Thursday, September 3, 2009

Five more expensive ways to get into print

I once did a post on five expensive ways to be printed. No vanity press has yet managed to beat XLibris's Platinum Package, priced at thirteen thousand dollars, but one of them comes fairly close. We’ll start with the cheapest...

1., $250

$250 might not seem like much, but this is what offers for it. will offer the work for sale on its Internet site: AGoodBook.Com. will summarize and excerpt the book in order to motivate customers to purchase the book.

Sample summary (in its entirety):

With only his business skills and life-experiences to help him, a young and successful businessman finds himself fighting for his life, in the middle of love and international financial intrigue. Over his head, on three continents, he copes as best he can . . .and finds he likes it. Very fast paced and written in the first person, all the reader can think is, "This is could be happening to me!"

The majority of books in the e-store (in other words, eight out of the thirteen books offered for sale) were authored by the publisher, Steven Bassion. Thankfully, is no longer accepting submissions.

2. Pagefree Publishing, $399

However, this is if your book is less than 70,000 words. If it’s between 70,000 and 120,000 words, the price goes up to $459. Also, this is for the paperback – the minimum cost for a hardcover is $549. Still, you do get one (1) complimentary copy and your book produced within a month.

3. SP Press, $1350

That’s the minimum cost for the Designer Package. The Basic Package starts at $600 and the Custom Package at $850.

Somehow I doubt that good things come in any of these packages, given that at the cheapest level, authors get a “Generic front cover” and no ISBN. Those cost extra, as do editing, printing and press kits – “15 Kits for $200 - discounted 10% with any Publishing Package”.

The webpage also bears the usual vanity press claim that “You retain ALL rights”. No, you’ve lost both your rights of first publication and your six hundred dollars (minimum).

4. Diggory Press, > $3300

When I previously mentioned vanity presses which named their different packages after gemstones or precious metals, I asked if there was any metal beyond the take-out-a-second-mortgage platinum. Why, of course. That would be Diggory Press’s Rhodium Package.

This exclusive publishing package, we think is the best publishing deal in the world.

Better than the one J. K. Rowling got for her last book, I’m sure. Still, one thing your three grand buys you is an “unlimited number of author copies available for your purchase at the normal author print prices plus delivery.”

5. VMI, > $9000

Publishing with VMI: nearly ten grand.
Quotes from VMI: priceless.

There is considerable risk in publishing.

Indeed. For instance, there are a lot of vanity presses out there.

That risk increases with new authors.

Because they’re less likely to see through attempts to bleed their bank accounts dry?

The money we receive from author purchases helps pay for the initial editing, cover design, typesetting, printing, advertising, sales team costs, overhead, etc. That is why we tell our authors up-front that this is a "partnership" between publisher and author.

I’m trying to see how this is a partnership in any sense of the word. Do you go into partnership with a used-car dealer when you pay him for whatever you drive off his lot?

The costs to the author for his copies depend on the quantity ordered. The minimum order is 1000 copies.

When you order 1000 copies, you get 30% off the retail price. But using VMI’s own price of $12.99 for a 150-225 page trade paperback, you’d still be paying over nine thousand dollars before adding shipping and handling.

VMI is not a vanity publisher.

The best part is what VMI stands for: Virtue Ministries, Inc.


Hazardgal said...

Thanks once again for being the John Stossel on this issue. Hey, I got another PA royalty check. It seems I sold 27 books online since Feb. That feels good but the check was puny, as usual. Glad to know the book still lives on even under these conditions.

Mary Witzl said...

What, you pay $600 for a generic front cover and NO ISBN? No matter how badly I might want to publish, thank God I'm a cheapskate: my penny-pinching ways would never let me fall for that.

This is a good description of vanity publishers and the fleecing services they offer. Whenever a well-meaning friend suggests one of these in the future, I'll send them here!

Anonymous said... over two hundred dollars to summarize your novel? Good grief- people can do that for free on their blog. And a hell of a lot better, if that example is typical.

Marian Perera said...

Hey Marge,

I've been in touch with a couple of other PA authors, and you're not alone when it comes to slim royalties, though you knew that already. One such author, though, had to contact PA nearly a dozen times before she got her check at all.

Good thing you got a publisher who'll treat you well. And I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

Marian Perera said...

Hi Mary,

It's fascinating to see how much such places charge. And I already have enough material for another list of five such vanity presses.

What's almost as bad is that these places make the stealth vanities (those which don't charge upfront) look like a great deal in comparison. It's much more difficult to warn people about those.

Marian Perera said...

Tasha, my sentiments exactly. And if a book is only offered for sale from the publisher's website, how highly trafficked is that website?