, all of which allow your own ISBN, and will hold you to a high standard.  They also allow you to edit your proofs, and there are always mistakes. Wait a minute!  Lightning Source does the printing for iUniverse…. so why not– as they say go to the source if they allow you to do this?

Just do your research and don’t believe everything you read. 

Your mind is a powerful tool– you wrote a book, and self-publishing means writing, editing and publishing the best you can offer.  I should make the note that Lightning Source does suggest these vanity presses– I believe because they work for them, but I have a better place to go if I need some help– the Self-Publishing Maven.


  • Marlena Cassidy

    Vanity presses seem to be more interested in making a profit for themselves than in helping authors who might not be able to interest a publishing company with their work. Of course, it's not that surprising something like that would happen.

    Editing too is so important. It's so difficult to edit your own work because you know what you want to say and your mind will fill in whatever blanks might be missing. When vanity presses rack up the price of editorial evaluations and editing itself, they're assuring that authors who can't afford services like that aren't able to put their best work forward.

  • Kerrie

    Well said. For those who are serious about their writing, there are many options out there. But PLEASE edit your work before putting it in print.