Xerox’s Vanity

It looks like Xerox is getting into the vanity-press business and using a contest to lure in customers:

Dust off the manuscript that’s hiding under your bed and enter the Xerox
Aspiring Authors Contest. The company is on a nationwide search for the best
work of unpublished fiction to demonstrate the power of digital print-on-demand
as a smart alternative to traditional publishing.

The grand prize winner gets $5000 and a 100 copies of their own book.  (Thanks to Michael Bracken for the heads-up).

21 thoughts on “Xerox’s Vanity”

  1. I seriously doubt that Xerox is making an earnest entry into the vanity press business, not really. They are giving away a printed up copy of each submission and the best one gets some cash and 100 copies of their “book” printed instead of just 1. They aren’t asking for any money. From an industry perspective (high-tech not publishing) it doesn’t make sense in the cost to benefit analysis for Xerox to be doign this for any other reason that to attract more “home office” customers and drive up their mailing lists for their marketing depts.

  2. Also, from looking closer at the site, it looks like a dual marketing campaign using Xerox’s trusted name recognition for’s POD service. I suppose that they might be lending their name to this company “” for their POD plans… I really hope that Xerox is not getting off track as far as market penetration in their real market is concerned… There I go being a geek again.

  3. I can’t tell you how depressing these posts are, Lee. Informative, appreciated, but depressing as hell. From the contest rules:
    In addition, Xerox may, in its sole and absolute discretion, elect to promote and advertise the winning manuscript at a printing industry trade show event to be held not later than December 31, 2005.If Xerox agrees to promote and advertise the winning manuscript, the winner hereby agrees to participate in profiles, live appearances and live publicity.The content, location and duration of such appearances will be at Xerox’ discretion and Xerox will, in its sole discretion, determine whether the winner receives roundtrip coach air transportation from the major commercial airport nearest the winner’s residence and/or ground transportation to appearance locations.All arrangements are subject to change, availability and Xerox’ approval.Xerox reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to elect not to promote or advertise a submission as a result of this Contest. In addition, the foregoing will be subject to prevention or delay for any cause or event beyond Xerox’ reasonable control, including without limitation war, civil disturbance, terrorist acts, acts of the public enemy, embargo, failure of subcontractors/vendors to perform, lockout, strike, other labor action, or acts of God.
    I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that one’s book promotion will have more to do with promoting Xerox than promoting one’s book. I’d like to know what happens if Xerox wants me to fly to Schnectady on 3 days notice and I can’t or don’t want to go. I especially like the part where Xerox will determine all aspects of the publicity, with which I must comply, but isn’t required to provide coach air-tickets from my nearest airport. I interpret that to mean that I get the plane tickets if somebody has frequent flyer miles that are about to expire.
    Oh – and they don’t have to promote the book. When they find out I stutter, or have a big wart on my cheek, or badly cut hair, they are going to cancel that promo tootsweet.
    They don’t say submissions have to be rated G or PG, but they should because makes it clear that Grannies writing Gardening Journals and School Kids papers on Amelia Earhart are being sold on their site and they don’t want to upset anybody. Also here:
    You understand that may provide (i) the contest judges with up to twenty (20) copies of your book for judging and (ii) Xerox with up to three hundred (300) copies of your book for promotion should it be selected as the final winner. Any additional copies requested by Xerox for any other purposes will be created only with your written pre-approval.
    You, the author and winner get $5000 and 100 paperback books (assume FMV, because you’ll be paying tax on it all) and Xerox get 300 copies to use as advertising. That means taking it to trade shows and saying, “now ain’t this pretty?”
    Now my mss. has been ‘published’, I don’t see anything about an ISBN, but I’ll presume that’s included. Real Agent who I sent the mss to eight months ago and who I gave up on in despair calls me, tells me s/he’s fedexing a contract to look over, that my mss. is the greatest piece of writing ever written in the history of man. (No, s/he doesn’t say that, but a gal can dream).
    Um…the details of distribution are not clear. I’m betting that distribution is my problem.

  4. What Would Lori Prokop Do (WWLPD)?
    I’ve embroidered that question on a cheerful throw pillow for my couch and whenever I think I won’t make it in this meshugge profession, I look at that pillow and wait for inspiration to strike. Also, I’ve started manufacturing little rubber bracelets with those initials and am selling them for the bargain price of 10 bucks each at my website. http://www.yes,nebbish,thisisascam.huh?

  5. News flash to all. Xerox has been in the vanity publishing business from the beginning, since they own Lightning Source, which is the company that actually does the physical production of booka for POD publishers.

  6. Heh heh… there’s not much wiggle room on this blog for disinformation.
    I read up on it and don’t see any relationship between Lightning Source and Xerox. It appears from a cursory Google search that Xerox dabbled in POD technology in the early 90s, but didn’t do anything with it.

  7. I read in PW a few weeks ago that Amazon just acquired some POD company… with an eye towards producing books only available on their site. Could that be lulu?

  8. To be fair, remember that Lightning Source is also used by legitimate publishers (or has been) to make available reprints and books for which they don’t envision a large market. I think they are upfront about what they do, unless something’s changed.

  9. Xerox and should easily earn back their $5,000 first place prize.
    The contest is limited to 1,000 entries. The winner gets $5,000 and 100 copies of his book; two runners up each get 50 copies of their books; the other 997 entrants each get one copy of their book.
    How many additional copies of their own books do the 997 other entrants have to purchase before the first prize money is earned out? One each? Two each?

  10. They’re a POD printer, but the microscopic use of POD by regular publishers is not a realistic or fair comparison to those who use it as their only means of book production.

  11. If you read the contest information, it looks like to enter you’re agreeing to LuLu publishing your book. So all the entrants who think they’re entering a contest are in fact self-publishing their books.


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