Writing: Vanity Press, Vanity Review

In the world of writing there are presses we call vanity presses. A Google search of my name is a vanity search, and a vanity press lets you publish your work. Vanity is all about you but is it the best for you? Publishing with a vanity press means that there is no editorial review, and therefore no standards for quality, consistency or proper grammar. Anyone who writes a book, regardless of plot, description, comprehension, setting or character development can publish a book…if you have the money. In most cases a vanity press is a press that will take your money to print copies. Some have varying packages dependent on whether they lay out the copy, do the graphics, add extra details or just print and bind the book. Some such presses also offer editorial services for a fee.

Another form of vanity press is that which offers a contest of some sort. This is most common in the world of poetry. Inevitably, no matter what drek you send in, you’ll receive a note that you have won or placed in the competition. The catch comes in that you get no prize except for a bound edition of all the winning entries, being pretty much every poem entered by anyone. But to receive your prize edition it will just cost you $49.95 plus $10 shipping (or something similar), which means that the company probably makes $40 on each book and in the long run you’ve paid to have your work published.

Vanity published works are never considered for any awards or even reviews. Vanity publishing satisfies the writer’s need to be published, but the books are looked at askance. (I should mention that in the world of Print on Demand {POD} and the internet some very good books have come out of self-publishing and even been picked up by a publishing house but it is rare. This doesn’t mean POD is bad at all as many publishers use it.) Some of the works I’ve copyedited would never be picked up by a publisher. New writers are often unwilling to take criticism, or rewrite to a standard that would even be considered by most publishers. So they self-publish.

Small presses should not be mixed up with vanity publishing. A small press may use POD because they do not have a big budget and can do smaller print runs, and very little marketing. But quality work can come from them and marketing will consist of sending out some review copies, word of mouth and selling at every fair or convention. To that end, a review is a great thing to get.

So now we have vanity reviews. A few “reviewers” have decided that if you want a review, well you can pay for it and then we’ll give you your review. One such company is ForeWord Reviews Foreword Reviews Guidelines. It seems that they are partially legit with their print magazine but now offer a digital review for a small fee of $99. Then they have their full fee for review service called Clarion, for only $305. For half that price I’ll do a review.

What’s the problem with a paid for review? This: you cannot trust that the review is giving an honest and informed opinion but just that the company is a mill for making money and that the review will be in favor since you paid and they want you to pay again for your next book. Sad. Don’t go there. In fact, this vanity review service from ForeWord Reviews has been their response not only to self-published authors but also to small presses. For more information, you can go to the following links.


http://www.midwestbookreview.com/jimcox/jul_01.htm (check out #2)

1 Comment

Filed under entertainment, Publishing, Writing

One response to “Writing: Vanity Press, Vanity Review

  1. Thank you for sharing your concerns about our fee for review services. I understand the reticence to adopting this feature into the publicity efforts for some publishers who want to do business using yesterday’s trade review business model, one that has mostly failed due to lack of support from publishers advertising.

    You are not alone in these misgivings, but as the times change in publishing at breakneck speeds due to digital transformation, perhaps you will have a better appreciation for it.

    I firmly believe that the value of a review, a good review of a good book noted by a source recognized by the trade as quality and integrity, will be reflected more and more through services like ours and other publications (Kirkus and Bowker already provide fee-for-review services, did you know?). As much as we would like , it is impossible to review the many good books submitted to the magazine due to space limitations.

    But now, if we deign a book wothy, publishers can help us offset our costs by simply paying a service fee. Bowker, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Ebsco and Gale license ALL of our reviews. That alone seems worth the $99 fee for an approved title, or $305 for one that doesn’t meet our high standards. In fact, we’ve even joked about charging for the licensing relationships we have, and providing the review at no charge as an easier pill for some publishers to swallow!

    Take a closer look at our reviews the next time you see a copy of the magazine, or check them online http://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/. They are some of the best in the trade, and they are now available to consumers with the introduction last month of our mobile app for readers … yet another opportunity for you to sell books through ForeWord ~which has always been our primary mission.

    If we can be of further assistance to you or your readers, I hope you will contact us directly. We understand we have some issues communicating the benefits of this complicated service, and we’re working on that.

    Victoria Sutherland, Publisher

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