Vanity Publishers and How to Identify Them by Deanna Jackson

vanity-publishingLet’s welcome back monthly columnist Deanna Jackson as she shares with us “Vanity Publishers and How to Identify Them.” Enjoy!


There are so many things I have learned thus far in my journey to become a published author. I am a very eager person but unfortunately sometimes I lack patience. Patience is definitely something I didn’t have when I first started writing.

I am very active on twitter so when I saw a tweet about a publisher accepting un-agented submissions, I started my research on the company. They had a wide array of novels from many different genres and their authors attended major industry book conventions for signings. They seemed legitimate.

Once my research was complete, I submitted my entire novella through email. Here should have been my first red flag. Now months later and numerous hours spent on the internet researching publishers, most of them only want a few chapters submitted at the beginning. If they like what they see they will ask for the full manuscript. Nonetheless, I figured it may be because they are a small press and ignored the flag.

I received an email back from the publisher the very next morning. I submitted my manuscript at around midnight the night before. I didn’t really think anything was wrong with that and thought maybe they loved my work and couldn’t put it down. Looking back now I know that was farfetched. My novella hadn’t been professionally edited and it needed A LOT of work. Another warning sign.

The publisher praised my writing and the story and wanted to work with me. Attached was a broken down list of what they offered and the PRICES. I looked over the list a little confused but intrigued by everything that they would be doing for me and my novella.  The publisher would take care of the editing, cover artwork and marketing. The “packages” started at $1000.00 and went up to over $4000.00. Even then I felt something was off but I considered working with them. They would be making my novella complete so the fact that they charged for those services made sense. I did ask the company about this and that was actually their answer.

I read over the “packages” and it all seemed surreal.  The descriptions of what the publisher offered was extravagant. If you paid for the $4000.00 package they will try to get your book turned into movie.  I would love to see my book on Lifetime or Hallmark one day. It all seemed amazing and I was getting ready to write a check out for thousands of dollars to this publishing company.

Because I had previously read an article that described the different types of publishers I sought out advice from my peers. Most of them said to go for it since they would be offering so much in return but I was still hesitant. I only read one article, which was my fault. I should have done better research but that’s a whole different blog topic. It talked about vanity publishers but talked about just paying to get your book published and not offering much more than that. This publisher offered so much more, according to their pricing sheet. Thinking about it now, making up a fancy pricing list to lure inexperienced writers was the point.

I went with my gut and ended up declining the offer. I have done some more research on vanity publishers and the main thing I have taken from it all is, if you are paying for any type of services to get your book published steer clear. You should never pay a publisher, they should be paying you. The same thing goes for agents.

It really is that simple. Spend your money elsewhere and you won’t be sorry!

Below are some helpful websites on vanity publishers



Deanna JacksonI am an unpublished author working on my first romance novel. I have taken classes in creative writing and editing at the University of Cincinnati. When I am not writing, I enjoy snuggling on the couch with my husband and three fur puppies.

Blog site:

Twitter: @Jackdeanna

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  • Beth Barany says:

    Thanks for sharing your story with us, Deanna! Happy Holidays!

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