POETRY VANITY PUBLISHING

Personally I can’t get very excited about this controversy over whether XYZ is a mainstream or vanity firm or something in-between.”

Never pay to get your poems published.”

Poetry is too marginal proposition to be worth serious attention”

“The majority of the contemporary poetry industry, insofar as it has a business model, is based on extracting money from writers, not giving it to them. ”

1. DEFINITION

Vanity is excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own achievements and as such applies to both the author (who wants to get their work into print) and the publisher (who is made to feel important, worthwhile, gains pleasure or kudos in publishing his/her work and those other others). Vanity Publishing is a term coined by Johnathon Clifford in 1959/60 and the definition is “Vanity publishing, also self-styled (often inaccurately) as “subsidy”, “joint-venture”, “shared-responsibility”, or even “self” publishing, is a service whereby authors are charged to have their work published.” Generally speaking they will accept the work of anyone, charge the author for the production of their work and/or the author must purchase X copies of their own book. However, where do you fit print on demand, different types of subsidy publishing and self publishing services offered to writers – editing, proof reading, cover design, printing and marketing?

2. EXAMPLES FROM THE PRESS

Publish through …… Avoid the vanity press. All categories considered. Combined Editing and publishing package. Your book never out of print and for sale in all major UK &US on-line bookstores, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Authors invited to submit manuscripts all categories including poetry. New authors welcome.

Writing prize for short story or poem any length up to 2500 words. Theme refugees and peace-seekers. No entry fee. Closes 31n March.

Free poetry contest, max 21 lines, £50,000 in prizes.

Best submissions will be published in an anthology

Poems on any subject required for anthology.

A proven reading/criticism service for new and published writers. Professional appraisals of … poetry. I am a scout for a leading literary agency.

If you’d like to develop you poetry, then this course is for you.

Creative writing weekends from £240.

To be considered they must buy one of our publications.

3. VANITY PRESSES: THE GOOD

  1. You don’t have to convince the poetry editor to accept your book.
  2. You have exhausted all other publishing possibilities (that is, being turned down by too many publishers) and, having worked long and hard on your poetry collection, want to see it published.
  3. Writing poetry is a pleasurable hobby which you have enjoyed and you use a Vanity Publisher to provide copies of your book which you can then give to friends etc.
  4. You don’t want to spent a huge amount of time or have a lack the expertise of book production.
  5. You can get the book published in in two or three months instead of two of three years.
  6. You have control over what’s included in the final manuscript and a say in book production.
  7. You may do a lot of open mic readings or are going to a festival and need to have a number of books to hand in order to sell to people who enjoy your work.
  8. You make more money per book.
  9. It may of course get picked up by a commercial publisher but this is unlikely.
  10. It allows publishers to accept more poets, have more writers in print with less overall risk.
  11. The publisher no longer has to finance the entire project.
  12. You may want to use a particular imprint and have them as the publisher of record.

4. VANITY PRESSES: THE DOWNSIDE

  1. They target new writers, amateurs, beginners, who just want to see their book published
  2. They print anyone
  3. You have to bear the up-front or set-up costs
  4. You pay for “extras” such as edits, custom cover design, formatting, publicity etc and they still offer you a low percentage on your book’s earnings
  5. Unfulfilled promises esp marketing
  6. You probably won’t get any/or the same level of editing/proofing as with a proper publisher
  7. Most magazine editors won’t review the books
  8. You’re totally responsible for marketing and distribution
  9. Won’t help much if you’re interested in a career as a serious writer as it does not offer validation for you as a writer
  10. Publishers make money from the writer who buys their own books but they give the writer a small number of free copies
  11. No editing of the poems
  12. Some presses are misleading and pretend to be traditional publishers
  13. You don’t know the quality of the finished book
  14. No bookstore distribution
  15. You must buy a book from the publisher before they will consider you
  16. Reading fees for prospective writers
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