Do you know what a Vanity Press is?
Not everyone does and I am not looking down on someone who goes this route, but it is warning to ensure authors understand the risks.
Obviously I am a fan or independent publishers as well as traditional publishers. I have my reasons. Self publishing is a whole new world that is allowing a lot of new books to flood the market. What of vanity presses though?
A vanity press is a ‘publisher’ that requires the author or perspective author to sign a contract that requires them to pay money up front in order for a book to be accepted.* I don’t mean a small amount either. Most request a few thousand. Some request the author to buy a certain amount of books, or to buy others books from the publisher. There are a lot of different ways to identify a vanity press, but the biggest is that your book was not accepted due to merit, quality, plot line, or any other point that most agents and publishers look for.
A indie and or traditional publisher has contracts, but they never ask the author to foot the bill. Some do not pay advances; this is usually an Indie publisher due to their size and is not uncommon nor a red flag to worry about. Royalties should always be addressed, you’re a publishing to make money – let’s not kid ourselves.
If you aren’t sure if the publisher is a vanity press, where you are pretty much paying to have your book printed rather than self publish in ebook first, Google search and look for reviews. I am not saying all vanity presses are bad, some help market even. Just be aware of what you are getting into before you sign over a lot of money that might be lost for good rather than an investment.
*Please know that it is not uncommon for agents to ask for the author to pay their printing of manuscripts that will be shopped around to potential publishers.