It’s easy to understand how naïve writers are sometimes parted from their cash. Times are hard. This we know. So, when a publisher claims that print sales are not what they were, and that most publishers are struggling just to stay afloat, it’s easy to stretch that into believing that publishers could bring out just a few more titles each year if only they could share a little of the upfront investment—in return for which they’d be happy to share the resulting profits.
After all, why should the publisher shoulder all the risk? Shouldn’t the writer invest a little something too? By subsidising the cost of publishing their own book, or by taking part in the cooperative publication of their book, a writer will end up with their book in their hands which wouldn't otherwise have been published.
They will also be several hundreds of pounds poorer, because both these schemes are disguises for vanity presses, and don’t represent any sort of publishing credit. Their books are highly unlikely to be stocked by any real bookshop (online bookshops are another thing entirely). And they’ll be lucky if they sell even a hundred copies in the end.
Writers invest their time in the books that they write, and should not invest their money too. They take their share of the risk when they write their work. It’s a publisher’s job to pay for publication and if none are prepared to buy a particular book, then it’s because the book just isn’t good enough to sell.