Is Page Publishing a Vanity Press?

page publishing logoIt’s not often you see commercial on cable TV for a book publisher. Advertising space is expensive, and most non-Big 5 publishers can’t afford it. So when an advert from Page Publishing showed up on the History Channel, I took notice; especially since it was rather long. I jotted down the name and decided to do some research. Inquiring minds wanted to know! What they were touting seemed a little curious to me.

Page Publishing was easy to find on Google. Once on their website, you get the feeling like you’re looking at a glitzy New York publisher — which they seem to be. They spent a lot of money on the site which has plenty of things to look at. I was interested in their process, so I clicked on the overview tab. Everything looked above-board. They offer copy-editing and proofing, typesetting, conversion to eBook, marketing, and publicity, along with distribution and royalty management. Everything a budding author could dream of. They will even send you a box of books for your first signings and to give to family. This at least is better than what some vanity publishers offer. When I was first published with a vanity press, they didn’t even edit my manuscript! And when a box of books I’d purchased got lost in media mail, the publisher would not replace them. Yes, I learned the hard way.

Everything Page Publishing had on their site sounded too good, there had to be a catch. So I ordered their author packet which arrived about a week later. I also received email from one of their literary development agents making sure I got the information and offering to answer any questions. On their website and also in the packet there is mention of “a minimal investment” on the author’s part. How minimal? The agent replied that they need $3,200.00 in total, but required $295.00 up front, the rest spread out over ten months of payments.  He also stated they take twenty cents on each book sold — deducting that when the author’s initial investment has been repaid via royalties. At this point I was thinking they are clearly trying to give the author an optimistic outlook. Those of us who have spent time in the publishing world know that it’s nearly impossible to make a profit on a first book. So the author would be bearing the full cost of publishing their own book.

He also went on to say they receive over 8,000 manuscripts a month, choosing to accept a miniscule amount of them, and are proud to be working with “promising but unknown authors.” That left me scratching my head on how a company can afford a New York City address, TV commercials, a snazzy website, and glossy promotional packets. They are part of the BBB, ABA, BCA (Business Consumer Alliance), and support local charities. Are they that successful? They publish a wide variety of genres from children’s books to non-fiction and inform authors that their books will be put in the Ingram catalog so brick and mortar stores can order it. But they do not say your book will be distributed to stores and stocked. They will also publish eBooks to Amazon, BN, Google Play, and iTunes.

Since much of this sounded too good to be true, and their website seemed lacking in overall merit, I wanted to do more research to see if this was a scam. I Googled “Page Publishing Scam” and found numerous hits. I read 5-6 of them and the majority of them were warning authors to stay away because the company wants you to pay thousands of dollars to get your book published.

My overall feeling about Page Publishing is that they are a large vanity press with strings attached. No, they will not accept any ol’ book; they do have a vetting process. If selected, a manuscript will, supposedly, at least receive proper treatment of editing, formatting, and cover design. But, you as the author are still responsible for a substantial upfront payment. I worked with one gentleman who had used a vanity press and he said it cost him $10,000 to have his book published! So, if you’re an author with money to burn, and little time on your hands to actually go through the publishing process, then maybe Page Publishing might interest you. Just remember, Indies can do everything they do – and for a lot less.

Author: K. Rowe

K. Rowe is an experienced and prolific multi-genre author. She draws from over twenty years of active Air Force service. Kathy lives in eastern Kentucky with her husband and a zoo of farm animals. Among her many duties she finds time to offer services as a publishing consultant for new authors. Learn more about Kathy from Facebook, and her Amazon author page.

14 thoughts on “Is Page Publishing a Vanity Press?”

  1. Yep, this has all the earmarks of a predatory vanity press. the only difference between this and the offer I was hooked into in 2009 with iUniverse is the ‘vetting”. I’d bet that they tell each author that sends them a manuscript that their book ‘passed’ the vetting process.

    1. Thinking you’re right on the vetting. And I’ve had them call and email me several times to “pursue” my inquiry.

  2. Yep, a scam. A well-capitalized, glitzy scam. Would be fascinating to see who owns it. Perhaps one of the big bad vanity presses has realized that their brand is tarnished and is moving on to another one. This is what people who specialize in fraud do on a pretty routine basis. (Not to mention, anyone who thinks the stuff they present on The History Channel is actually history is already the perfect gullible audience.)

  3. I went with pagepublishing on my first book, because like you, I saw their ad on TV and was taken in too. Well, I learned after a few thousand dollars later they were no different than any other press out there trying to get you hooked. If you have the money to throw away, go on ahead, but know that they are not that different from iuniverse or vanity press, or ect.

    1. Ouch! Sorry to hear you got sucked in. My first experience wasn’t with them, but it still cost me plenty of $$. Indie is the way to go!

  4. I’d love to see what their “marketing” plan is. I would bet it is basically nonexistent. I believe that all publishers will be going this route if they have not yet converted. Even the big houses will have to do this. They are still making money on well known authors but they will not live forever.

    1. From what I’ve been hearing, there’s really no marketing plans anymore unless you’re a HUGELY famous author with a big following already. For those of us who are mid to lower list, it’s pretty much all on us to market our books.

    1. Any company that wants $$$ up front is out to get you. Always do research and take time to explore different options. Having been taken once, I vowed not to be taken again and spent over a year learning the publishing process. I’m glad to say it was worth it- and I’ve even established a small client base in which I help with their publishing needs. I don’t make much money off the process, but I’m happy to help authors get their work in print and THEY can make all the profits from their hard work.

  5. Sounds like vanity (or worse) to me. My company, Escarpment Press, is essentially a vanity press, but we make no phony promises as to sales, etc. We also don’t charge anything like that to publish a book. We are essentially a publishing consulting company that primarily offers those who wish to self publish the services necessary to do so. We will occasionally publish a book under our imprint, but, even then, the author receives 100% of royalties, and is paid directly by the physical publisher of the book. We are only paid for the work we do along the way to actually publishing the book. Most of our authors end up paying between $1,000-$1,500 for a paperback and Ebook.

  6. Page Publishing looks to me pretty much like your standard vanity press, Predators and Editors simply list them as a vanity publishers. If it looks like a mule and it makes a sound somewhere between a heehaw and a whinny the chances are it’s a mule.

    Thanks for placing another one on the radar, Kathy.

    1. Yeah, first time I saw it I was scratching my head and saying: “something’s not right with this.”

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