Publishing explored by The acknowledged
In 1959/60 when two American companies were advertising widely
throughout the UK offering to publish individual poems in anthologies
at £9 and £12 each respectively, I coined the phrase "vanity
publishing". Since 1991 I have campaigned
unceasingly for truth and honesty in the vanity publishing
world and have become recognised as the authority on the subject.
my feature article in the Writers' & Artists'
My work has been featured in both national and
regional radio and tv programmes which have exposed the business
practices of various vanity publishers and by many responsible
newspapers and magazines (many of whom now refuse to take 'publishing'
advertisements). In 1999 I was invited to the House of Lords
to speak to members from both houses about the need to change
the law to stop the "rogue traders" in the publishing
world. However, it wasn't until 2008 that the law was changed,
enabling the authorities to better curb the excesses of rogue
My advice pack for authors seeking a publisher, or seeking
to self-publish, or who have experienced problems with a publisher,
is available as a download from this website - see
ADVICE PACK to the left of this page.
Should you need further assistance you may email me at email@example.com.
Many unwary authors are encouraged by a vanity publisher's
initial promotional material which usually praises the work
submitted - whatever its quality. Such publishers often misleadingly
refer to themselves as 'partnership', 'self-', 'joint venture',
or 'subsidy' publishers. But however they may refer to themselves
and however much they may deny that they are - if they charge
you to publish your book - they are a vanity publisher.
A dishonest vanity publisher makes money not by selling copies
of a book, but by charging clients as much as possible to print
an unspecified number of copies of that book. Some vanity publishers
will print as few copies as they feel they can get away with.
Most will claim to market their publications. However, major
bookbuyers have gone on record recently stating that they "do
not buy copies of books centrally from vanity publishers," but
only "as a result of the effort of the author in that
author's local area." Which speaks for itself.
It does not follow that all vanity publishers are underhand,
and those who tell you there is never a need for an author
to pay to have a book published or that all vanity publishers
are 'bad', simply display a lack of knowledge and understanding
of the publishing world.
So how do you tell the difference? See "A Good Vanity
Publisher . . ."
I cannot stress too strongly . . .
If you cannot find a mainstream publisher to publish your
work at their expense, you must look on the whole process of
publishing not as money invested to make you a return, but
as money spent on a pleasurable hobby which you have enjoyed
and which has provided you with well-manufactured copies of
your book. If you do also manage to make a small profit, then
that should be looked upon as an unforeseen and unexpected
Examples of authors seeing a return of more than an extremely
small part of their outlay through a vanity publisher are extremely
My advice is that you do not answer advertisements in newspapers
or magazines which offer to publish books. Mainstream publishers
NEVER advertise for authors - they have no need to do so.