Paying to get published does not make me a bad writer.

I have decided to go with the publisher who rang me only last Saturday evening (17th August). This is after days of indecision, sleepless nights, numerous calls with the publisher, e-mails galore with the lead of the writers’ group I have belonged to for 4 years, much trawling through the internet and speaking with a couple of the authors in the publisher’s list.

The reason why the decision has been so hard is because I am paying £755 up front.

I can hear the screams of “Nooooooooooooooooooo!” and the mantra “Authors should never, ever pay a publisher” resounding around the country.

I absolutely understand why vanity publishers are reviled and spat on. But The Conrad Press is not a vanity publisher. If it has to be pigeon-holed, then it is a hybrid-publisher – that is, somewhere between a traditional publisher and self-publishing. A definition of a hybrid publisher is:

  • Hybrid publishers must set forth a vision to follow for their company.
  • Submissions must be reviewed, in order to not be classified as a vanity press, submissions need to be vetted.
  • The publisher must publish as its own defined imprint and request its own ISBNs.
  • Hybrid publishers must meet the standards and best practices set out by the publishing industry.
  • The quality of the production (design and printing) and editorial services must be up to industry standards.
  • The hybrid publisher must manage the rights of the works they publish as well as any subsequent rights that are acquired, and work for find additional rights to sell for their authors.
  • Manage distribution services or hire a distributor for the works.
  • Hybrid publishers need to report reputable sales on the titles they publish.
  • Authors who sign with hybrid publishers must be paid a higher royalty than that of standard traditional publisher rates (see royalty payment).

I know I am lucky to have the money but let’s face it, most writers need a shed-load of luck to get published. I have great faith in my novel and just want it out there so that people can enjoy it. Is that too much to ask? Does it make me a bad writer because I am willing to put some money where my mouth is? I think not.

In my eyes I am paying TCP for a service, which is to get a cover professionally designed (they use Charlotte Mouncey), edit the book (he has already made some suggestions, nothing major but small things to make it a better book), getting the book onto world-wide ebook sales sites, getting the book ready for publication and distribution (ISBN number etc) and all the things a traditional publisher does.

What TCP don’t do is take over the rights. This allays many of the concerns I had about the possibility of making a bad decision and then being stuck with it. I can, if I so desire, walk away at any time. I hope I don’t ever feel I want to.

The revenue split is good and does comply with the %s mentioned in a few of the articles I have read.

I am sure there are lot’s of horror stories of authors being suckered in, sending their money and never seeing a page of their book, but I have already received an e-mail that is sent out to all of the TCP authors on a regular basis, and there are 72 e-mail addresses.  They can’t all be gullible fools can they?

I have no expectations of me now sitting back and TCP doing everything for me. I am already doing a lot of marketing and promotion for my first novel, “The Jewel Garden,” and I intend to do as much for “Song of the Nightingale,” if not more. Once I retire (2 months to go) I intend to submerge myself in the world of books and all things literary,  and I am very hopeful that I can work with TCP in order to make this happen.

And it occurs to me that when someone picks up a book and flicks through it to see if they want to buy it they most certainly do not know or care how it came to be published or whether the author made a contribution.

So, I have made my decision, and I am extremely happy with it. I may indeed have made a bad decision (it won’t be the worst I’ve ever made, my exes can vouch for that) but I feel happy and excited.

So, please be excited with me. “Song of the Nightingale” is going to be published!!!!!


5 thoughts on “Paying to get published does not make me a bad writer.

  1. Mandy Fitzpatrick says:

    Well done Marilyn, it sounds like a brave step, but I’m sure it is the right one. Given your previous book I’m surprised a publisher didn’t pick it up, but what do I know?!


  2. Ralph Wigg says:

    My first novel, ‘The Ghosts of Becket Lane’ is not due for publication until April, but my experience with James & The Conrad Press so far bears out everything you say.


  3. kathblessan says:

    Thanks for sharing, Marilyn. I came across your blog trying to ascertain whether The Conrad Press were a good publisher to try. I’ve been trying to avoid the self-publishing route, mainly because of the costs involved, but after 43 agency submissions, I’m starting to think self-publishing / hybrid is the way to go. I don’t think you should be overly apologetic about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. David Farren says:

    I am in the process of getting my second book published thanks to James and the Conrad Press. As an inexperienced writer I approached dozens of agents and those who bothered to reply after about 8 weeks politely declined. I understand their reaction because as an unknown I would be unlikely to produce any profit for them. I would say that authors should be very careful because there are some questionable companies out there. I was originally offered publication for a price in excess of £4000. Thank goodness I was broke!! Although I did originally feel as though I was in the headmaster’s office, James has proved to be a great help with many wise words and valuable advice.


    • That’s good to hear, David. I have a couple if books with literary agent but she hasn’t managed to find a publisher after 18 months. I don’t really want to go back to James – I can’t afford it and I find his attitude very stressful! Which books are yours? I’ll take a look at them.


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