Should You Publish With a Hybrid Publisher?

The Pros and Cons

Love Her, Love Her Not - Hillary Book covers
Hybrid publishers span the traditional publishing and self-publishing gap. Joanne Bamberger

Hybrid publishers offer an alternative to traditional and self-publishing models that might be a good fit for some authors. 

Traditional publishers put up a higher-than-ever bar to entry due to the changing book publishing marketplace and increased pressure on the bottom line. And while the emergence of digital book production and book distribution technologies have made it much easier for an author to get his or her writing out into the marketplace (and as one bookseller put it), self-publishing is not a field of dreams — "if you write it, they will come." On average, self-published authors sell less than 200 copies of their books.

Enter the hybrid publisher to bridge the gap. 

About Hybrid Publishers

There are a number of different hybrid publishing models, but what most have in common is that they provide some factors of a traditional publisher (brand identification, some consultation and marketing) with some of the DIY elements of self-publishing (control over product, out-of-pocket expenses, more of the theoretic profits). 

Authors who would potentially do well with a hybrid publishing model are similar to those who might be considering self-publishing. Some examples are:

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Publishers

Whether you find each of these "pros" or "cons" depends on your priorities and on what publishing options are open to you.

But here are some things to think about when you're deciding if a hybrid publisher is right for you:

  • Like traditional publishers (and unlike self-publishing services), hybrid publishers have a vested financial interest in your book's success. Whether it's a royalty arrangement or shared costs / shared profits, they get a direct benefit from book sales.
  • Select their books with some care to fit well into their lists — they do not accept just any manuscript.
  • May offer a level of authority and legitimacy over self-publishing (depends on publisher)
  • Have a "brand" to target specific audiences . Whether it's Entangled digital-only full-range of genre romance titles or SheWrites female-driven social platform, they ideally exploit their Internet presence to find their readers. 
  • Offer moral support — they generally do have staffs with faces and names and some knowledge of book publishing.
  • Do not pay advances against royalties as traditional publishers do.
  • Are lean and keep their overhead low, and so do not provide the same level of editorial or marketing or book PR support a traditional publisher does. To get that you may incur significant out-of-pocket costs.
  • Can advise you on vetted and transparent lists of capable freelance editors, publicists, etc. to get you the outside help you need (rather than paying for the sometimes questionable talent offered by self-publishing services).
  • Might not garner your traditional book review coverage, association memberships or award consideration. Publishers who don't pay book advances often lumped in with self-publishing services in these arenas.

If you are considering publishing with a hybrid, take care to research each publisher individually for fit and terms.

If you thought this information was useful, check out the wealth of advice on how to publish your book from a fellow writer and Book Publishing Expert Valerie Peterson