Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now
Customer Discussions > biography discussion forum

vanity publishing

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 76-100 of 130 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2012 08:20:05 BDT
No, Christine - you are absolutely wrong. Thousands of books are published by big publishers out of the vanity of the author. Just think of all those self-serving celebrity biogs. Plenty of books are published by big publishers that are full of misinformation (I could name four off the top of my head), and others that are badly-researched and even full of typos. Again, I could point to examples.

Therefore, being published by a big publisher means nothing in terms of quality control. They only publish books they think will make money. If nonsense achieves this, they publish nonsense. There is no fact checking, for example.

What is more, many best-selling, popular and much-loved books have been self published before later being taken up by a major publisher.

As you have rudely ignored everything that I wrote in my previous posting about my own history book, I will engage with you no longer. I've made my point, and I shall leave it to others to take up the cudgels.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2012 08:24:47 BDT
I feel sorry for you. I sent out 35 review copies of my book and ended up with 35 excellent reviews, I took snippets from them and listed those snippets on the book's website. I am sure they help sell the book.

Posted on 30 Jul 2012 08:55:30 BDT
Sou'Wester says:
Though not an ardent fan of self-publishing, I would agree that some excellent non-fiction is produced by authors or very small publishing outfits; particularly in areas such as local history in which large publishing houses aren't normally interested. Crucially these are books written by people who are passionate about their subject (and usually very knowledgeable as well), they involve years of research and checking, and the end result is something quite unique. They'll probably be quite specialised and appeal to a fairly small readership but they have genuine archive value. As far as I can tell, Professor H's book falls into this category.
However, this is a very different kettle of fish to a lot of self-published work. The "My Memoirs" type book is often a vain-glorious, lazily researched indulgence by people (famous and non-famous alike) who think they are far more interesting than they actually are! With one or two exceptions, I tend to avoid anyone conceited enough to want to write their own life story. As for fiction; it's hard enough for traditional publishing channels to come up with fresh material. No doubt there is some genuinely original work being put out by self-published authors, but trying to find it amidst the hackneyed, derivative and downright badly written dross that has flooded the market is like looking for that needle in the haystack.

Posted on 30 Jul 2012 10:01:31 BDT
Thank you for the compliment Sou.

"The "My Memoirs" type book is often a vain-glorious, lazily researched indulgence by people (famous and non-famous alike) who think they are far more interesting than they actually are!"

True, but many such books are published by major publishing houses. Cos to them it's all about profits, not quality.

But I do agree with you. It's surprising how many times, when chatting with strangers and mentioning that I own a small publishing outfit, they have told me that they have "the most amazing life story" and that their families have told them they "ought to write a book about it". Well they should, but only get 20 copies printed and give it to their families.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2012 11:34:55 BDT
El Inglés says:
Professor H, I was always taught to believe that all men should have a son, plant a tree and write a book! The first two I achieved with little difficulty. As to the third I waited until I had spent many years as an expat in Spain before writing my first book. Sure we are all different - What's one man's fish is another man's poisson! There is no vanity in my thinking that I have led an interesting life - it is true! One only has to read 'About the book' and 'About the authour' on Amazon, Chris Wright's 'The Spanish Cheese 'Sanwish' Without Bread' and I will wager that few others can match what happened to me during over half a century in the potpourri that sets Spain apart from rest. El Ingles

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2012 11:40:59 BDT
"all men should have a son, plant a tree and write a book!"

Hahaha. And what did the phrase say women ought to do? Wash the dishes and clean the toilet?

But yes, it IS true that SOME people's life stories are interesting to SOME people. It depends where one's interests lie, doesn't it?

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2012 12:41:03 BDT
Sou'Wester says:
Yes, there are exceptions that prove the rule, but it's generally my experience that people who've lived genuinely fascinating lives (particularly where courage and self-sacrifice are strong elements) are very reluctant even to talk about themselves, let alone write their stories.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2012 17:53:38 BDT
El Inglés says:
Professor H. And where did you find that piece of asinine nonsense about women? Never mind you certainly have every right to your own opinion which is surely worthless. El Ingles

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jul 2012 19:12:33 BDT
Amen to that El Ingles!

Bored of Penge

Posted on 4 Aug 2012 22:26:59 BDT
Minijax says:
Coming in rather late to this discussion, I feel the term 'vanity publishing' should be clarified. It doesn't really relate to the vanity of the author; it doesn't mean that someone thinks highly of their own work; many authors who have submitted to mainstream publishers and have been successful are equally vain, because they too believe in their own work. The real meaning of vanity publishing is that some organisations manage to convince naive people that they should pay for publishing, and these people do not understand that a mainstream publisher does not ask for payment.

Such organisations (which are sometimes just plain dishonest) assure the would-be author that the work is excellent and that they will therefore accept them and publish their work for, say, £10,000. They then make no effort to sell the work, because they already have the cash. They obtain an ISBN and give the required books to the British Library and others, as required, but sometimes don't even bother to print more than a dozen or so books. In other words, they trade on the vanity of the author/victim. This is not self publishing.

Self publishers may be equally vain, but not so naive; they know they must organise the printing and subsequently the marketing and sales of the book they bring out.

I self-published an autobiographical book some years ago, and sold nearly 900 copies of the paperback, which I still keep in print. Now an epublisher has taken it on and brought it out in all (e) formats. I self-published after I had had a book commissioned and accepted by a mainstream publisher, and I knew the ropes.
For anyone interested, my book is called The Fruit of the Tree, and I have since written two fiction books and a number of short stories.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2012 00:20:50 BDT
Minijax I agree with every word that you have written on vanity publishing. It is correct that the word comes from unscrupulous publishers who flatter the vanity of authors whose work actually isn't worth publishing, in order to make shedloads of money for doing very little.

