Durant Imboden's articles for writers

| Home | Introduction | Articles Index |

| Links | Durant Imboden |

Writing Scams and Schemes
Continued from page 1

Vanity presses

Subsidy publishers, a.k.a. "vanity presses," have exploited unsuspecting or self-deceiving writers for decades.

Their pitch is simple: "Give us a few thousand dollars, and we'll turn you into a published author." The writer ends up with hundreds of unsold books, while the so-called publisher supports his wife, children, and Mercedes dealer with fees paid by authors.

The trouble with subsidy publishing is that nobody takes it seriously except the author. Book distributors and booksellers turn up their noses at vanity-press books, review media ignore such books, and librarians respond with pained smiles when they're given autographed copies of books that authors paid to have published.

Even worse, publication by a vanity press can hurt an author's future career. Consider:

When an editor at Random House, Scribners, or Doubleday receives a query from an unknown writer, there's always the hope (remote though it may be) that the author is an undiscovered Hemingway or Danielle Steel.

But when that editor receives a query from a writer who proudly states, "My last book was published by Greed & Lucre Press," the editor instantly concludes that the author's first book was rejected by every legitimate publisher in New York. The author is branded as a loser--and a clueless, narcissistic loser at that.

Continued on page 3

Copyright © 1996-2002 Durant Imboden. All rights reserved. Credits.