Alexandra from Manchester told me she was delighted to have her crime novel accepted for publication, but was later asked for a considerable contribution towards the costs. She asked: Is this normal in today’s tight economic climate? I have been assured that this isn’t a vanity publishing venture.
Sadly, all too often authors get caught out by vanity publishers who are posing as traditional publishing houses. Sometimes unwary authors are encouraged by a vanity publisher's praise of the work submitted – we all want to hear that ours is the manuscript that has somehow made it beyond the slush pile and into publishing heaven. This is what vanity publishers rely on.
Such publishers refer to their business model by a variety of names, including partnership, joint venture and subsidy publishers. But the bottom line is this, if you are charged anything towards the costs of publishing your book - you are using a vanity publisher, even if they assure you that their business model isn't vanity publishing.
If you decide to self-publish, there are many reputable companies who charge reasonable rates, but they are upfront about the fact that they are not traditional publishers. If a company hides the fees until after the manuscript has been accepted – say thank you, but no thanks.