Just to clarify…

logobasicLeg Iron Books is not a ‘vanity publisher’.

I don’t have my own printing press, I can’t get onto the bookshelves at Tesco or Asda, I don’t have a marketing department and I can’t take out full page ads in magazines. The entire company is just me with a few helpers now and then when it all gets too much. I am not Random House.


I only thought of becoming a publisher a year ago this month. So far there are four books in the catalogue, two more in active preparation and a backlog of submissions. I think I’m not doing too bad for a one man band. Hover over ‘Leg Iron Books’ in the menu bar and you should get a drop down list. It’s new, and developing, but it’s started.

I know there is an ongoing feud between one of my authors and another blogger. I’m not totally insular, I do read other blogs even though I don’t comment much these days. Starting a new business tends to take up a lot of time.

The feud is nothing to do with me so I won’t name either party. I really don’t have time to get involved in that.  However, I don’t appreciate hints that I might be a vanity publisher. That’s a good way to kill this fledgling business before it even learns to fly. It’s also a good way to get me to use up my limited resources on legal action and I really don’t want to pay lawyers. They could clean me out in no time.

So, to clarify.

There is ‘self publishing’. I’ve done that with the short story books because it’s tough to get a publisher interested in those kinds of books. That’s where the writer does all the work but cost, these days, can be zero. If anyone fancies having a go, I’m happy to show them how.

Downsides of self publishing are that you have to do all your own editing, proofreading and cover art. The editing and proofreading of your own work is really hard because you tend to see what you think you wrote, not what you did write, and reading your own work over and over is beyond tedious. But it can be done, and it can be done with no money at all.

There is ‘vanity publishing’ where you pay someone to publish your stuff. You pay for editing and cover art and they make you a book. They sell you that book, they do no promotion, nothing, just what you’re willing to pay for. That is not what Leg Iron Books does.

The author is the originator of the product. As a publisher, the authors are the suppliers of the raw material for my business. What business charges a supplier for delivering their raw materials? Only a business that is a pure con trick.

I never charge any author anything. You will never get a bill from me for anything at all. I can spend a lot of time editing your book and currently I do that before you sign anything. I take the risk that you might take the edited manuscript and self-publish it without signing a contract. No matter what, I will never charge for editing.

If I get caught out that way I might go for a contract signed before I do any work on the book but still, it won’t cost you anything. So far, I work on the trust that after editing you’ll agree to a contract. So far, it’s worked. If I use someone else to do the editing and they want payment, it’s my problem, not yours.

If you have your own cover art, great. If not, I will find some or make some for you. Copyright on cover art belongs to the artist – if I make it myself, it costs you nothing. If I get someone else to do it, I pay them, not you.

No reputable publisher ever charges an author for anything at all. Never. Not ever. I take your stories and put the effort into getting them in print and eBooks in the hope I’ll make a profit on the deal. The profit comes from sales, not authors. Authors do not pay. Authors earn. That’s how it works – except for vanity publishers. They make money from writers, not readers. I’m doing it the right way. It might leave me broke (again!) but I’ll do it the right way anyway.

Here’s how it works. If you contribute to a short story anthology, I make a one-off payment in cash or books. All the editing and formatting and cover art is my problem. You pay nothing. I make a one-off payment because there are going to be a lot of anthologies and splitting royalties between lots of authors is a pain – especially as I price those anthologies at the bare minimum. They are a promotional tool, not an income generator. The main point is, I pay you to be in them. You do not pay me.

Copyright on shorts remains with the author at all times. You can re-sell or re-publish that story anywhere you like. It does not become ‘mine’, I’m just paying for permission to use it once in one anthology.

If you send in a novel we will have a five year contract in which we split the profit 50/50. There will be profit on every sale. It might be pennies but it will never be zero. I neither want nor need to get into the higher rate tax bracket so one day, if there are enough books making enough money, I will reduce my percentage across the board. But for now, it’s 50/50.

At the end of the contract you can sign a new one or tell me to piss off and send your book to one of the big boys or publish it yourself. Five years, fixed. After that I have no hold on you. Copyright remains with the author throughout, the contract only gives me an exclusive until it ends.

Okay, we won’t be in the bestseller lists for a while. Leg Iron Books is one year old this month and publishes unknown authors. Nobody has heard of any of us. That will change.

I will never ask any author for money for any service. I will bust a gut to get a story edited and proofread and published and you will never pay me a penny. Every book sale will get you a share. No exceptions. Even the one I buy for my own library (and I’ll get a copy of every one of them) will get you a royalty payment.

So, you decide. Is this ‘vanity publishing’?

If you think it is, you are free to go elsewhere.

Just try not to slander me, okay?

17 thoughts on “Just to clarify…

  1. Backing Leggy up here 101% (the 1% is my royalty… ;> )

    I have ENORMOUS admiration/respect for what he’s doing. I went through HELL ‘n HEREAFTER just self-publishing two of my own books. If someone wanted me to prepare and publish one of theirs I’d charge at LEAST $5,000 to cover the pain of jumping through all the various hoops again. Hopefully they’d find someone cheaper and spare me! LOL!

    Traditionally, if you had “The World’s Greatest Novel” sitting next to your typewriter next to 117 rejection slips from regular publishers, you would go to a “vanity publisher.” They would charge you something like, $2500 and “give” you 20 copies of your book “for free.” If you wanted more copies you’d pay them 15% or so under face value (and face values were usually pretty high.)

