• Jai Patel

Vanity Publishing is Evil!

Gather 'round, boys and girls and non-binary folks!

Today I want to tell you the tale of Vanity Publishing and why it's an evil force that needs to be destroyed.

But before we begin, let's make one thing crystal clear: Vanity Publishing is NOT Self-Publishing. Here's an overly simplified explanation of how these two types of publishing work:

👼 Self-Publishing: Authors publish a piece of work (i) independently and (ii) at their own expense. The rights of the work belong to the author.

👿 Vanity Publishing: Authors publish a piece of work (i) through a publisher and (ii) are required to pay the publisher to publish their books. Oh, and the rights of the work belong to the publisher.

See what a crappy deal this is? First, they charge you a crazy fee, then they get to keep your work. Vanity Publishing aka Assisted Publishing aka Subsidy Publishing takes advantage of writers. Plain and simple.

Here's another reason why Vanity Publishing sucks big-time:

👼 Self-Publishing: Authors are required to constantly learn and improve their writing, editing, and proofreading skills, as well as other skills such as social media marketing and content marketing. On top of that, they have to work hard to build a following/reader base and live up to expectations.

👿 Vanity Publishing: Authors can pretty much submit any manuscript (regardless of actual interest /market demand) and get their books distributed fairly easily. Yes, this is why bookstores are filled with syok sendiri biographies (you know what I'm talking about *wink*) of people who really, really, really want to believe they're famous.

Let me end this with some examples:

👼 Self-Publishing: Online platforms include Amazon/KDP, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Google Play Books, Apple Books. In Malaysia, we even have local platforms such as Some self-published authors also print and sell their own paperbacks or hardcovers.

👿 Vanity Publishing: Look, I'm not going to name names and get into trouble. But we've all heard of authors who've had to PAY TO PUBLISH their books, either through starting a fundraiser or paying to join a contest.

Of course, this is a complex issue, and I had to oversimplify a lot of things. But I do hope this blog post helps budding writers avoid the dangers of vanity publishing.

Remember: it doesn't make sense to pay someone to make money off your work.


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