|Q: Do first time authors always have to spend or invest some money to get their first book published?
Your cost should be limited to the money and time spent querying publishers and sending out sample outlines or chapters for consideration. A publisher who is interested should cover the cost of printing, marketing and distributing the book.
If you have gotten a response from a publisher who has asked you to contribute to, or cover, the cost of printing, you’ve reached a “vanity press”. They will basically act as a printing service to create copies of your book. This is more like self-publishing than it is like working with a mainstream publishing house because you are shouldering the financial burden and will probably have to do your own marketing to help the book sell. These companies generally will list your book in their catalog and in some promotional material, but will not give your book much individual attention.
I would advise against working with a “vanity press” unless you’ve exhausted all avenues with mainstream publishers and have decided against self-publishing. 10:11/95