We welcome direct submissions though we prefer a reputable agent present your work to us. It is your responsibility to determine if an agent meets that standard. Predators and Editors, http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/, might be able to assist you in that search.
We will try hard to courteous at all times. However, we're only human. Please forgive us any violation of that code of conduct. We expect similar professional behavior from you. We will afford you the same level of forgiveness. After all, in a business environment we are exposing opinions, not necessarily facts. We respect your opinion; please respect ours.
Our staff is too small to be be able to deal with prima donas unless you are the next Mark Twain or Jane Austen or Shakespeare or good enough to be readily recognized by one name. In that case, we will grovel properly and dedicate someone to attend to your every whim.
We are a traditional publisher. Almost anyway. The author pays nothing up front. Unfortunately, our bank account prevents us from offering advances on books we contract. We pay royalties after the first one hundred sales and after the third sale each quarter.
Publishing with VPP does incur some costs for the author. That appears to be normal in the industry. The author has to be instrumental in generating sales. A business plan must accompany every submission. The author is responsible for the execution of that plan. We expect the author to contact media outlets in the target area to gain exposure. It is incumbent upon the author to hold book signings and attend relevant literary event at the author's expense. The author may wish to engage a publicist.