I was at a bar, (a common occurrence) not too long ago, meeting with Erica Green, one of the founders of the Iceland Writers Retreat, (www.IcelandWritersRetreat.com) and met some very interesting people. Not being good with names, I can’t tell you anyone’s from that night, but there was one gentleman who made a very interesting comment about “vanity press.”
He was saying that in the good old days, before Amazon and the surge of, and overwhelming number of self publishing services, publishing a book where the author paid for the publishing was an act of vanity, simply wanting to have a book in hand to show friends and family and perhaps sell a few copies, one’s vanity stepped in and paid the price to have such a novelty. Today, anyone with a computer can upload a manuscript and see it published if nothing more than an e-book, but still, published and available for purchase. There is nothing difficult or competitive about it. Anyone can do it, and while it is still an act that involves vanity, the true vanity, the real ego, in today’s publishing world, is the author who can find an agent and find a traditional publishing house to publish his or her book.
Self- publishing is faster, and certainly if the book sells well, the financial rewards will come quicker and be greater than with a traditional publishing house. It is common knowledge that in today’s publishing world, even if an author finds an agent, gets published, that he or she will have to do much of his or her own marketing and publicity. The days of author’s being sponsored on book tours are long gone.
So why bother with trying to find an agent and a traditional publishing house?
VANITY. It is vanity, and certainly nothing more, it is wanting, to be recognized and accepted as being worthy of an agent and a “real” publishing house. It is wanting into that finite group of writers who are chosen.
Anyone can self-publish and not just anyone can find an agent and a publisher. It is the ego that wants and needs that validation of being a “real author” with a “real agent” and a “real book”…It is vanity, and nothing more.