Over the past several days two terms, ‘vanity publishing’ and ‘self-publishing’ seem to have become interchangeable. I suppose someone who self-publishes could be doing so out of the vane need to have their name on a book, but that doesn’t make self-publishing and vanity publishing the same animal.
Vanity publishing is set up for one reason and one reason only: To Take Your Money
It’s not a viable publishing option like so many people argue on other blogs. I do understand that people who’ve shelled out thousands want to justify their decision, but that doesn’t make it right or smart.
Self-publishing on the other hand can/should be done for multiple reasons. If you have a family tree book/cookbook you want to hand out at a family reunion, then self-publishing is a good option. If you have a book that truly doesn’t fit in the N.Y. or Independent market (This should never be confused with you not having patience to wait for your work to sell or refusing to see that your work has problems that need to be corrected before it’s in shape to publish.), then self-publishing is an option. If you’re a published author who has an out-of-print backlist that’s not making any money (ie work that has been published, but is now unavailable), then self-publishing is an option.
If you don’t fall into one of those three categories, then my suggestion is to continue to work on your craft, take suggestions from your critique partners, get critique partners if you don’t have them, and keep submitting. Below you’ll find links to some Indie publishers and a great article from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America about the difference between vanity publishing and self-publishing. Always do your research before you sign with any publisher.
SFWA Vanity Publishing vs. Self-Publishing