If you want to publish your book using a print-on-demand publisher, then there is definitely nothing wrong with that. This is a really good business model when it comes to self-publishing. It allows for authors to publish their books in print format without having to spend a ton of money up front on investment that may not come to light. It is only been available for the past decade or so, and if you haven’t looked into print-on-demand lately, you might be surprised just how easy and affordable it is to do. But the one thing that you do want to stay away from when it comes to print-on-demand, after countless hours of writing a book and making a book outline is the vanity publisher.
Once you know what to look for, vanity publishers are pretty easy to recognize. They start out by listing all of the things that they are going to take care of for you and making it sound like they are offering an incredible deal. For example, they may include the cover, editing, marketing and printing 100 or so copies of your book. They have various packages that start out the very basic for a few hundred dollars all the way up to premium packages for thousands of dollars.
But when you start looking into these vanity publishers and what they actually offer, their covers all come from templates that people have used over and over again and do not fit your book or look professional designed by an illustrator and the editing that they offer is simply an enhanced automated spell check through something like Grammarly.
In addition, they are going to be charging you way more for each printed book that you receive that you will be expected to sell yourself then you could if you went through a regular print-on-demand company. A 300 page book at a print-on-demand company like CreateSpace would likely cost around four dollars to print. A vanity publisher will charge you much more than that they will lump it all into the package price and hide the fact.
They may claim to do marketing as well, but this is rarely more than just simply listing the book on their website so that it is for sale along with all of the other print-on-demand vanity books that they provide.
What you have to remember is that you do not need a vanity publisher to self-publish using print-on-demand. In fact, you could technically self-publish a book using a print on-demand model that cost absolutely nothing at all to you personally. You would then make money every time somebody bought the book. Of course, there are some things that you might want to consider spending money on that actually do make sense such as getting a graphic design professional to create an amazing cover or doing marketing on websites that readers go to so you can sell more books. But the last place that you should ever go for print-on-demand is a vanity publisher.