I have never and never will publish through a vanity publisher but have had enough close author friends with experience in this field to be able to tell you about this.
I am not dissing traditional publishing at all - if you want to try the traditional route then go for it.
Vanity Presses / Publishers
Sometimes also referred to as Hybrid publishers, Vanity Publishers are publishing houses that may approach you and for a fee (paid by yourself) make you a world of promises and publish your book for you.
Sounds great right? You would be published by a publishing house and make your money back on sales.
This is where you are very wrong. Vanity Presses will charge you and say included in this is the cover, editing, publishing of the books, and author copies of the paperback. You would assume it would also include marketing.
Let me break it down for you.
I have yet to see a Vanity Publisher create a to-market, popular design, or well-designed book cover that will sell your book. You need to see what's trending in your genre and base your cover on that. Yes, sometimes it is good to be different but most times it's not. Your cover needs certain elements and I've never seen a Vanity Publisher do a good job. In fact, let's refer to my friend as Mitch. Mitch's cover was so rubbish and plain I (A) didn't think it was an epic fantasy book and (B) was skeptical about reading it. And Mitch went through a 'popular' vanity publisher.
The editing is non-existent and you're going to look like you are a third-grade child trying to write a story. Author's are terrible at self-editing, it is a thing, and they can only self-edit so far. Your book NEEDS to go through a professional editor at the very least but I recommend a proofreader after that. Mitch's book was so riddled with editing mistakes they used to put a disclaimer in the paperbacks asking readers to excuse the editing errors.
They will publish your book, yes they will. With a blurb whether it's rubbish or not, they will not really advise you, and at an exorbitant cost to "make back profits". And let me tell you, authors, cause I've been having to say this a lot, you cannot come onto the scene and charge $49 for a 110-page book and it's your first book. Not even Stephen King does that, come on! And you have no say over it! And you're bound to a contract with them so good luck with that. You would have been better off on your own.
And they don't market your book. They might do a single press release to show you off but for actual marketing - if you think they're going to book you for book tours, and get your books in bookstores, and get you in front of a camera or on the radio - you're dreaming. Especially if you don't reside in America, if you are from the USA you *might* get on the radio. Probably on a station that has nothing to do with books or your genre. YOU will be marketing your own book after paying not $100 dollars but at least $1000 to this kind of publisher. It ranges really.
How do I tell if it's a Vanity Publisher?
Simple rule. If they ask you to pay money upfront. Traditional publishing houses as a rule do not (a) reach out to you and (b) will pay YOU an upfront fee for YOUR work, not the other way around. Yes, it is difficult to get traditionally published but don't waste your money just to say some publishing house (Which probably isn't known anyway) has published her.
That's my post for this week. Questions
Always lock your doors.