As the author of six self published (factual history) books, I was most offended by the poster who labelled my work "vanity".

Well done for selling 900 copies of your autobiography. That must be a record.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2012 12:04:05 BDT
I have sold 2000 copies of mine - and another 4000 have been downloaded free. Sorry to boast - couldn't resist!

I am currently ghost writing a memoir for someone else. I think we all have a story and a right to have it heard - it can only be a good thing though when somebody who is not a writer employs somebody who is, to write on their behalf.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2012 12:14:15 BDT
Ok but HOW -- how did those 6,000 people find out your book even existed, and what made them want to actually read it?

Posted on 5 Aug 2012 12:20:48 BDT
Minijax says:
Thank you, Prof., and well done Louise on your sales.

Promotion is a time consuming job, but necessary if you want to make sales. As far as my ebooks are concerned, I do promote on the Meet the Author pages. When I was selling my paperback, I telephoned a large number of bookshops and managed to get press releases in quite a few magazines and newpapers. It was a bit easier then, though, because not so many people were doing it. Now, everyone's on the bandwagon.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2012 12:23:18 BDT
Yes, quite! So many people are now vying for space, it's harder to get publicity, and there are so many self publishers about that are more shameless than oneself. My problem is I am too shy and self conscious. It's probably cost me hundreds of not thousands of sales.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2012 12:49:53 BDT
Minijax says:
I was shy too, but I got braver, with time and practice. I've given talks to reading and writing circles, and with another couple of writers, I've given workshops and we've put our books on display.

You could mention your books on your profile, Prof. Help the reader along a bit.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2012 13:36:48 BDT
Hi. My book is called 'Surviving Schizophrenia: A Memoir'. I guess the readership has been mainly people with an interest in mental health, but as a story of a life it goes way beyond that - even during my worst days I was far more than a 'Schizophrenic'.

The reviews so far have been wonderful, and I hope that more people will read my memoir, in due course.

Posted on 5 Aug 2012 13:40:27 BDT
I have been invited to speak at an event at Newcastle University in the autumn, called 'Reassembling the Self'. Hopefully this will help sales - I have not yet looked for publicity in newspapers or magazines, but may do eventually. I feel that if my writing is good enough it will be widely read eventually, though I may be naive in this.

Posted on 5 Aug 2012 19:02:06 BDT
Minijax says:
I don't think you can bank on that, Louise. Publicity and promotion is vital, I think.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2012 19:30:17 BDT
You're probably right. It's just as you said earlier, promotion takes time, and I would rather be using that time to keep writing! Also, like the Professor, I feel a little awkward about self-promotion. Anyway, good luck to you both, I will look up your books later this evening.

Posted on 5 Aug 2012 19:40:54 BDT
I think what we have hit on here is a book about a subject that many people want to read about because it affects THEM. Of course ithelps a lot that Louise is a very highly articulate and literate person, who is able to describe her experiences with erudition.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2012 20:09:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 Aug 2012 20:09:27 BDT
Minijax says:
I think you're probably right, Prof. Non-fiction books on a specific subject are more saleable than autobiographies by unknowns. Non-fiction in general is easier to get published than fiction.

Thanks for the good wishes, Louise.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2012 20:13:56 BDT
Exactly, Mini.

If someone unknown writes a book called "My Memoirs", how many do you think it would sell?

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2012 20:20:32 BDT
Minijax says:
They might have some means of getting interest, but very few, I would have thought. And any book is much more difficult to sell in paperback version than in e-format. Obviously in ebooks, self publishers can reduce the price of the book to make it marketable. Paperbacks suffer by virtue of the fact that self publishers are likely to print fewer copies than a mainstream publisher, and therefore the unit costs will be higher.

Calling something, 'my memoirs' would be a fatal mistake, anyway. Any writer must be able to come up with a better title than that.

Prof - Mini is a description of me. Please feel free to call me Jax, or Jackie.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Aug 2012 22:05:04 BDT
Aw, thanks Prof! Sorry for late reply, somehow missed the email notification about this until today. I looked up your books, Jackie, and liked what I saw - and Prof, you are next on my list to research, although history is much more my husband's thing than mine. All the best to you both. Louise.
[Add comment]
Add your own message to the discussion
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Prompts for sign-in

Recent discussions in the biography discussion forum (214 discussions)

  Discussion Replies Latest Post
Important Announcement from Amazon
45 6 Apr 2015
the rose coloured wish by florence bone 25 22 Dec 2015
Laugh out loud books? 52 28 Aug 2015
Biographies on gay Alan Turing show he had parental neglect as a kid ( 282 19 Aug 2015
Bio on Benny Hill shows he was considered funnier than watching paint dry 30 31 Jul 2015
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 33 20 Jul 2015
Bio on Man Of Truth showed he had repetitive word syndrome called Hill! ( 28 25 May 2015
Bio on Benny Hill shows he was considered funnier than Monty Python by various TV stations 363 23 May 2015
HELP! Recommendations for history novels authors please 52 18 May 2015
I have forgotten the title of this book 73 7 May 2015
Best Biography? 464 16 Mar 2015
A desperate young man, ex coal miner, grabs an opportunity and now mixes with film stars 2 21 Jan 2015

More Customer Discussions

Most active community forums
Most active product forums

Amazon forums

This discussion

Participants:  31
Total posts:  130
Initial post:  5 Jul 2010
Latest post:  7 Oct 2012

New! Receive e-mail when new posts are made.
Tracked by 11 customers

Search Customer Discussions