Since Beth had such awesome news (applause) this week, I thought I would talk about publishers. There are some great websites that help you filter out the bad ones from the good ones. I don't mean the big houses versus smaller presses. Independent presses can be just as sparkly as the New York giants. But there are nasty people out there who prey on writers so you have to do your homework. Learn how to spot cons and scammers at Preditors and Editors. Also, check out Writer Beware.
Here's a great site that defines the many different types of publishing. Traditional, subsidy, vanity, and a few others.
Here's two types of publishing you may want to steer clear of:
1. Vanity Presses. These are "publishers" that you pay to publisher your work. This is not how the game is played. People should pay you for your work.
With vanity publishing, the author will pay to have their book published. Since the author is paying to have the book published the book should not have to go through an approval process as it would in a traditional setting where the publisher is taking a financial risk on the author's ability to write successfully. Editing and formatting services may or may not be offered, and they may come with the initial publishing fee (or more correctly, printing fee) or might be at an additional cost.
2. Print on Demand. Same concept, only the trick is you don't pay much up front. You pay to have each book printed. Then you go door to door to sell them. Not cost effective.
Print on demand (POD) is a printing technology and business process in which new copies of a book (or other document) are not printed until an order has been received.POD fuels a new category of publishing (or printing) company that offers services directly to authors who wish to self-publish, usually for a fee. These services generally include printing and shipping a book each time one is ordered, handling royalties and getting listings in online bookstores. The initial investment for POD services is usually less expensive for small quantities of books when compared with self-publishing that uses print runs. Often other services are offered as well: formatting, proof reading and editing, and so on. Such companies typically do not spend their own money on marketing, unlike traditional publishers.
And for a laugh, read J.A. Konrath's experience with POD