5 Secrets Vanity Publishers Don’t Want You to Know

  • Copyright

There seems to be a lot of confusion about copyright when it comes to books. Does it need to be registered with the Library of Congress? When is your book protected by copyright law? What can you do to help protect your intellectual property?

Many vanity publishers will tell you that you are covered by Copyright Law when you publish with them. A question to ask them, is does that mean they will register your book with the Library of Congress. The reason to ask, is because legally, you are covered by Copyright Law by simply creating an original piece of work.

If you can prove the date it was created, it is yours. How do you do this? Your computer most likely date/time stamps anything you create. You can also talk about it on social media, which is date stamped. This is one added benefit to going public earlier rather than later about your book!

Most vanity publishers do not register a copyright for the books they publish, because they know that by publishing the material, you are covered. Saying you will be protected is simply a marketing tactic to help you feel safer using their services.

  • Actual Cost

Did you know that most vanity publishers utilize Amazon or IngramSpark services for publishing? Which means it is either free to them, or about $200 per book, on average. And they charge you HOW much? If you are paying anyone over $500 just for publishing your book, you are paying too much. Especially if they are also taking a royalty split. In my company, I charge $500 to publish for a client, and I take ZERO royalties. Clients simply pay for my time and cover any costs associated with the distributor. That’s how it should be! You spent your time, blood, sweat and tears bringing your book into fruition. You shouldn’t then be forced to share your gains.

Other costs include book cover design, editing and formatting. These are real costs and should not be ignored. Most vanity publishers use services overseas for these processes. Not necessarily a bad thing – I use them for book cover design or point my clients in that direction if they don’t already have a graphic designer to help them. However, when it comes to editing, you absolutely MUST have someone whose first language is English. It will allow them to understand slang, accents, etc. that you may have written into your book. Cover design and formatting can all be done for around $200-$300.

Editing can get a bit more expensive depending on what you are looking for. A basic spelling/grammar check should only run a couple hundred dollars. Full copy editing – where they editor goes through and checks for consistency and gives feedback to improve the writing – could run into the thousands, depending upon the length of your book. This is an area where many vanity publishers will tell you “editing is included”. RUN!!! Editing is time consuming and needs to be done thoroughly to produce a good book. If it’s “included”, they are most likely using people or organizations overseas and only doing a basic grammar/spelling check – and even that may not be all that great.  

  • Marketing

A lot of vanity publishers will tell you marketing is included in the price you pay. What this typically entails, is them setting up book signings in businesses where they have connections and may have zero connection to your niche. In addition, they will require that you purchase author copies of the book to sell at the book signing. They may even offer some media exposure. This is often to outlets that are unheard of, therefore, bring you zero results.

Understand that as a new author, YOU need to be marketing your book. You can do so much of this on your own, and quite simply at that! If you need ideas, feel free to grab a copy of my book “Booked to the Max! 30 Days and 30 Ways to Market Your Book”.

  • Two Things That Really Matter

The two things that matter most in getting a book selling is editing and book cover design. These are the two areas you should most focus on. Many vanity publishers will accept any books that come across their desk – even though they “say” they have an approval process. The approval process is often a quick glance through the manuscript looking for exceptionally vulgar language – if there’s really any approval process at all.

If you have a limited budget, use it on editing and cover design. Fiverr.com can be an excellent resource for cover design work! I’ve used them plenty and have had great results! You may have to try one or two designers before you find the one that clicks, but at $10-$20 a cover, it’s worth giving it a shot!

  • You can do it yourself!

The biggest truth most vanity publishers will not tell you, is that you can absolutely do this all yourself! (Almost – don’t edit your own book!). Setting up a publishing account of your own is simple and takes about 5-10 minutes. You are then 100% in control. You’ll be able to see book sales and royalties. You won’t be sharing royalties with a company that had no part in the writing and developing of your book.

If there is something that truly overwhelms you, then by all means, hire it out. But, to save money, trust that you can do so much of it on your own!

In the next few weeks, I will have a training available that will show you step-by-step exactly how to publish your own book. Be on the lookout for it! I promise, if I can do it, you can do it!