A situation came up when dealing with a student recently, where I realized that not everyone looking to self-publish was around for the early wave of vanity publishers preying on inexperienced authors. The scam of promising an author a traditional publishing experience for a fee was one even my own mother fell for, so you would think it would always be at the forefront of my mind. Nope, there is nothing but vast echo of “meow meow meow meow” going on in there about 80% of the time. The other 20% is filled with exploring the futility of existence and the inevitable heat death of the universe.
The term “Hybrid Author” no longer just means an author who traditionally publishes as well as self publishes. The term has been taken over by the latest iteration of vanity presses, preying upon novice authors. What’s worse, many major, legitimate publishing houses now use these vanity presses as the “self-publishing arm” of their company, lending credibility to the predatory practice in exchange for a percentage of the profits—even though we trade in art, it must never be forgotten for a moment that a publisher’s main concern is running a business and making profit, not filling the world with great literature. They are not benevolent caretakers of our work and should not be trusted blindly—this is why we read contracts and give our agents a percentage of what we make to ensure we’re not being taken advantage of. Please be aware of what vanity presses look like in today’s publishing landscape and don’t be fooled.