Death Match: Self-Pub v. Vanity Pub

Catchy right? Okay, so this morning I read a blog post on Facebook posted by author CJ Peterson, whom I follow.  So the post was the latest rant coming from someone going on about how Amazon is trying to squeeze out the indie authors, and how Simon & Schuster are starting their own vanity press company.  I get it, big bad Amazon is selling out to the man because traditional best selling books have taken a huge back seat (or least passenger seat) to the uprising of indie books. Well, hey, score one for us, right?

Apparently , not.  The tangent goes on to bash Amazon for making decisions in their best financial interest, and I’m left to think, “Isn’t that the point of running a company?” But, I digress.  More and more Amazon is bashed for recent decisions revolving around the review removals, KDP select company, and now the new issue with bowing down before the “Big Six.” It all sounds like a mindless rant to me, or someone’s agenda to bring down the big enterprise which dominates blah blah blah.

Next, it gets into self-publishing (indie) versus vanity publishing. Oh, I love reading about this, because it really gets me riled up, and at six thirty a.m. I could use a good riling.  Okay, this is the gist: self-published authors have taken the time to turn a manuscript into ebook formats with Kindle Mobi, Epub, Nook platforms, Ibook platforms, and others and then took the time to find a distribution house for the physical copies of books etc etc.  Apparently, that is what a real “indie” author does.

Vanity published authors tend to get a bad rap for using assisted publishing (Iuniverse, Xlibris, Tate, etc).  The biggest argument is that the author has lost control of their rights to a vanity press.  By the way, this is called vanity press because it is a service in which an author has paid for. That makes it vain.

Help me out here, because I really don’t see much difference between true self-publishing and vanity press except one may cost more money and less effort on the author’s part (vanity press), while the other (self-pub) takes more time on the author’s part and maybe less money.  Vanity press=less royalties.  Self-pub=more royalties.  I get it, if I had done the leg work I could have made $250 as opposed to $54 in royalties.  Of course, I would have lost precious time writing my next book to get all this done, and who’s to say those companies you’re uploading your ebook to are giving you an accurate sales count.  Unless you are selling out of your garage, you never really know.

Here is my opinion and take it for what it’s worth: putting out a book is not a literary death match! Who cares if Author A paid a middleman to do the work while Author B did it all himself.  I respect both equally, and why? Because both of them followed through.  They are both published authors.  The end result is the same: their book is available for readers.  And isn’t that what writing and publishing a book is all about?

It took me three days to get to San Fransisco from Los Angeles, where so many people told me it should have only taken half a day and called me crazy.  I hate driving! So I took the scenic route and made some pit stops and found some awesome pizza on the way, but you know what? I still made it to San Fransisco.  Whether you take the direct route or indirect route in publishing, the point is to publish. Enough with the grudge matches already.  Enough with putting an author down for paying for assisted publishing or for wasting time by doing it all on their own, or whatever the opinion may be.

And as for the whole, Amazon is the new self-publishing Anti-Christ, let me say this: if you have a problem with them then remove your book! Until then, their game, their rules.  And yes, it is all about the profit margin, because the last time I checked they weren’t a charity.  Oye, now I gotta go plant a tree to get my anxiety level back down.

Please stop author on author violence. Do it for the books.


One response to “Death Match: Self-Pub v. Vanity Pub

  1. I totally agree with you re: the vanity press vs. indie publishing thing (obviously!). Although I do think that the big problem people have with “vanity” publishers isn’t that people are paying money to get things done – it’s because they think people are being over-charged for what they’re getting. I don’t know enough about that to say for sure one way or the other. I know for a fact that my book, when it’s published, is going to be amazing quality, inside and out. What does a traditional publishing house pay for copy-editing, formatting, cover design, etc? I bet you it’s more than what I paid iUniverse. So I say we still come out on top 🙂

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