What's the difference between vanity publishing and self-publishing?

Old-style 'vanity' publishers are likely to assure you that your writing is wonderful, even if it isn't, just to get you to sign up to an often expensive publishing deal. They often masquerade as traditional or mainstream publishers. They may charge many thousands of pounds for high quality production, but the books delivered are frequently poorly produced with sub-standard cover design and inexpert typesetting.

Writers are rightly wary of vanity presses and many choose to sidestep its pitfalls by self-publishing. Self-publishing is a fast-growing phenomenon whereby a writer decides to get their book out into the marketplace by doing everything themselves. And that really does mean everything. To truly 'self-publish' a writer must set up their own publishing company, buy a number of ISBNs and begin to produce their own books - becoming editor, typesetter, proofreader, book cover designer, project manager, publishing administrator, printer, promoter, bookseller and customer service representative... Some writers juggle these roles successfully, especially if they have a flair for design and/or marketing. However, many of the criticisms levelled at self-published books (that they're poorly edited, badly designed and amateurish) may be because it takes training and experience to become good at just one of these roles. Attempting to attain professional levels in all of them just isn't practical. Besides, many writers don't want to learn all these skills, or coordinate and manage a team of professionals to do it for them. They just want to write - which is where SilverWood's Empowered Publishing comes in.

SilverWood's Empowered Publishing isn't true self-publishing (although we do help a number of self-publishers who bring their own ISBNs to us) and it definitely isn't vanity publishing either. It's more akin to what you can expect from a mainstream publisher - a small professional team will take you through the publishing process from submission to book delivery and beyond, with open and transparent pricing structures and aftercare that includes sales fulfilment, stock storage and maintenance, invoicing, accounting and regular payments to the author.

Empowered Publishing offers you the freedom to get on with what you enjoy: your writing.

We charge a fair price for professional publishing services, and we only tell you that your writing is wonderful if it really is. If it isn't, we'll let you know as sensitively and constructively as we can and encourage you to join a writing group, find an editorial mentor, or work with us to improve your manuscript. This is because our business model works by selling books; there's no mileage for us in producing books that aren't any good because they're unlikely to find a market.

We aim to produce high quality books that writers can be proud of and readers can enjoy - beautiful books to give, to read, to treasure - and we're building a reputation for doing just that. Many of our authors come back to us time and again to publish other books, which is the sort of endorsement that makes us excited and proud.

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“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins