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View Full Version : Since when is Vanity Publishing now Self-Publishing



thinkerbeat
12-13-2012, 08:08 AM
I read some interesting reports that Vanity Publishers are now calling themselves Self-Publishers. Which doesn't make any sense, just thinking about the terminology.



"...the Big Six are now offering their own self publishing services. Simon & Schuster are the latest to offer this...

"This is not self publishing. It is old fashioned vanity publishing that charges anywhere between $1,500 and $25,000 to publish a book, with little chance of success. In fact it is a very old fox in new sheep’s clothing...

"Vanity publishing has such a bad reputation, but as it has now been renamed and re-marketed as self publishing, everything is ok. Right? Wrong!

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2012/11/15/velvet-rope-a-dope/

I didn't think much of the report until I found a site doing exactly that!

http://www.bookpublisher-asia.com/

If you just want to write the book and let someone else do everything else, is that really self-publishing? I guess in a way it is, because you are paying for all the expenses. But I think these Vanity Publishers should be claiming to be offering "services for self-publishers" and not saying they are your self-publisher, which doesn't make any sense. How can someone else be you? Then again, I am my own grandpa...

Old Hack
12-13-2012, 11:02 AM
This bothers me too.

I think what happened is that the vanity publishers saw how self publishing was growing in potential and popularity and began switching their rhetoric round. They went pretty quickly from "all publishers make you pay--we're just being open about it" to "self publishing is the wave of the future, and we're riding on the crest of it!"

In one way it's dishonest of them. With AuthorHouse, authors have no ownership over their ISBNs, and no direct control over their sales or production. This is, strictly speaking, still vanity publishing.

However, if the writers who sign up to these services understand what they're getting into--and I think that while the information given on such sites is not as clear as it could be about the limitations of their services, the process is far more transparent now than it was just five years ago--then it's not necessarily a bad thing. Those writers are paying for a specific service, and so long as they understand the limitations of that service, all is good.

The benefits are that it's all very convenient for writers who don't know how to find the services they want, or for those who have the money to buy them in but don't have the time or research skills to find them for themselves.

Where it goes wrong, I think, is when writers who use these services think they are self publishing in the same way as an author who buys in all the various services for herself. And many of the services offered are of a very poor quality: I'm thinking specifically of the editing which is, from the books I've reviewed, of a very poor quality; and of the marketing and promotional services provided, which are very basic and don't offer anything of value which authors couldn't work out for themselves much more cheaply.

ETA: The link you provided in your quote-box goes to an article which doesn't seem to have anything to do with your post, by the way. Might it be the wrong link?

veinglory
12-13-2012, 08:00 PM
I think vanity publishers have always called themselves self-publishers or real publishers. Neither is accurate but what else would you expect them to do.

And I don't really accept that just because you purchase publishing services you aren't self-publishing. I don't think that is a defining factor.

elindsen
12-13-2012, 08:30 PM
^this

Old Hack
12-13-2012, 10:47 PM
I think control is the deciding factor: but as is often the case, how you define "control" is significant. If you don't control the stock, sales or production of your book then I'm not convinced that you've self published, especially if the ISBN isn't registered to you: but if you're aware of all of the issues involved with that, and are happy delegating all that control to someone else in return for a great big wodge of money that's not a bad thing.

The problems come when writers use such services without realising their limitations or implications. Which is a whole other issue.

Katie Elle
12-13-2012, 11:22 PM
I don't think most people particularly care about the ISBN. It's pretty much irrelevant to the current "self publishing" market.

The big thing is having access to the control panels at the various stores, which lets you change prices and monitor sales. Oh and obviously, not having someone taking a chunk out of your royalties.

Old Hack
12-13-2012, 11:29 PM
Katie, if the ISBN isn't registered to you then you often don't have access to the various storefronts you refer to, as only the publisher of record can control those. And the publisher of record is the person or publisher the ISBN is registered to.

Torgo
12-13-2012, 11:36 PM
I think control is the deciding factor: but as is often the case, how you define "control" is significant. If you don't control the stock, sales or production of your book then I'm not convinced that you've self published, especially if the ISBN isn't registered to you: but if you're aware of all of the issues involved with that, and are happy delegating all that control to someone else in return for a great big wodge of money that's not a bad thing.

The problems come when writers use such services without realising their limitations or implications. Which is a whole other issue.

Exactly this. If you don't control those things you're being published, not self-publishing. Vanity publishers won't bother trying to sell your book to anyone except you and your nearest and dearest.

Old Hack
12-14-2012, 03:04 PM
I've peeled the ISBN discussion-derail out into its own thread (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=260390), so we can continue this discussion here.

Let's try to stay on-topic, everyone, please.