    Meanwhile, the fine print in some (most?) of their contracts gave pretty much full rights/ownership to them. If perchance you DID produce the next “Chicken Soup For The Soul” or whatever and Random House wanted to buy limited publishing rights for $5,000,000 … well, that money would go to the vanity publisher: not to YOU! And if they decided that slaughtering chickens was immoral, they could re-write and re-publish your book as “Rutabaga Soup Of The Soul” and that’s what it would be.

    I never submitted Brains to a publisher back in 2003 for three main reasons:

    1) It was a time-sensitive book. It *NEEDED* to get out and get reviewed widely by early 2004 to have a real political effect, and the traditional publisher submission process could easily have dragged on for years and years for a first-time odd-niche-market author. ::sigh:: God laughed at my plan and sent my hundred+ review copies to the NSA or the dead-letter office because at “over 13 ounces” apiece they were deemed a possible threat to National Security and (without any proof of it unfortunately) a postmistress opened a damaged copy and evidently didn’t like what she saw. Long, sad story that cost me the better part of $2,000 in printing/mailing all for nothing… and I didn’t have backup funding for another massive review mailing (Plus I didn’t KNOW what had happened to it until months after the publication date — at which point respectable reviewers won’t touch most books.)

    2) Due to the nature of the book I figured that if a publisher DID think it was worthwhile, there was at least a 15% or so chance they’d be a strong enough Antismoker or have enough influential antismoking clients that they’d simply agree to publish, maybe even pay me nicely… and then just sit on it. Bam. Dead in the water. I wouldn’t be able to publish it anywhere in any form without severe legal problems.

    3) I wanted to be able to balance the money I made from sales with the ability to give out free or cheap copies where they’d be most helpful: something I’d have had a much harder time doing with traditional publishers.

    Sooo… I went the self-pub route, and learned in the trenches a taste of what Leg’s now going through. And doing it a second time, in 2013 for TNacht, wasn’t much easier.

    WTG Leg! Wish you the best, and if I ever write a THIRD book… guess how I’m going to get it published? LOL!


    Liked by 4 people

  2. I dunno if I would be so quick to toss the “vanity plates”…on the LegIron’s personal McLaren F1 just yet. I mean…LIEFF1…that’s a cool vanity plate to have. Has a “The Cake Is A Lie” kinda ring to it. (Assuming you ever played, or are familiar with, the video game called “Portal”)

    I read that first book. It’s pretty good. Maybe the mud-slinging is indicative of an “IFF Indicator” in the cockpit malfunctioning? IFF = Identify Friend or Foe.

    I recently added a third and fourth option to my personal IFF indicator that I use in everyday life.

    This is simply for my reading, and learning that if pilots in battle have the wrong/incorrect IFF frequency, or their IFF system is malfunctioning, and cannot be identified as a friendly? You are identified as a foe…period. “Unknown” helps me immensely. Being able to shut it off completely helps also.

    /me shrugs

    I doubt your efforts have been a piece of cake. So…have some. 😉

    BTW, I've heard of you. Thanks for the book. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sorry to change subject but at long last the fake scientists have had to admit diesel is the real evil and is a much bigger danger as far as lung cancer is concerned. That may be progress although it’ll take time to permeate the hordes.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I know there is an ongoing feud between one of my authors and another blogger.

    To be fair, there isn’t a feud. More a disagreement that got a bit out of hand. That said, the reference to vanity publishing is odd to say the least; given that it’s entirely irrelevant. And, I suspect, the business model has been overtaken by the ease of self-publishing with print on demand via the Internet. Do any vanity publishers still exist? I came across them in the nineties when I first tried to publish Ransom. I made the decision not to publish rather than go through those charlatans.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Downsides of self publishing are that you have to do all your own editing, proofreading and cover art. The editing and proofreading of your own work is really hard because you tend to see what you think you wrote, not what you did write, and reading your own work over and over is beyond tedious. But it can be done, and it can be done with no money at all.

    Oh, God, tell me about it. Ransom went through three editing phases with me doing it and I picked up loads of little errors. Then you went through and picked up more, then during the final phase I picked up another couple. The point you made about narrative past tense completely passed me by when I did the original proof reading. So, no, I wouldn’t self-publish unless I had access to an independent pair of eyes holding a red editing pen.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You achieved your ambition. I set my mind to opening a microbrewery a year ago. I am now, since January, a micro brewer with expanding sales and reorders coming in. Demand id pretty good I just have to brew a lot more!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I do hope neither you didn’t take the article over at my place as a criticism or an indication that your operation was vanity publishing. This was certainly not my intention.

    As regards any ‘feud’ that’s not the case my end. I’m always happy to agree to disagree with anyone. They’re entitled to their opinions as I am mine.

    I sincerely wish both you and Longrider the best best of luck with your latest efforts and hope they do well for you both.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thankyou for that. But why even mention vanity publishing? It’s not relevant as Leggy isn’t doing it and I’m not publishing via one.

      I am well aware of their exploitative nature. I was in my early teens when I responded to an advertisement for poetry and received a request for money to publish my work. My parents explained what was going on. So, er, no warnings needed on that score, I’ve known about them for over forty years.

      So, like I said, why mention it?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Tend to see what you think you’ve written? Oh, yeah. My first book had many self-proofs & still errors snuck through. Some of it I got around by rolling out slowly, giving many copies away to FB people with request they watch for typos. You can upload revised manuscripts indefinitely. Best wishes on your venture

    Liked by 1 person

    • With my own, I get a couple of ‘proof’ copies printed and handed out. Most people prefer to be able to hold a book when looking for faults.

      Once it has an ISBN number it’s not so easy to make changes – I’d rather have it right first time 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Missive From ‘Merica: Bowled Over… – Library of Libraries

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