Is Vanity Publishing a Bad Idea?

1realistutopian By 1realistutopian, 3rd Sep 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Vanity publishing, under it's various guises gets a lot of negative feedback from accomplished authors. Reputable bookstores decline to stock self-published works. Is vanity press a bad idea for new authors?

What is Vanity Press?

Anyone answering an advertisement to see their novel or collection of poetry in print in exchange for a fee is dealing with a vanity publisher.

Vanity publishing, disguised under a number of terms, including self-publishing or subsidy publishing, requires the author to cover the costs of putting their own work into print. Expert on the subject, Johnathan Clifford has written extensively on this topic, and in fact, coined the term “vanity publishing” in 1959, when two American publishing companies began advertising their services for a fee in the United Kingdom.

The Research

After extensive research, Clifford concludes that many “unwary authors” have been duped by the “promotional material which usually praises work submitted – whatever the quality.” He asserts that authors have been encouraged by testimonials made by other authors regarding the success of such schemes, many of which are fraudulent claims. The bottom line is that authors should not have to pay for a reputable publishing house to see their work in print. In addition, reputable publishers do not need to advertise, they have more than enough transcripts to consider for publication.

What's the Chances of Profit if I use a Vanity Publishing Company

Further, since every author who submits their work hopes for a reasonable return. Clifford maintains that, “authors seeing a return of more than an extremely small part of their outlay through a vanity publisher are extremely rare.”

Weigh up the Pros and Cons

Clifford has compiled an Advice Pack for writers who may be considering using a vanity publishing company. The Advice Pack can be downloaded from HERE:


Published, Publishers, Publishing, Publishing My Book, Vanity Publishing, Writing For A Living, Writing For Money, Writing Tips And Tricks

Meet the author

author avatar 1realistutopian
Writing poetry, women's issues, education, about being a mom, and opinion.

Share this page

moderator Steve Kinsman moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


Add a comment
Can't login?