Vanity Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

March 12, 2021

Finished writing a book that you just can’t wait to see on the shelves (virtual or otherwise)? You’ve got an undoubtedly exciting journey ahead of you; however, you might also have hundreds of questions about it and little idea of where to look for the answers. How do you publish a book? Is self-publishing worth it? What about vanity publishing? At Rowanvale Books, we’re here to help guide you through these questions so you make the right decisions for your book, and this article is a great place to start! 



What is Vanity Publishing? 


Vanity publishing is the process by which a publishing house is paid by an author to publish and release their book. It differs from self-publishing a book in that the publishing house will take responsibility for much of the creative side of the process. A vanity press will usually publish any book that a writer pays it to.  

Pros and Cons of Vanity Publishing:


One perceived advantage of vanity publishing is that these companies will have the knowledge and experience to provide a quick and easy publishing process. While this may sometimes be the case, often they are simply aiming to churn out as many books as possible while charging the highest price they can get away with; hardly the journey you had in mind for you book when you first put pen to paper.  


If the only thing you care about is seeing a finished copy of your book, and you have enough funds behind you, then vanity publishing can achieve just that. And it often really is just that.


Their marketing tends to assume a ‘one size fits all’ strategy, and despite having some connections with bigger-name retailers, selling with them will come at an extra cost. Particularly if your book fits into a more niche genre, you’ll likely find it difficult to use a vanity publishing company as a way to start earning from your work. 



What is Self-Publishing? 


Self-publishing a book means that you, the author, have full creative control over the process and are ultimately responsible for making the decisions. Self-publishing companies, such as Rowanvale Books, are often hired by authors to help with this process and provide the skills and know-how to create and market the finished product you have in mind.  


Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing:


Self-publishing costs may initially put you off of the process and make it easily confused with vanity publishing. The difference lies in the fact that vanity publishers are aiming at those who are so desperate to publish their book that they can charge high fees while also taking the rights to the work. This is not the case when you self-publish a book.


At Rowanvale Books, we publish books by authors who we truly believe in, and offer flexible options so you’re only paying for the service that you need. If you’re already a marketing whiz, for example, then why should you be expected to pay someone else to do that for you? 


A lack of industry experience can also be pretty terrifying when putting your work out there, especially if it’s your first time! Choosing the right self-publishing company to help you is crucial in making sure you feel supported the whole way. Because of the fact that you hold the creative control and rights over the book, the team at Rowanvale ensures that you’re constantly learning throughout the process rather than just taking over for you. We offer services from editing and pre-publishing to marketing and aftercare, meaning that once you’ve published your first book with us, you’ll be fully equipped to do it all again in the future! 

The biggest advantage that comes with self-publishing has been hinted at throughout this article: the fact that your work remains exactly that. Your work.


Authors are 100% in control of the rights to their book. With Rowanvale Books you are free, at any point, to take you book and publish in another way or with other people.


If you have a clear vision of your finished book, we will allow you to achieve that. If you don’t, we have a team of passionate and talented individuals who will guide you. Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain and E.L. James all started their journeys by self-publishing. If they can do it, so can you!


While you’re here, why not check out a few more of our blog posts here.  Alternatively, if you’re interested in the services we offer, our plethora of packages can be found here and our Frequently Asked Questions can be found here. Can’t find an answer? Not to worry! Feel free to contact us at or call us on 029 2128 0200 where we are more than happy to answer any other questions.

Get in Touch

Learn more in our free publishing guide, which gives you a more detailed look at the process, or by speaking to one of our publishing consultants, who would be happy to walk you through all the details you need to begin the process.
“When I found Rowanvale, they seemed like the perfect publishing house for me and my books, almost like it was too good to be true! But they really are everything they say they are.”

– D. Bishop
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