Don't Pay to Self-Publish

This post by J.A. Konrath originally appeared on his A Newbie’s Guide To Publishing on 11/23/14.

My name is Joe Konrath, and I write fiction.

I’ve sold over a million books by self-publishing.

You probably were searching for “how to self-publish” or something similar and my blog came up.

This post for all newbie writers considering self-publishing. While it would be extremely helpful to you to take a week and read my entire blog to get a full understanding of how the publishing industry works, here’s the most important thing you need to know:


Now you can certainly pay people to help you publish. Freelancers such as editors, cover artists, book formatters, proofreaders, and so on.

But when you hire a freelancer to assist you, you keep your rights.

That’s very important.

When you write something, you own the copyright. That’s automatic, even if you don’t register with the copyright office.

Copyright means exactly that; you have the right to copy it, to distribute it, to give it away, to sell it. You own those rights.

But if you pay someone to publish you, you GIVE THEM YOUR RIGHTS.


There are many publishers, called vanity presses, that exist to prey on writers who don’t know any better. These presses are sometimes part of big, recognizable publishers, and it’s easy to be tricked into thinking that if you pay hundreds, or thousands, of dollars, you’ll be published by a major press.

The truth is, major presses PAY THE AUTHOR, not the other way around.

I have sold books to major publishers, and was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, and then I had to hire lawyers to get those books back so I could self-publish them. Because I make 10x as much money self-publishing as I did by selling my rights to publishers.

If you are looking to get a publisher, do your research.

Check out David Gaughran, Writer Beware, and Preditors & Editors. They have a lot of information about publishers you should avoid.

Learn all you can about vanity presses. Don’t get suckered in.

Ask questions. Seek answers. And DON’T PAY ANYONE TO PUBLISH YOU.

Now some Q&A.

Q: I saw an ad for a publisher. Are they legit?


Read the full post on A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.


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