You can’t go anywhere online right now without hearing about Simon & Schuster and their partnership with Author Solutions, a vanity publishing company with a pretty shitty reputation. This doesn’t surprise me at all. Big publishers are desperate right now to stay relevant to the modern author, and they don’t really get it. Old school publishers never do. I learned this while working for a newspaper. It’s either adapt or die, and unfortunately many publishers’ mindset is that they’re right and everyone else is wrong. Too bad. Still, the options many companies offer to self-publishers can seem too good to be true. As a rule of thumb, it probably is. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to tell. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.