Tag Archives: Vanity press

Latest and Greatest Hits: Top Grossing Posts from Praeter Naturam

How amazingly self-indulgent of me, but I thought Sunday would be a good day for reflecting on some of the blog posts created over the last month that have also drawn the most hits over the last month, so here they are the top five!

  1. Review of Iain Banks iPhone App – way out in front this one, I think it did particularly well on the search engines and also got picked up by some Iain Banks forums.
  2. New Info on Surface Detail by Iain Banks from his iPhone App – a post so heavily related to this month’s number 1 they could almost be twins!
  3. Feedbook distribution seems to be bringing in the readers – and this post certainly brought in a bit of traffic too!
  4. Blurred Lines Between Vanity Publishing and Self Publishing – self-publishing is always a popular topic I guess.
  5. Hard-Luck Diggings: The Early Jack Vance – I’m pleased that this book has got some publicity from my blog, it sounds like a great title.

Which post did you enjoy most?

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Blurred Lines Between Vanity Publishing and Self Publishing

I came across a science fiction book recently in WH Smith that I thought sounded interesting. I didn’t want to buy it, but I thought I might record the title  and author and read it sometime in the future. I happened to find it in my public library a week ago, so I borrowed and took it home to read.

The production values seemed OK and it looked professional. But I didn’t know the name of the publisher. (I won’t name the book, author or publisher). I started reading. The prologue and introductory material was a bit tedious, and then I started the first chapter. The subject matter was OK and probably quite fascinating, but the style was what I would consider poor. Lots of passive sentences, cliched expressions, and long winded sentences with inappropriate subordinate clauses. All things that a good critique group would have helped the author pick up on and resolve.

I could see that this would be a real struggle to read so I decided to give up on it. I am fairly strict in not persevering with books that don’t at least hold my interest or have some sort of quality about them.

Then I wondered a bit about who the publisher was so I looked them up.

They didn’t say they were a vanity publisher or that they helped authors who wanted to self-publish, but they did go on about how they could provide design and production services, so I do wonder if they were really a vanity publisher in disguise. I suspect that the book had been given a nice production treatment, but had not been vetted editorially and probably only proof-read and not edited for style.

I’m not sure how it got into WH Smith though. A good effort on the part of the author I suspect. But I wonder if he would have benefited as well from some honest feedback at a writers’ circle or online critique group?

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