I know that you need an agent to communicate publishing with big guys like Random House etc.

However, I also know that money can buy almost everything and surely can buy publishing of a book.

Maybe a vanity publisher will be an option.

So, my question is: If I have enough money and give it to the vanity publisher, how much will they ask for publishing a fictional hardcover book that contains 500 pages including corrections, proofreading, cover design etc. and distribute it on the US market?

What are price ranges for this goal? Can it be done with a $50,000 budget or do I need $100,000 or $500,000 or even more?

I would like to sell this book in all the big supermarkets, bookstores, Amazon and also as an ebook.

And I am sure you are curious about my motivation. Well, let's say I have a personal reason for that.

Also I don't want to publish it via CreateSpace or Lulu, because I want different/better paper quality, books size, promotion/exposure and reach all major bookstores except other things.

Thanks for any names or contact to good and reliable vanity publishers that are capable of what I have described above.

  • 6
    I don't have time for a full response right now, but no reasonable amount of money can buy widespread distribution. You can pay for editing, cover design, printing, etc., but getting your book into the big box stores requires a distribution network, and that's not something you can just buy. Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 20:40
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    Also, no big-name publishers with established distribution networks will simply publish books for money. That's what makes them different from vanity presses: they have to maintain some kind of reputation for quality, and the only way to be published by them is through an editor. Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 20:50
  • This may be a duplicate of writers.stackexchange.com/questions/845/…? ; at any rate, the answers there will be helpful. See also writers.stackexchange.com/questions/5982/… , which is a similar question, except proposing to "hire" a literary agent, not a publisher.
    – Standback
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 22:05
  • OK, I have updated my answer to "vanity publishers" to be more clear. Btw. I do not care about other authors opinion neither the fact that I have to pay all expenses. As I have mentioned earlier I have personal/health-related reasons to go this way.
    – Derfder
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 6:26
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    This question, although it betrays a lack of knowledge about how publishing works, is a surprisingly good one in that it's a very basic question. I don't think it's a duplicate of the questions @Standback mentioned, although I agree the answers to those questions will be helpful. Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 17:20

3 Answers 3


There are a couple of problems in answering your question. The first has to do with finding a reputable vanity publisher who can and will successfully distribute your book to the big books stores you appear to desire. Unfortunately, pretty much all vanity publishers have a bad reputation, and that fact alone has resulted in pretty much all big name book stores refusing to stock any books they publish. It doesn't really matter how good your book might be, the bad reputation of the vanity publishers will prevent the book stores from taking a chance and trying to stock your book.

The second problem is the actual process of getting your book into the book stores. Just like the big name publishers, the big name book stores have a reputation to uphold. They have to be very selective about which books they stock, because they not only have to protect their reputation, they also have to actually sell books, which is more important. They rely on the big name publishers to select the books most likely to sell, and they are much less likely to take a chance on a new and unproven writer.

Quite frankly, I agree with John Smithers that your best option may be to self-publish your book. If you are willing to spend that much money, then you should be able to accomplish your goals by going with self-publishing. If your book picks up a following and you can prove that people are interested in it, then every book store will want to carry it, even if it is self-published. Not only that, but you may find that some of the big name publishers are willing to take a chance on it as well.

Bottom line, you need to write a great book. Then it is up to you to decide whether to go through an agent to get it published traditionally or just handle all of that yourself. Ultimately, you have to prove yourself to someone, whether it is an agent, an editor, or the fan base you build through self-publishing.

  • OK, thanks. However, could you be a little more concrete and put some names.urls of that vanity publishers taht have bad reputation? Because, it seems to me like "my brother heard that from..." you know, it sounds to me like a mystification. Don't get me wrong but I like facts and numbers. So, please, provide names of that companies. if possible and you know them. Thanks in advance.
    – Derfder
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 16:51
  • Sorry, but I can't name any that are still in business. About ten years ago I was looking at vanity publishers for a project, but the more I looked into them the more discouraged I became. With my marketing background and my own self-publishing experiences I would be willing to bet I could do a better job than a vanity press. Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 17:41
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    @Derfder While not an exhaustive list, there may be some information to be gleaned from sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/vanity
    – Vatine
    Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 14:04

well-established vanity publishers

That's an oxymoron and your problem. Vanity publishers are not well established. Bookstores avoid vanity publishers like the pope satanic masses.

A vanity press tells you they distribute your book for money, but honestly, why should they care about your book after you have paid them? The only one who cares about distributing your book is you (and a normal publishers who pays you for the right to publish your book).

As far as I see it, the solution to your problem is the thing you do not want: CreateSpace. If you become your own publisher and use this (or a similar) service to make your book available, you can sell it to the bookstores. You can get into the lists from which bookstores order their book. So you are creating your own "vanity" publishing house, but you run it like a real publisher.

Of course this is a lot of work and I guess you can find people and pay them to do the work. Nonetheless you have to coordinate and supervise it. Again, only you care about your book.

To learn about how to be your own publisher I recommend reading how others have already done it.

  • Do you know any vanity publishers? Have you worked with any? And if yes, with whom did you work? I was asking "Which " and not "Why". I am looking for facts. I am not interesting in opinion if this is the right way of publishing books. You might be surprised, but I have read a lot about POD. So, to make it short, please, provide some relevant URL links or Names of vanity publishers, whom I can send an email to ask more. If you have personal experience, you can answer the second part of my question, how much does it cost and if 50k, 100k or 500k is enough for the things I have described.
    – Derfder
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 10:25

Where are you based? US, UK, Australia? This will help with providing you with some answers. Also this article may steer you away from some vanity publishers. http://www.mbspress.com/new-articlepage-7/

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