The Scam of the Vanity Press

Being involved in the publishing industry is one of the most rewarding jobs one could ever hope to have. Entertaining readers with great literature, non-fiction books that can help millions of people around the world get their lives in order, or a simple fiction story that allows one to escape the realities of life are all great examples of why the publishing industry can be self-rewarding. As with any industry, there are bad seeds that show the true greed persisting in some “humans’” nature.

The creation of the vanity press is the bad seed of the publishing industry, established for one purpose; to make huge profits by screwing writers from their hard-earned work, their rights to their intellectual property, and their money.

Vanity presses are the biggest scam in the industry and should be considered a criminal act. One such press, which will remain nameless, has suckered in authors by stating they have 100,000,000 books in print, when that number is greatly exaggerated, and then responding to submissions from authors that their novel has the potential to make millions for that author. In reality they have a template that they simply copy and paste the author’s name and title of their book to in order to attain two things; the rights to the story and money from the authors.

Thousands of new authors, talented and untalented, get scammed into this scheme and pay for their book to be published by vanity presses. That’s right; they have to pay to be published. No publisher would ever charge a writer who they want to publish because the story should sell itself. Yet vanity presses have made billions of dollars telling authors how great their story is and then charging them to publish their work.

What does the author get in return? They lose the rights to publish their story for 7-10 years, they lose any control to how their book cover will look, and they have to deal with the horrendous editing that vanity presses perform on the novel an author spent years creating. One author recently told me how a certain nameless vanity press desecrated her story, and made huge errors, such as splicing sentences in the wrong paragraph, cutting sentences from a paragraph, and making some pages of the story unreadable. Their editors completely made a mockery of a great story. And authors have to pay them for this service.

You would think this vanity press would have the decency to print an inventory of books and actively promote and sell the books. Well, they don’t. They use print on demand, which means that books will cost anyone who wants to buy a copy well over $25.00 a copy. Basically, authors pay them to publish their book, which the vanity press will defile, they can’t sell many copies because they’re too expensive to buy, and they lose all rights for 7-10 years unless they pay an additional $300.00 to buy the publishing rights back from the vanity press. This is grand larceny on dedicated authors.

While truly great authors have opportunity to buy their rights back to pursue a true publisher, the worst scam of the vanity press falls on writers who are not talented enough to make it in the publishing industry. They get the same letter stating how great their story is and how great of writer they are. Of course, they fall for the scam as well and pay thousands of dollars to publish a story that will only be bought by their immediate family and friends. Unless their family consists of 1,000 people, they will never see anything close to their initial investment. This is prime meat to a vanity press, as amateur writers equal huge profits.

Unfortunately, the business practices of vanity presses are somehow legal. Scamming authors of much needed money, especially in this economy, uplifting an author’s hope with empty promises and straight up lies, while they make billions of dollars a year is legal. Take heed. Any author should avoid the con of the vanity press, or risk being swindled of thousands of dollars by the scum of the publishing industry. Use traditional publishers as they will only publish great stories and will not charge to do so.

About Jairus Reddy

I am a fiction publisher who interviews authors and industry professionals about the industry, other authors, politics and even Hollywood gossip. I also have biased thoughts about the publishing industry, which I blog weekly, to voice my opinions to the public. My company, Hobbes End Publishing, is not looking for new submissions, unless stated otherwise in the future.
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