Someone’s interested in my manuscript, I’m going to be a published author. Except they want me to pay $$$. Is that a good deal?
No, it is not and here’s why.
Yog’s law, coined by James D. Macdonald, states that:
“Money should flow toward the author.”
When a publisher asks you to pay to have your work published, that’s a Vanity Publisher, also sometimes called a Hybrid Publisher.
John Scalzi wrote about a corollary to Yog’s law, since Amazon has made self-publishing so accessible.
Self-Publishing Corollary to Yog’s Law: ”While in the process of self-publishing, money and rights are controlled by the writer.”
Vanity Publishers promise a lot to unsuspecting writers for a price. If they’re asking you to pay and are retaining any rights to your work, run away.
Compare this to a service. A service charges you for what they do. Like having a cover designed, having a book formatted. You receive a finished deliverable, or assistance in the form of expertise and that’s that.
Spotting a Vanity Publisher
If they claim to be a publisher but want money from you, that’s vanity or hybrid publishing.
Contrast this with an author services company: If they only offer editing, book design, cover design etc. but make no claim to publishing, don’t try to assign their own ISBN or take other control, they are likely an author services company.
You still need to do your own homework with research and due diligence, talk to their past clients, read contracts and terms, etc.
Check out the website: Writers Beware by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Of America. This site is a huge resource for identifying vanity publishers.