As a new author, I can honestly tell you, I knew nothing about vanity presses until this whole fiasco with Book Country blew up across the blogosphere and forums. Authors everywhere were nothing sort of steaming pots of outrage. I honestly didn’t know enough to have an opinion one way or another. But, after a bit of research, I started to wonder why anyone would sign up for such a racket.
I’m writing this blog to warn independent authors to steer clear of the likes of Book Country, and here’s why…
While it might sound lofty to say “I was published by Book Country, a subsidiary of Penguin” the truth is, that’s rubbish. By signing with Book Country you’re not signing with Penguin–as in the publisher with the muscle to move your book to the NY Best Seller list–no, no, no…what you’re doing is signing away a cheque and handing over the royalties of your work forever. The company can and will gloss the fine print up to spin it every which way…but the bottom line is that you’re paying them for absolutely nothing.
People making money off the backs of “the talent” is nothing new. Agents, publishers, lawyers, managers, and so on have taken cuts and retainers and percentages since way back when. And likewise of course you, as an author, can’t expect to get anything for free. If a company is formatting your book, you’ll pay them. If a company is doing your cover, you’ll pay them. If a copy is uploading your book to be sold at XY&Z, you’ll pay them. But, once you’ve cut those cheques…the book is yours as is the money rolling in from the book–that’s how it works when you’re an independent. But not if your sign with Book Country–they’ll continue to take royalties. Why thought? What makes them entitled to such a thing? And that remains the 30% question.
Since the revolution of “self publishing” in the era of Amazon and B&N, Vanity Presses are popping up like web companies in the 90’s. They’re almost everywhere. But there is absolutely nothing they can offer you that you can’t do for yourself. That’s the bottom line. That’s the truth.
Book Country wants nearly $600.00 to format for you and create a cover. But that’s a high number considering what you can freelance it for. Book Country wants to print your book–but, sites like CreateSpace or LuLu offer the same thing without demanding a slice of the pie in return.
Consider this blog a public service announcement. Please, do your homework before getting caught up in a true publishing web.