Self Publishing Redux

I had a brilliant post on the subject of self publishing half finished when my computer burped (its been doing that a lot lately, as it is Mercury Retrograde–back up your computers!) and I lost it. 

The two posts I did this week on writing and self publishing garnered lots of comments, and not the usual, short, zippy, cheery ones, but long, and thoughtful ones.  (Not that the short zippy posts aren’t thoughtful, but you know what I mean.)

It is worth it to go back to those posts, not to read my brilliant words, but to check out the comments.  Hey, there’s even one in a language I don’t understand!  You can read the posts here and here.

One thing I wanted to add.

I should have defined vanity publishing.  Traditionally, vanity publishing was the lowest of low in the publishing world, lower even than self publishing.  Wikipedia has a good article on it here.  I think the definition they offer is great: that a vanity press makes most of its money from the author, not the public.

Self publishing does not necessarily fit that definition.  You could write a great local guidebook, come up with the money to print it yourself, distribute it, and earn a nice little sum from it.  Or not.  Lots of people have gone broke trying this.  But the point is that your goal is to earn money from the public.

Not so with vanity presses.

I-Universe and Publish America burst upon the scene with the internet boom, positioning themselves as the writer’s salvation.  When in truth, it appears they are nothing more than the most recent incarnation of vanity presses, with their main goal to make more money from the author than the public.

They’ve prettied up the message and added editing packages (that the writer PAYS extra for, unlike with traditional publishing houses) but its basically the same old dog doing the same old tired tricks.

So approach these outfits with caution.

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Lisa McGlaun
Lisa McGlaun

I have a friend who recently went with Publish America. I cringed when she told me about it. The contract was already signed so I kept my feelings to myself and did my best to share in her excitement. I think many of the vanity presses are nothing but scams meant to prey on writer’s who so desperately want to see their work in print. I have nothing against an author paying to have their work in print, if they so wish. What makes me mad is that the finished products that the author paid a kings ransom for are… Read more »


Hi Lisa,

I’m really GLAD you got up on your soapbox and gave us some first-hand stories about the difference between vanity publishing and self publishing. Very helpful, thank you!

don Williams

Hmmmmm, is it my computer or what, I don’t know? But your recent links, ‘here’ and ‘here’ are not working?

I tried several times to access them but to no avail.



Hey Don, I just went back through and re-did the links, so they should be working now. Sometimes I get a little crazy with the control-V action, so I’m sure it was something I did. Thanks for letting me know!


There alot of quality content on here.. keep up the great work!


Thanks, Brad, and back atcha on that for your blog!


Thanks for emphasizing the different – again a very readable post and thanks for sharing your experience and point of views!

Btw: Thanks for your visit and nice comment on my Love Story post 🙂


Thanks, Renny, I always love it when you drop by. And I so enjoyed your love story post and getting some insight into your personal life.