I have stated multiple times that authors are some of the most parasitised organisms on this little green dirtball. Once you start writing you quickly discover that there are freeloaders and sponges lined up around the corner waiting for the opportunity to milk you dry of every last bit of money and work that you have created.
This happens at every level — someone needs to explain to me just exactly why traditional publishing hasn’t been the subject of multiple rounds of RICO investigations — but of particular interest to me are independent authors and vanity presses.
A “vanity press” for the purposes of this conversation is a company where you — the author — pay them to publish your work. If you send your publisher a cheque along with your manuscript: They’re a vanity press. And they’re a parasite.
Author James D. Macdonald has long had a case of the hips at vanity presses, and coined what is referred to as “Yog’s Law”, which is simply: “Money flows toward the writer.”
Clear, concise, simple, and true. Any publisher should make their money as a share of the profits from selling your book. Your brain-sweat goes into writing the book, their brain-sweat goes into editing and marketing your book; and y’all split the proceeds.
In response to the growing backlash against vanity presses, a lot of the little barnacles have restyled themselves as “hybrid presses”; and they say that the authors aren’t paying for publishing, they’re paying for “a la carte” services.
In other words, you’re not “paying for publishing”, you’re paying for editing. You’re paying for a cover.
Some folks feel this is fair.
As far as I’m concerned, as a small publisher: It’s still bushwa. They’re still parasitic little vanity presses. They want to milk each and every author of as much money as possible, without taking the risk of actually having to work to sell the books.
If you have sent your publisher money, then they’ve made their money. They don’t give two hoots in hell about your book — they’ve already made a profit. And it really, really annoys me.
Other folks in the industry feel that the “hybrid press” “a la carte” model is actually a fair and viable system.
It isn’t, but that’s just my feeling on the matter.
As such, and to give some guidance as to distinguishing between a vanity press and a genuine “hybrid press” author Dan Thompson offered the “Self Publishing Corollary to Yog’s Law”: “Money and rights are controlled by the author.”
If you’ve decided that a “hybrid press” is right for you, and you’re okay with giving them money along with your manuscript, I ask only that you check one more thing: do they want the rights to your work?
In other words, are you paying them to take your rights? Are you paying them to take your intellectual property?
If so, they’re a vanity press; they’re a parasite, and you have a duty to starve the little bastards out of existence.
That is all.