The Telemachus Press Blog

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Telemachus Press is a “work for hire” author services company — a new delivery model in the publishing world that stands fully apart from the the traditional publishing houses and the realm of the vanity press. To better understand where we fit in the publishing world, neither a traditional house nor a vanity press, authors, agents and publishers need to open their minds to a new and exciting avenue for both new authors and for authors bringing back traditionally published material that had gone out of print.

Historically, a hopeful author who had not been successful in either directly getting the attention of a publisher or landing a literary agent, might consider approaching a vanity press to have some number of books printed for personal distribution. This approach was only available to authors with significant resource as it was easy to spend $10,000 to $20,000 on a short run of books. At the same time, the traditional publishing world was still a tightly controlled funnel guarded by literary agents with divine powers selecting authors based upon one page query letters. Given the track record of these very same agents at picking winners, these heavenly bestowed powers have always seemed questionable. Irrespective of the mechanism employed, one truism remains. Only good books sell in numbers of any significance.

The advent of print-on-demand and eBooks has upset this dichotomy. A third path has become available that is neither fish nor fowl. New, and some not so new, authors can now make their works available to the masses with but a small expenditure. And, I’m not talking about a run of several hundred books. This new supply chain from writer to reader makes their work available to millions of people. The marketplace, not an agent now determines commerciality. That same truism mentioned above is alive and well – only good books sell in numbers of any significance. This new channel is nothing but a tool allowing the marketplace to examine a work, and if well received, blogs (new age word of mouth, and reviews hoist the work to a place of prominence).

Given this, is the self-publishing author services company like John Locke’s publisher, Telemachus Press, a vanity press. No. Mr. Locke did not need $20,000 to print a short run of books. His investment was much less and that found in an arena where many, many authors can participate. Mr. Locke simply availed himself of a new tool, a new model. He maintained control over his work from pricing to cover art to promotion. His is a world of hard work, not vanity. But most importantly, he writes really good books.

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John Locke
# John Locke
Saturday, April 30, 2011 4:39 PM
Telemachus a Vanity Press? Really?

“When you throw dirt, you lose ground.”

Except in the publishing business. In the publishing business, when you throw dirt, it sticks!

The phrase “vanity publishing” was almost certainly invented by traditional publishers many years ago in order to squash the competition from entrepreneurial authors. It worked. By ridiculing and publicly shaming self-published authors for daring to invest in their own talents and abilities, publishing houses were able to elevate themselves to god-like status. And amazingly, it worked for many years. And still works, to some degree.

What they’re saying, when an author believes in his abilities to the extent he is willing to invest his own money to publish a novel, he is writing purely for his own vanity!

I have to give credit to the geniuses who came up with this hogwash, because publishing is the only business in the world that has managed to make such a ridiculous notion seem plausible.

When I invested my own money to start my insurance agency no one accused me of making a vanity investment. When I invested my own money to buy a life insurance company no one called it a vanity investment. When I paid cash for my first office building, planning to lease it out for a profit, no one accused me of making a vanity investment. When Bill Gates and Paul Allen invested their time and money into developing code for the Altair computer, no one accused them of writing vanity code.

But if Bill Gates or Paul Allen invest their own money to write a book, they’re no longer businessmen, they’re vain! And any company that charges them to publish that book is catering to their vanity? How absurd is that!

And how interesting that a publisher such as Telemachus Press, that provides an honest, competent, affordable, turn-key opportunity that allows author-entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams, while letting them keep 100% of their profits, is labeled a “vanity” publisher!

It’s laughable. And reporters who perpetuate the notion should re-think the premise.

Many years ago the publishing industry managed to crush and humiliate men and women who dreamed of writing and selling their books to the public. They created the false impression that the only standard of quality in writing is for someone else to invest in your startup in return for a percentage of future profits. You might as well claim I am less of an investor because I don’t ask or require other people to fund my real estate investments! How is it that self-publishing is the only business where self-funding is considered undignified?

If Telemachus Press truly is a vanity press, I want to publicly thank them for catering to my vanity! And I hope the nearly one million vanity readers who purchased my books feel the same way!