What is Vanity Press and What is Not?

I’ve seen it over and over again on writer channels in social media. “If you have to pay for anything it’s a vanity press and avoid them.”  While I whole-heartedly agree you shouldn’t use vanity press, the definition is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Vanity Press prints anything. If you write a book with one eye closed, hopped up on stimulants, and only while running, a vanity press will publish it. They will try to upsell you to editing services, but a pig of a story can’t be edited to quality. They don’t care, though, because any money they make off sales is just gravy, because they make their money off the author.

Vanity Press uses different words, such as partner press, or co-publishing, but make no mistake, their money is from the writer. They often have good advice for positioning, and claim to market (some even do), but their money is made, both through up-front costs, and minimum order demands on the author.

If you submit to a publisher and they say you have to buy 100, or 1000 or 10000 copies, you’re probably at a vanity press. Read some of their books before signing. Are the books well written? Some may be, but most will not be.

Prevail Press, and our peer companies, are not vanity press. We have the same screening process as traditional publishers (and more rigid than some), taking only the best books who traditional publishers SHOULD have picked up. Here’s our process:

There is no charge to submit. See our website for submission guidelines.

We may:

  • Reject the book because it isn’t ready for publication, or it doesn’t meet our guidelines (we will tell you if it’s well-written or not).
  • Reject with conditions. If it needs work but has potential, I’ll tell you what needs to be done and if you follow through, we’ll consider it again.
  • Accept it.

If we accept it, we’re going to have a frank talk about what we can do for you and what we can’t. If you want to proceed, if book design is needed, there will be a small charge for that, typically $300. If you need a cover beyond what we can do, or if you need an editor, I have a few freelancers you can work with or you can use your own resources (I can help with some suggestions). If you have a good book cover, and if it’s already been designed as a book, I’m not going to charge anything. A Prevail Press logo and barcode will be added to the cover and ISBN to the front matter.

If you do pay us for design, the tiny percentage you’re charged (10%), will be deferred until all your costs are recovered (this doesn’t include outside editing or design work). After your costs are recovered, you’ll get 60% of the retail price and we’ll get 10%.  Contrast this with traditional publishers who give you a fraction of that, normally about 25 cents, as opposed to $2+ per book with us.

You have the benefit of a publisher’s brand, a quality assurance, no-hassle publishing, and a lot of extras. You’ll also be part of a network of writers who help promote one another.

You own your copyright, an ISBN is included for each form of the book (Kindle, audio book, paperback), and truthful, trustworthy partner. No hollow promises and no falsehoods.

Self-publishing is for some people, but it isn’t as simple a process as you might think. If you don’t know how to self-publish, come to us first.

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