SUPERNATURAL ♦ URBAN FANTASY ♦ CONTEMPORARY/SUSPENSE ♦ EROTIC ROMANCE


November 21st, 2009
Vanity Publishing vs Self-Publishing–What’s the Difference?

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.

Indie Publishers

SFWA Vanity Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

6 comments to “Vanity Publishing vs Self-Publishing–What’s the Difference?”

  1. Good links. And can I say the Shatner Indie thing made me laugh and laugh?


  2. Charli, I know. Too funny.


  3. 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.

    I’d call that an awesome suggestion.


  4. Very well said. Having self-published five books I was never under the illusion it was anything but vanity press. I sell them in my comic book hobby shop and to my auto repair customers when they ask. I earned my publishing costs back but only because I avoided throwing thousands into the useless advertising ploys the self-publishing companies offer.

    My service buddy self-published a supposedly non-fiction year 2000 disaster book and toured the country doing signings. He made a lot of money, but of course it ended on Jan 1, 2000. 🙂

    Your categories are right on the money.


  5. Shiloh, Really not much else to be done. Just prepare for when the economy shifts again. It’ll take a while, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a ton of projects ready to go? I know I’d like that. *g*


  6. Bernard, You went into it with your eyes open. That’s the big difference here. A lot of people simply don’t have the patience to wait.

    As for your buddy, I’m glad he did well, especially since I’m sure his ‘investment’ was pricey.