The term "vanity press" is quickly going out of date -- it has far less to do today with ego or self-gratification than it does with practicality and an awareness of conditions in the publishing industry. Over the years, it's been exciting and encouraging to hear about many authors who have built successful careers and followings based on work that has been self-published. Once upon a time, self-publishing was considered a last resort, but now there are many advantages to this enterprise even though your work won't be attached to one of the big, laureled New York City firms. I recently talked to Jim Rossi, an L.A. Times book reviewer I worked with on many occasions, about his decision to decline a legit publisher's offer in favor of going the self-publication route. Jim's explanation is candid and insightful, and, if you happen to be a writer struggling to find a publisher, his solution might appeal to you.
Our conversation will appear at Call of the Siren once the upcoming U.S. holiday is over. (Sorry for the tease. I'm just too busy right now stockpiling firecrackers and skyrockets!)
Until then, I'd like to whet your appetite for that conversation with a contrarian view in this embedded article by James McGrath Morris at The Santa Fe New Mexican, "Ebooks Econ 101: Cheaper is not always better." Morris is enlightening on the downsides of ebook publishing in particular, although the arguments contained in his article don't necessarily negate the choices that Rossi has made ... or that you might make one day,my friends.