Laser printing has made publishing highly affordable. Self-publishing houses are thriving and thousands of books are being written that in the past wouldn’t have found a publisher. But these companies don’t call themselves “self-publishers,” or “vanity presses,” terms of bygone days. To avoid the stigma, they refer to themselves as a service industry. Here’s an example. The publisher of my novel,“Heart Land,” began as an independent press but transformed itself into a self-publisher during the economic downturn. I objected and wished to be freed from my contract. My request was refused as the publisher denied being a vanity pres:
“… our US division does not utilize a “self-publishing” business model as you suggested – the company provides book publishing services to independent authors.”
His obfuscation drew the contempt it deserved: “A rose is a rose is a rose.”
Why do words matter?
Because self-publishing companies get their costs and profits from the writer. Traditional publishing houses get their money from sales.Guess,whichpublisher, therefore, is likely to do its best for the writer and require the best of the writer?
There’s nothing wrong with self-publishing as a concept. Had I a large following, I’d consider it. Some notable writers have already. The reasons are several: the writer has control over his work; he keeps most of his profits and can sell his books to his readers at a lowered price. What offends me is the pretense of some self-publishing houses. They reel in the novice by pretending to be an indie press (small, full service company) but aren’t. So, let me be clear about the difference:an Indie press charges no money to bring a book to market. A self-publishers does.