Updated: Nov 1, 2019
I know I made a lot of negative comments about vanity publishers in Tuesday’s post.
I called them horrible, for one. Then I compared them to black vultures that eat little baby animals alive. And you know what?
I take none of it back.
As I also wrote, “vanity presses will cost you hundreds or thousands – even tens of thousands – of dollars if they get their claws into you.” And they do it in a very specific way.
To properly explain how, let’s revert back to that disgusting article we first brought up in our introduction to vanity publishers. The one about big, ugly, predatory birds.
Warning: This next bit is disgusting, since it involves a rancher seeing a swarm of vultures peck a calf to death.
They like to play with the newborns, he said. They’ll hop around and get the calf comfortable with them before they peck out their eyes.
“Then they can’t see,” he said. “So they can take them over.”
The whole process, from the playful taunt to the complete skinning, doesn’t take long at all, he added. Depending on the size, it may only take minutes. “They’re very efficient at what they do.”
Feel free to go throw up now. Then swear up and down you’ll never get close to a vanity publisher, since that’s essentially what they do.
Only, instead of newborn calves, they do it to unsuspecting authors-in-the-making.
There are no doubt less revolting ways to describe what vanity publishers do to you than the example given above.
But there are few flattering ways, if any at all. Mainly because there’s nothing nice to say about most, if not any, of them. Therefore…
Don’t Give in to vanity publishers’ sweet nothings
Vanity publishers will promise you the absolute world. Like modern-day Casanovas, they’ll tell innocent little authors-in-the-making everything they want to hear. “You’re an amazing writer,” they’ll whisper in your ear. “The publishing world will be lucky to have you.”
But don’t be fooled. They’re in it for one thing and one thing only. So as soon as you give in and give up your money, they’re suddenly out of sweet nothings, leaving you with nothing to show for the experience. Essentially, they’ll say anything to get into your wallet.
And they really don’t care how heartbroken they leave you in the process.
Vanity publishers are very, very good at what they do. They understand the ego involved in any book-writing project, and they will exploit it for all it’s worth.
Therefore, along with “You’re an amazing writer” and “The publishing world will be lucky to have you,” they might very well say:
I really think you have something special here.
We want to be able to brag about this book. Let’s make it happen.
I can see your manuscript becoming one of our best-sellers.
We’d really like to become the platform that truly launches this.
That’s along with asking you plenty of soulful questions as if they’re actually interested in you, your book-to-be and your goals for it. Considering what they do and how they do it, they have no other choice but to flatter you like that.
Before they lure you in, you’ve got the control with the power to say yes or no.
Keep that control. Walk away and find someone else to help make your publishing dreams come true.
It's either that or forever wish you had.