Late this afternoon, I checked in on Twitter, and a follower left this tweet and tagged Quarter Castle Publishing:
I’m sorry that I followed you. I did not read your website and therefore did not discover that you were a fucking vanity publisher disguising it under the label joint publishing packages.
Writers get paid
Then, they added this:
I repeat. I am sorry that I followed you without realizing that you are a fucking vanity publisher dressing it up as shared publishing packages.
Check the website people.
I was going to ignore the rant, but after thinking about it, I responded with the following:
“I understand some will never accept self-publishing. That’s okay. We teach writers how to self-publish, and they go on to publish additional books on their own. We are here to support them and answer their questions even if a few years have passed.”
“Along w/ publishing books in the traditional fashion, we help writers self-publish their books. You do realize some writers want full control of their creation but don’t have the means to do it, right? A trad. pub. can’t allow that. We support these writers on their journey.”
I wasn’t interested in arguing or swapping nasty tweets with this person. However, I wanted others who came upon his tweet and visited our website to understand where Quarter Castle Publishing stands.
Who Am I?
I am Diana Tibert, the founder of Quarter Castle Publishing. I contract out certain aspects of the publishing process because at this stage, I cannot afford to hire someone permanently. I can do much of the work myself, but there are some things I can’t and sometimes I’m too busy or the project is too large. I have a friend who helps when things get busy. Most notably by responding to submissions and editing. I also have a gang of beta readers who provide input on projects.
I am not a multi-million-dollar publisher. I’m not aloft with a big fancy website. I don’t pay hundreds of dollars to promote my services. I don’t have an email list that I spam with promotional material. If someone contacts me about a service and decides they are not interested, I never contact them or harass them to buy a service. When writers submit a story for consideration, if the story is rejected, they are never pointed towards our services. We don’t try to sell them anything. They don’t hear from us again unless they contact us.
What is a Vanity Press
First, let’s define Vanity Press.
According to Writers Victoria:
“‘Vanity publishing’, ‘subsidy publishing’ and ‘vanity press’ are old-fashioned terms that refer to a certain type of publisher that invites authors to send in their manuscripts and then charges them a fee or co-payment to assess and/or publish their books.”
The article goes on to speak about contracts and writers losing rights to their work.
A more thorough explanation of Vanity Press is found on Alliance of Independent Authors:
The key point is: “Vanity presses engage in aggressive, misleading, and deceptive tactics to sell their services. The tricks they use are too numerous to list here, but some of the more common ones are..” The list is on their page. We don’t do any of those things at Quarter Castle Publishing.
The article concludes: “ALLi’s definition of a vanity press is a publishing service that engages in misleading or, in the worst cases, outright deceptive practices, with the intention not of bringing books to readers but of extracting as much money as possible from the authors.”
Please, read the full article to understand what true Vanity Presses are, so you can avoid them and help other writers avoid them.
Is Quarter Castle Publishing a Vanity Press?
1) If a writer buys any of our services, they own all rights to it. If we design a cover, it’s theirs to do what they want. If we design the interior, they own all the rights to it. They own full rights to their story. QCP does NOT claim any right to their story.
2) We do not hide behind a publisher looking for submissions. Submissions and services are completely separate. We never try to sell any writers who submit their stories for consideration a package or service.
3) Our website is clear. Writers who want services contact us regarding those services. The services are clearly written. There is no hidden agenda.
4) We are far from aggressive sellers. We do not stalk or engage with writers for the sole purpose of selling packages or services.
5) We want books in the hands of readers. It’s why we strive to produce an excellent product, help promote the books and give marketing advice to authors to sell books. If you’ve been on our website before, you’ve seen the promotion of books. In late January, we spoke about “Passing it on Before Passing Away”, an excellent book written by H. L. Foster, published by the author in 2018. (Available at Amazon) She did not buy a package but purchased individual services, including editing and cover design. She also hired us to coach her to self-publish the book. While not hired to promote the book, I did so anyways on various platforms because I loved the book and wanted others to read it.
Why do we offer services?
Here’s the thing, not all writers want to be published traditionally. Sure, some have tried and have grown frustrated with rejections, so have turned to self-publishing. Others, have no interest in traditional publishing for several reasons. The two main reasons are: 1) They want full control of the end product; 2) They don’t want to wait 2 or 3 years to see their book published.
