Updated: Oct 31, 2019
If you really want to be freaked out this Halloween week, forget your standard scary story. Nightmare on Elm Street and IT 3 (or whatever it is) are for psychological babies.
Join the big boys instead by reading all about vultures in the Courier Journal.
A couple months ago, I stumbled onto its article about “Black Vultures Are Roosting in Kentucky and Eating Animals Alive.” And I’m telling you, it was horrible, leaving my stomach twisting for days.
You’ve been officially warned now. So anything you read from here on in is on your own head. Not mine.
With that disclaimer stated loud and clear, here’s how the piece begins:
They’ll devour slimy newborn calves, full-grown ewes and lambs alive by pecking them to death.
First the eyes, then the tongue, then every last shred of flesh.
And there isn’t much defense against black vultures and turkey vultures, both of which are federally protected and cannot be killed without a permit.
It gets worse from there, though I’ll only quote a bit more. And not the parts that literally left me queasy.
You see, there’s a very important non-Halloween, purely publishing-related purpose to all of this. Because this week, we’re talking about something equally as scary.
Vanity publishers are horrible, horrible institutions.
Honestly, I can’t trash-talk them enough considering what they’re all about. That’s why I’m warning you little baby lambs right now.
Stay away from vanity publishers. For your own sake, since this is what they are and this is what they do…
You don’t get vanity published. Vanity publishers get you. For as much as they can. These are companies that turn manuscripts into books for money. Upfront money too, not percentages-of-what-you-make money. Plus, there’s nothing even close to a guarantee involved.
Vanity publishers are not cheap options. Their most “affordable” packages cost hundreds of dollars, all for an ISBN number and perhaps 10 “complimentary” printed copies. That’s it. And their more “worthwhile” options can cost $10,000. Easy. That’s why they’re the devil.
Essentially, they’re vultures. The worst kind. ‘Cause they won’t wait ‘til you’re dead to eat you up alive.
That last line about vanity publishers was melodramatic, I know. Not to mention it being a non-sequitur.
Consider it a moment of lightness in an otherwise disgusting study, since we’re getting back to the previously mentioned article:
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 covers all migratory birds, their nests and their eggs, which means that the birds can’t be harmed without federal permission. Their nests can only be disrupted, as a deterrent, if there are no eggs or young in them.
But as the vultures, which are native to Kentucky, have multiplied in numbers nationally over the last two decades, they have become more of a problem for farmers.
Each year, Kentucky farmers lose around $300,000 to $500,000 worth of livestock to these native vultures, according to Joe Cain, commodity division director for the Kentucky Farm Bureau.
In the same way, vanity presses will cost you hundreds or thousands – even tens of thousands – of dollars if they get their claws into you. We’ll discuss exactly how that is on Thursday.
So when you see one, don’t hesitate. Just run the other way.
To help you out with that, here’s how you can identify them. They're publishing companies that are overly eager to accept your book but say they have to charge you in order to do so.
That’s it. That’s your sign you’re staring at the ugly, carnivorous face of a vanity publisher.