Monday, August 11, 2008

An Interesting Dilemma (For Me, Anyway)

First of all, how about the USA Men's 4x100 relay team?!? Was that not just the most awesomest race ever??? Woo hoo!

Ahem, anyway - this isn't what I'd planned on posting, but something happened and I find it causes me a bit of confusion. Maybe it shouldn't, but it does. So, I'll throw it out there and see what everyone else thinks. And please - don't be shy. If you agree, say so. If you think I'm being an idiot, tell me (but nicely, please.)

I was checking my MySpace page (I know, I can't help it) and I saw a friend request. Now who doesn't like getting those? Who doesn't think Somebody want me to be their MySpace friend. Yay!?

Ahem.

So, when I looked at it, it was from a vanity press, and their message to me was that they have a very talented group of writers and it seems appropriate that I should join them as well. Now, it's just a policy that, whenever I receive a friend request, I go to that person's page and check them out. Just curious, or maybe I'm thinking it's spam (which some of them are, and they get a very quick no.)

So, I go to their site, and they seem relatively straightforward about what they are - I see no claims that they are a "traditional" publisher, like say **coughcough PublishAmerica coughcough**. I looked up their "publishing" packages, and they list various prices, depending on what services an author wants. Their home page is a little confusing. They talk about a flat fee, and then about package fees. I'm assuming they are two separate fees, combined when you place your order.

Now, I've said I have no problem with vanity presses, as long as they are upfront about what they are **coughcough PublishAmerica coughcough**. But I really don't know that I want my name being associated with one. I don't care how upfront a vanity is about their business. I don't consider vanity published authors to be published authors. Not to demean them, or devalue their work, but since anyone with a manuscript and extra cash can have their books printed, it just isn't the same to me as someone who's gone through revisions, queries, rejections, and then acceptances. It took me a long time and a lot of hard work to get that first acceptance. Vanity published books may be just as good as commercially published books, but to me, they are not equal.

So, if I add this group to my MySpace, what does that say about me? Does it matter? Does it look like I am endorsing them, and if so, does that matter? I don't know. Maybe I'm a snob, maybe I'm an elitist, but I don't want my name out there, possible entwined with a vanity press that I've never heard of, and aside from the brief peek through their site, know nothing about. It just doesn't sit quite right with me. And, when I popped over to Preditors & Editors, I see they have a "Not Recommended" notation beside their company.

So, what is it? Am I right to be concerned, or am I worrying about nothing?

3 comments:

Marian said...

I don't consider vanity published authors to be published authors. Not to demean them, or devalue their work, but since anyone with a manuscript and extra cash can have their books printed, it just isn't the same to me as someone who's gone through revisions, queries, rejections, and then acceptances.

IMO, Kim, there should be no need for explanations here. Who would you (generic you) prefer as your doctor - someone who worked hard for her degree in medicine or someone who sent a check to a diploma mill?

It's possible that the second person loves medicine too, but how do you know that when he or she didn't study and work for years to achieve the degree? It's possible that the second person may know how how to splint your broken bone, but will you take a risk on that when that person hasn't gone through the usual screening and evaluation processes that test capability in this regard?

It's not demeaning to point out that there are certain ways in which we, as the consumers, gain some assurance of quality. With vanity publishing or diploma mills, those ways aren't in place or don't apply.

Sassee B said...

No, you're right to worry. I wouldn't friend them for the reasons you mentioned.

Kim said...

Oh good... it's so nice to know I'm not being a snob - or y'all are just as bad as I am =)

The doctor analogy is a good one. And very accurate.

I rejected the request... Thanks! =)