I ran across a site a few weeks back that said writers write to get paid. This is not always the goal of writers though. Some write for the sake of spreading a message. Monetary benefit is a secondary benefit. Who am I talking about? I'm talking about those who write about things that affect nations of people. I'm talking about nonfiction and Christian literature.
I believe that writers need to always be honest with themselves. I write under 3 pseudonyms that I won't mention here. Still, my first 2 books were published by a vanity house. It wasn't until my third book that I was ready to pursue a relationship with a traditional, independent publisher. Now, with 4 books on the market, all under various names, I've worked my way up to getting advances and selling my writing. In fact, the latest manuscript I wrote was welcomed at Living Waters Publishing Company and I was awarded with a nice advance. However, this is going to be my second book with them. The first one, which I signed with them about two months ago, received a minimal 10% royalty rate. I got no advance.
My point is this: writers are being duped on two sides of the fence. On one side, there are greedy vanity presses who charge authors thousands of dollars without any measurable results for their books. On the other side, there are those authors who tell them that paying anyone to publish their books is ALWAYS a ripoff, that every publisher who accepts money is a scam or a fraud. There is a middle ground. There are publishers who can make life easier for those who have not honestly learned enough or don't have the capability to pursue Random, S&S, Zondervan and more.
Please look at my list of publishing houses that offer great services, even though they may actually charge you for those services. These are publishers who offer some marketing, editing, or other services. Don't allow someone who has a writing career already to stop you from pursuing yours the best way available to you!