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Hybrid Publishers

What is hybrid publishing? I've heard it's a cross between traditional and self-publishing - but still don't quite understand what this means, or how viable a hybrid publishing company is.

Asked by: Karen Clark

  1. Jonathan Hopkins on July 30, 2019

    I'd be very wary. The majority of publishers, of any type, would expect you to approach them rather than 'cold-calling' for business which is basically what happened to you. I keep getting calls from Authorhouse because once, many years ago, I went on their website when I was looking at publishing options.

    It's possible to self-publish relatively cheaply, though you must do most of the work yourself. That means all the editing (you're better spending money on a decent editor than on anything else, even though I've self-edited two), formatting (relatively straightforward), blurb-writing (horrible job) and cover designing (feasible with modern software but you have to be wary, though even my trad-publisher used one of my photographs as the cover). Of course you can pay to have all this done by one company or several specialists, the later perhaps being the better option.

    I think the main attraction of a publisher is the expectation that they may promote your book so they actually sell some, the hardest thing of all to achieve with a self-pub. I reality my experience so far is this is a pretty vain hope and you'll still need to do most of this yourself.

    I wouldn't pay any money to one of these 'publishers' unless they can provide a cost breakdown of all the necessary stages, and what they propose to do by way of exposing your book to an audience.

    Best of luck.

  2. Karen Clark on July 29, 2019

    I was approached by a hybrid publishers on the LinkedIn site, asking me to submit my manuscript to them. They told me they liked it, and have offered me a publishing contract on a contributory basis, where the fee I would pay would be a few thousand pounds; they said they would pay the other half of the fee. Does this sound above board to you, or should I be wary?

  3. Jonathan Hopkins on July 18, 2019

    Basically they publish traditionally, which means they'll make you an offer for your manuscript and agree a contract paying you a commission on sales. You do no more (in theory) than provide the MS. BUT alternatively, they may offer to publish your work on a contributory basis ie. you pay for editing, formatting, cover design, etc. They'll then print it and pay you a commission on any sales.

    The problem here is twofold. Traditional publishing puts almost all risk on the publisher, so they're likely to work pretty hard on sales to at least recoup their original investment. Contributory publishing leaves almost all risk in the writer's lap, whilst allowing him or her negligible control over the publishing process in most cases.

    That's a poor bargain, in my view.


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