Vanity Publishers – A Self Publishing Scam

Today there are plenty of sharks in self-publishing.

Just like every other opportunity in the world, self-publishing has many sharks. The so-called self-publishing companies that make their prey writers and first-time authors. 

They are often referred to as ‘vanity publishers’! These companies are in the business of selling overpriced services and packages and preying on naive, unsuspecting writers and authors. 

These companies are experts at the scam of sucking people in and then kicking them out the other end with an incredibly bad product that is priced way too high.

Expensive Lessons

Mary, paid over $5,000 for a book she had little hope of being able to sell. The cover was horrible even to the most untrained eye, with images that clearly looked pasted on top of each other. The so-called marketing services she was offered, such as overpriced media releases, weren’t targeted to the appropriate audience and hit none of the right markets. 

I talked with an author, Janice who was charged over $20k to one of these scam companies, and received a book that was not edited properly and had a design that was not sellable. It was horrible!

With our help they recovered their book files and they were able to create quality books and go on to sell confidently. 

I want you to avoid what happened to these authors.

So, how do you spot these publishing companies?

Here are some tell-tale signs that should raise alarm bells for you:

  • Included as part of the packages on these websites will often be things like press releases and book trailers. At first glance, this might sound positive, but you won’t be taught how to understand your target readers, and this is critical knowledge to grasp before you can use marketing assets like this effectively. Because of this lack of knowledge, you will waste your money paying for these things as part of your initial book-publishing package.
  • You may want to buy copies of your book to sell to family and friends, or at events, and these companies will sell them to you—at an inflated cost. If you see a price of $10 or more to buy copies of your text-only, black-and-white novel, you’ve found another big red flag. 
  • Many of these companies will keep a percentage of your royalties for books sold and charge you upfront for the packages and services. 
  • The poor quality of formatting and design will be evident; for example, charging high prices for a cover design with a single stock image and some plain text pasted on top. Interior formatting with incorrect indents, headings not aligned, badly created diagrams, missing footnotes and more are common occurrences, as are e-book conversions with incorrect page breaks, missing chapter headers and links that don’t work. 

Yes, I’ve seen everything!

Be careful and considered when seeking professional assistance. Ask friends and colleagues, and do your due diligence. 

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