Every aspiring author has heard of/seen ads for are known as 'vanity presses'. These are pay-to-publish presses, and many people use them for many reasons. Yesterday I 'attended' an online webinar sponsored by Writers' Digest and heard what I thought was a very fair and balanced presentation of the advantages/disadvantages of Traditonal (now often called commercial) publishing, Do-It-Yourself Publishing, and Supported Publishing, which is another name for pay-to-publish. Comparisons were made regarding speed to market, control, and investment required.
It's not my purpose here to hold one model up as better than any other. I believe it is a matter of choice. However--it behooves an author to recognize a vanity press masquerading as a small (commercial) press--and know the bottom line BEFORE signing a contract which is legally binding. (And let me state here that there are good pay-to-publish businesses.) Look for
- fee of any sort
- pre-purchase or pre-sale requirements
- withheld royalties
- promises that your book will be available 'everywhere'
The link I directed you to in Part 1 contains lists and lists of other links to
- research publishers and check reputations
- learn about contracts
- learn about epublishing
- learn about print-on-demand publishing
- find other resources to expand your knowledge about publishing
My thanks to SFWA--Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America--for their wonderful "Writer Beware Blog" and the Small Press Page (linked above) which inspired the "Run, Don't Walk!" topic. They are a savvy resource for ALL writers! Add their site to your desktop, subscribe to their blog, and stay up on topics important to the writing world.
Disclaimer: This recommendation is made strictly because I believe the information provided by SFWA is valuable.