Why it is OKAY to pay for publishing

After months of research, and taking advantage of study material on the publishing industry, I decided to answer a few common questions about paying for publishing. I understand that people have their own opinions, and if you strongly believe you should not have to pay for anything, then I respect that, that is a personal preference.



Is Hybrid, Vanity?
No. The term ‘vanity publishing’ came up when people started ‘warning’ others, saying you shouldn’t have to pay for publishing – ever – and if a company offers you a partnership contract, they are vanity, they just want your money. Publishing is not what it once was, and it is hard, even for an amazing book, to get accepted by a traditional publishing house – this is why hybrid exists, they are in-between traditional, and self-publishing.

What is a vanity publisher, then?
While no company will ever call themselves ‘vanity’. My suggestion is to stay away from publishers like Xlibris, who literally offers you contact before they have read your manuscript. They accept everything. They basically self-publish your book, which you can do for much less money, by using CreateSpace.

If hybrid is all good and well, why don’t they have a bunch of best-selling titles?
Here’s where the REAL problem lies. Authors often accept a hybrid contract, thinking it will be exactly like a traditional one, only they had to pay towards it. While hybrid publishers, such as Austin Macauley and Pegasus Publishing, do offer marketing (and they do, I have researched this, and spoken to multiple authors published by them) they don’t do the level of marketing a traditional publisher does. Traditional publishers also have more credibility to them, so it is easier for them to market a book, and people will accept it, as it was published by a well-known publisher.

Authors must know, before entering a hybrid/partnership contract, that you have to market your book yourself as well. You need to do social media campaigns, advertise your blog/website, and all that comes with marketing. It is just the way it is, but most authors take this for granted, which leads to their book barely getting noticed. It’s a needle in a haystack.

Should I accept my contract by a hybrid publisher?
It is completely up to you. If your goal was to be traditionally published, then by all means, wait until you hear back from them first, don’t jump the gun. But if you have the money, and you are not too concerned about getting accepted by the big companies, then by all means, accept it.

The company will edit, create a cover, distribute and publish your book, just like a traditional publisher. You just have to pitch in with marketing.

Another plus is that you’ll have a publisher name on your book, as opposed to just ‘independent’ or ‘CreateSpace’.

Do hybrids ever reject a manuscript?

But… popular bloggers on the internet say they are a scam… and vanity
Yes, they do. This is because they probably would only accept a traditional contract as an ACTUAL contract, nothing in between, nothing new or different.

Why all this hate against hybrids, and why do people call them vanity?
The simple, short answer to this is, people are either uninformed, or they haven’t moved with the times. One person calls them a scam – the rest follows. It is the internet guys!

Just to clarify:
NO – I don’t work for a hybrid publishing house
NO – I haven’t published through a hybrid (I might though)
NO – I’m not getting paid to have a ‘bias’ opinion, I am only trying to fill in the gaps

Good luck, and happy writing!

© Melina Wedin 2017

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3 thoughts on “Why it is OKAY to pay for publishing

  1. This is actually helpful, thanks.

  2. I understand the need for marketing, and that connecting to an established publisher makes that easier, but I’m concerned about the one-sided way they distribute the money. For example, a couple of them will, first, charge you for printing, editing, cover art, whatever, and then take the lion’s share of revenue, for upwards of fifteen years. As an example, Amazon will publish your e-book and pay 70% royalty. Many of these hybrid or subsidy publishers will take upwards of 70% of that royalty. Another example is transfer to Audio Books. In researching them, I discovered that really, all you need to do is send the Audio Book producers a printed copy of the book, and based on that, they’ll decide whether or not to produce it. I know it’s more involved than that, but not much, from what I can see. The publisher will then take upwards of 70% of the money from the Audio Book producer, for doing not a whole lot of work. I’m concerned about the one-sided nature of the arrangement. From what I can glean, the best way is to either go the traditional route (and all the angst and hassle, and blows to your self-esteem that entails) or publish it yourself (as for example, with a POD publisher), and accept all the risk, but retain all the reward. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts…

    1. Hi Jeff, thanks for your comment.
      I see your points, and ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.
      There are different ways of self-publishing, once is to follow basic guides and just ‘get it out there’, minimal effort, not much marketing.

      The other is to go all in, and it can feel overwhelming for someone who is not skilled, or don’t feel the drive to learn all the technical aspects of it all. You’d have to pay an editor, a cover designer, and possibly a formatter as well. Many people would prefer to just have a publisher sort that out, and in return, they will have their books available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and Booktopia (might be more). And they don’t have to worry about printing, that’s on the publisher.

      In terms of royalties, it can vary from 25% – 50%, which isn’t as much as Amazon, granted, but it still is a good cut, for someone who doesn’t wish to self-publish. Going with a publishing company also gives you the piece of mind of telling others you are a published author, when anyone can put a book up on Amazon, and say they are published, no matter the quality of the work.

      I’m not against any of the different ways of publishing, I can see the positives and negatives with them all 🙂

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