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Vanity/Subsidy (POD) Publishing

The last of the Four Basic Choices is Vanity Publishing. Normally when people say “self-publishing,” they mean this, which is why I don’t consider owning your own publishing company as “self-publishing” when talking to the public. It’s published by an independent publisher. Self-published really means Vanity Publishing in most circles.

I don’t recommend this option unless you *only want to see your book in print* and you plan to sell it/give it to a few friends and family or have as companion material for a seminar (or after some other performance, like poetry reading). Generally people will pay more than normal for something after they’ve seen a live performance of it.

If you want to sell your book on Amazon or even direct to your fans, this is not the way to go. You will out price yourself by going this route.

Basically it works like this:

Personal note: I paid an editor through LuLu to edit Rowan of the Wood early on (before it was picked up by the first publisher), and it came back full of grammatical errors that weren’t there when I sent it! I stupidly didn’t re-read it myself, thinking that it had just come back from a “professional” editor. It was quite embarrassing for the initial test run of the book, seeing as how I’m an English Professor and all. Ultimately, it just created more work for me.

As far as I know, no major chain bookstore carries books on the shelves from a vanity publisher, period. You *might* be able to get a book signing in a B&N, but they will unlikely keep them around afterward. There are, of course, as in anything, exceptions.

Also, most awards will not accept “self-published” books; again, they mean those via a Vanity Publisher.

Be sure to define your goals and weigh your sacrifices/risks honestly with yourself before choosing a publishing route. Which road you take really depends upon this.


What do you think about POD/Vanity/Subsidy publishing? How about Amazon’s relatively new CreateSpace?

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