Let’s say you are in an author’s group and ten other authors adore and love a vanity press set up by the sister of one of the authors. This sister charges reasonable prices, has an amazing group of illustrators, and is a wiz with formatting. She gives the author all the passwords to log into their own admin areas on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and other sites to be able to generate their sales reports any time they want. She gives the author all the source files for both the book and the cover so the author is protected even in case the publisher goes bankrupt and vanishes.
I would be quite happy with this setup. The author has the source files – they can make updates any time they wish, by using the admin areas. The author is not being “held hostage” in any way. They can reformat. They can fix typos. They can add more content.
This would be an ideal vanity press situation. The author could ask for more help if they wanted it. If they author was satisfied with what they had, there would be no more demands for money or withholding of files.
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