The Vanity Press Kool Aid

Mrs. Giggles blogs today about the slew of self-publishing hype lately. She says, in part:

The problem with self-publishing propoganda, if you ask me, is that most of these circus barkers are telling people what they want to hear, as opposed to telling them the hard facts. They tell barely literate high school dropouts that grammar and writing ability don't matter because stories "come from the heart" or something like that. They tell desperate authors that traditional publishers are evil people who deliberately set out to crush their dreams. They tell these people that they are entitled to be authors, and yes, fame and success and respect will follow shortly after because look at the handful of current self-published authors who have made it big, blah blah blah.

[…] Self-publishing is no short cut to success – it is another way to get published, but it is also another kind of hard work awaiting the author. And the rewards are far lower than you would reap with traditional publishing, unless you are an expert in your field with a ready-made audience at your seminars and classes […] or you are content to sell a dozen or so copies and knowing that there is an audience, however small, that appreciate your art.

I couldn't agree more. The problem is that most of the reporters writing about vanity presses either have their own agenda or don't dig deeper than the press releases they are giving. Recently, Publishers Weekly profiled several fast-growing "small presses" but neglected to mention that two of them — Greenleaf and Morgan James — are vanity presses that make their money selling books to authors rather than readers (hat-tip to Victoria Strauss for that one). PW is an industry trade publication…they should know better.

2 thoughts on “The Vanity Press Kool Aid”

  1. Lee, thanks for posting about this. I’m very sorry to hear this about Greenleaf. I hadn’t kept up with them in recent years but remember hearing one of their top people speak at a local writer’s conference years ago. At that time they seemed to be positioning themselves more as a business that could help self-published novelists with their distribution problems. As I say, it was a number of years ago and I’ve been out of pocket for quite a while. Thanks!


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