I haven't blogged about Penguin's move into vanity publishing as it's been covered elsewhere - if you've somehow missed reading about it, I'd recommend David Gaughran's post. It's really annoying to see yet another attempt to make money out of naive wannabe writers.
Writers, without whom there would be no books, bookshops or publishing industry (and no films for that matter) are generally treated surprisingly badly. The Big Six offer ever smaller advances and more comprehensive contracts; writers are the only people involved in publishing who mostly don't make a living wage. Anyone submitting work to agents is resigned to slow responses, form rejections or being ignored. We keep quiet about the worst horror stories (though they'd make riveting blog posts) because we want to be seen as professional.
And everyone, it seems, sees opportunities for making money out of writers thwarted by the near-impossibility of getting a legacy contract. I believe there are three sensible ways of reaching your readers today:
- A traditional publishing deal. Though this is probably still most writers' dream, it's less advantageous than it was even ten years ago. Increasingly, publishing is more about marketing than the product and new or mid-list authors can feel neglected.
- Small press publishing deal. There are some small presses, such as Ridan, that do very well for their authors. Others, such as Night Publishing, are more like co-operatives. You need to look carefully at each one to see exactly what they offer and what their terms are, but if you are not happy going it alone this might suit you.
- Self-publishing. You control everything, but will need to learn how to do or commission covers, formatting, editing, proofreading and uploading to Amazon's KDP.