Yes, this is true! For the most part, whenever you have to purchase something it will generally be a poor substitute for those things which come to you more naturally. With this in mind, why would you ever want to release a book through a vanity press? As a publisher who doesn't charge its authors for the privilege of publishing, it is painful to see so many people paying thousands of dollars to vanity presses instead of simply working hard to make their writing the best it can be and then having the faith to either submit to a true, independent publisher or even publish the book on their own. Yes, I would rather see you, as an author, take a chance on yourself by self-publishing rather than pump thousands of dollars into a production such as what is offered by the vanity press industry. There is no good reason to throw your money away!
You CAN do this!
The process of getting your book published should be a good one. It used to be that getting your book published was the goal of every aspiring author and that they would never have considered paying out money to present the book as a fully vetted, fully polished, and legitimate product of their talent. The idea of getting published has been cheapened by the number of vanity presses who are willing to put anything out there as long as you pay them the right amount of money. Not to say that some wonderful authors haven't gone through the process of publishing through a vanity press. For some, this appeared to be the only way they could get their book out and they made the decision and investment in hopes of having a positive result. In some cases, they may have had some immediate success because vanity presses often offer big marketing packages rather than a reputation for knowing what constitutes good reading. That's their gig; marketing! They know how to make something look good. But they don't know how to make something that is good. And they generally don't care about anything except hooking the author with some instant validation and recognition in exchange for a few thousand dollars.
Higher Ground Books & Media is a publishing company that was founded by an author. An author who faced the same challenges with getting published and was even so paralyzed by the fear of rejection that she let her writing sit in a drawer for years before dusting it off and submitting it to a publisher. She was me. So, I get wanting to get published so badly that you would pay someone to make it happen. Fortunately, I was never wealthy enough to afford paying thousands of dollars to publish my books. I had to search and search for a publisher who would accept my books without asking for my money. It happened, even though my first publisher was terrible, it DID happen. I submitted my first two books and they were accepted, but the publisher was not reputable and I ended up not having the best experience with the whole process. The books were priced so high that no one wanted to buy them. I couldn't even afford to buy my own copies to re-sell. The only positive, and it was a BIG positive, was that in publishing with this particular publisher, my books somehow found their way into the hands of a reputable publisher. And he picked up my next four books and eventually went back and secured the rights to the first two. He was an awesome publisher and working with him taught me everything I needed to know about how an author should be treated by a publisher.
When I started to build Higher Ground Books & Media, it was initially meant to be just a self-publishing venture. My wonderful publisher ended up shutting down his business after many years and I had about seven books that were just sitting there in need of a re-release. As I began working toward re-releasing the books, I was approached by a few authors and asked if I could help them publish their work. I thought about it and decided that there weren't enough decent, legitimate publishers out there and so, Higher Ground was born. And I set things up so that new authors who had something to say would have an option that didn't cost them thousands of dollars just to get out there in front of the readers. We took submissions. We selected books that fit our mission. We priced our books reasonably so that the author could develop his or her platform and go out and make their case for why someone should read their book. Our covers look great! Our website is readable. Instead of being a marketing company, we are actually a publishing company that requires its authors to have enough faith in their ability as a writer to get out there and make readers understand why they should read their books.
And if we feel that someone is not necessarily willing to work within our guidelines, but definitely has a book that should be published, we will encourage that person to self-publish so that they maintain the kind of control they wish to have over the process. Sometimes an author would rather keep 100% of their royalties instead of splitting them to be a part of a publishing family. Sometimes, they want to control every aspect of design and they don't want to adhere to brand standards in order to be under a publisher's umbrella. And that's all fine. As an author, I know what it's like to want to get the book out there your way, but the answer is never to deplete your savings to do so. Never pay to publish your book. There ARE services that an author should invest in if they aren't skilled in things such as editing, formatting, cover design, etc., but those services shouldn't bankrupt you either. And there are reputable editors, designers, etc. who can help you get your book ready for the self-publishing process.
The bottom line is that if you are looking at paying more than a couple thousand dollars to publish your book, I would encourage you to instead invest your time in researching how to publish on your own or to invest a few hundred instead in a good editor. And then, I would suggest that you jump into some groups on social media where authors are sharing their experiences with vanity presses, independent publishers, etc. Contact a few independent publishers and find out what they do and why they do it. Get familiar with their submission guidelines. And if they feel like the right fit for the book you are trying to publish, do everything you can to make your writing and your book attractive to those publishers. Chances are, if you do the research and you put the effort in, you can find a publisher who is more interested in your words than in your money.
We feel very strongly that the process of publishing should not be involve digging deep into your wallet. Just send us a well-written story with a purpose that lines up with our mission. We'll offer you feedback on whether or not your book is ready to be published or if it seems like a good title to self-publish. We'll even tell you if the book simply isn't ready. We would rather give you feedback you can use to make your book the best it can be than to try and maneuver you into spending your life savings just to say that you've been published. And while we really do enjoy reading great submissions and offering contracts to writers who would make an awesome addition to our family, we do offer editing, formatting, and design services for those who are looking to self-publish if that is the way you wish to go.
Just keep it real! Never.Pay.To.Publish!
Higher Ground Books & Media is an independent publisher based in Springfield, OH. We publish stories that are inspirational, educational, and motivational! Our work is Christian-based and we strive to share stories of positive transformation that showcase God's power in our lives. You can find more information at our website.