Not everyone is computer savvy. Even amongst those who are, many do not want to learn how to create a cover or design the interior of a book. For some, they wrote one book, and that’s all they’ll ever write. For others, they only want to write and leave all the other stuff for people like me to do. They’re happy to pay for someone to create the book just like they are happy to hire someone to detail their vehicle or mow their grass. Do we shame people as being too lazy to clean their car? Do we shame detailers who take advantage of people who don’t know how or don’t want to clean their car?
However, the main reason I offer services is to save writers money. I know, that sounds crazy, right? If you’ve met as many writers as I have who have been ripped off, sold down the river, tricked into giving away their book rights, and lied to by ‘publishers’ who didn’t do what they said they would do, you’d do what I’m doing if you could.
When you look at some of these ‘publishers’, you’ll see they charge incredible prices. The highest I’ve seen was $20,000. The author received only about 50 books for that deal. Writers have also spoken of $6,000 and $10,000 contracts where they give up all rights to their work and receive as little as 10 books.
But the saddest stories I’ve heard came from writers who paid thousands of dollars to have their book published and … they got nothing in return. No books. No book published. I believe one gentlemen paid $10,000, went on the road to promote his book and received not one penny of royalties. The company took his money to publish the book and kept all royalties.
If I can save writers from this fate, charge them a reasonable price and produce a quality product in a timely manner, then I will do it. If they hire us to coach them in self-publishing, they’ll go on to publish more books on their own.
Here’s a good place to bring up anthology scams. Over the past five years, I’ve heard from writer friends who have had other writer friends pay anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 to have their short story included in an anthology. When I first heard about this, I couldn’t believe it. After a little research, I learned it was true. Please, writers, do not pay to have your short stories published in an anthology. Those publishing those anthologies are making huge amounts of money from you, not the sales of these books.
If you’ve written a short story and want it published, do it yourself. I’ve seen many short stories published as individual books. However, ideally, you should write a few short stories and release your own anthology.
Who are our clients?
Writers who come to us come for many reasons. We do our best to meet their needs.
One lady had written a book about her late husband. She wanted a cover and the interior designed and 100 copies for family and friends. It was personal, not for public sale. Just over 100 pages, she got those books at around $5 a piece. That was the wholesale price delivered to her door. We added nothing to bump up the price.
One lady had written a children’s book and needed it edited. She was taking care of the rest of the production.
You’ll see three of John N. Grant’s books on our website. John is a member of the same writers’ group I am, and I’ve worked with him on these projects because he just wants to write. He leaves the designing to me.
There are many more stories. Most authors offer their books for sale to the public, but for some, they are personal keepsakes of family history. They’ve written the book and want to hold it in their hands.
Vanity Press – the smear to self-publishing
Is it? While searching for a definition of Vanity Press, I came across a few comments that stated the term vanity press was created by traditional publishers to smear self-published authors. I know it’s an old term, but self-publishing has been happening since the printing press was invented. Beatrix Potter self-published “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” and Canada’s Margaret Atwood self-published a book of poems called “Double Persephone”.
If this is true about the origin of vanity press, then all I have to say is , “Off with their heads!” Self-publishing is as legitimate as traditional publishing. I’ve seen both produce garbage and both produce excellent work. I am so done with traditional publishing snobs.
Ultimately, we are here to traditionally publish stories that fit our publishing vision. Given my circumstances in life at the moment, that’s only about 1 to 3 books a year.
We are also here to support writers who want to self-publish. That might be through editing, creating a cover, formatting the interior or coaching them on the journey. Not all writers need the same support. That’s why we have individual services and packages.
The experts recommend writers who self-publish hire someone to do specific things, such as design a cover, if they are incapable or don’t want to create one. That’s exactly what we do.
My time is valuable. Just like yours. If I didn’t get paid to help someone walk through the self-publishing journey, then I couldn’t do it. The alternative is to not help, which leaves those who can’t do it or don’t want to do it vulnerable to the vultures out there who charge as much as $20,000 to publish a book.
The gentleman who tried to tarnish Quarter Castle Publishing on Twitter has every right to his opinion, but he’s wrong. We are not a Vanity Press. He doesn’t have to believe me, but I know what I am. Personally, I couldn’t sleep at night if I took advantage of the vulnerability of writers. I am one, and I know the best feeling in the world is to have my book in my hands. I want to give that feeling to other writers.
This is long, but it’s all I have to say on the matter. I’d rather be creating and making dreams come true, or working in the garden. I will not bring up this subject again.
Those who don’t believe me are happy to move on. Take your negativity with you. You won’t be missed.