Your Publishing Options & Why You Need to Understand the Difference Between Self-Publishing and Vanity Publishing

Your Publishing Options & Why You Need to Understand the Difference Between Self-Publishing and Vanity Publishing 

If you’re just starting out on your publishing journey you may have come across what is known as a vanity press. The internet is inundated with vanity publishers, also known as subsidy publishers, who will publish your book for you. There is a lot out there concerning these types of publishers and overall many in the industry agree that vanity presses are not often the best option for authors, especially those looking to self-publish. Many times authors enter into a contract with a vanity press unaware they are not truly “self-publishing”. To help you understand the difference between the routes you can take as an author, we have outlined the basics below:



Traditional Publisher. Traditional Publishers are the big names you’re familiar with. HarperCollins, Random House, etc. but even some “Indie” publishers would be considered traditional  – these companies take a risk on your book and they buy the rights from you upfront. You send your manuscript in and if they like it over the thousands they get each day, they will publish you. No cost to the author, yet the odds of your work being published are not great.


Vanity Press/Publisher.  The vanity press will publish anything as long as an author pays. What makes them particularly dangerous is that they tend to sell themselves as self-publishing services (we’ll get to those in a moment) rather than what they are. They can get expensive as you are required to use their editors, illustrators, etc. The biggest issue with vanity publishers is that you pay thousands of your own money and you are usually required to sign a contract that almost always gives away the rights to your book. You can quickly lose not only your money but control of your own work. They will print a few poor quality copies and many booksellers won’t even sell books from a vanity press. So word to the wise, be wary of a publisher who loves your manuscript so much yet asks for a “contribution” fee up front.


Self-Publishing Service. Closer to true self-publishing, a Self-Publishing Service provides a set fee for the process (editing, formatting, cover, etc.). They don’t pretend to be true publishers and are usually transparent with costs. It can still get expensive and you may find the package they offer has things you don’t need (think of it like a cable package you don’t watch 75% of). While this might be a great way to get it all done in one place, it doesn’t fit everyone’s needs. You may find that true self-publishing is the way to go.


True Self-Publishing. To really self-publish is to take on every aspect of the process yourself. You find an editor, you take care of marketing, etc. All the costs are yours still but you own your rights and only pay for the services you need. Here at BookFuel we help our authors stick with this model. Yes we have “services” so you might categorize us into the aforementioned category but unlike the Self-Publishing Services described above, with BookFuel you tell us what you want. You don’t need editing? Great! You only pay for the services you’re interested in, we just happen to provide a one stop shop that can be tailored to your needs.  Check out what we offer here.


Get all the help you need with experts by your side. With a wide range of publishing services, a personalized plan, and ongoing support, we make it easier to publish a successful book that you can be proud of. Retain 100% ownership and receive 100% of your book’s net sales.”


Our goal at BookFuel is to provide authors the True Self-Publishing option in the easiest way possible. Now that you know the difference in type of publishing you can hopefully determine which direction to take your work.

Click here to download your FREE Publishing Guide!