Today, it has become more and more difficult for new authors to publish with the traditional publishing companies. If an author does not have a previously established platform, then the likelihood of getting the manuscript onto an editor’s desk greatly decreases. The barriers surrounding traditional publishing have grown incredibly high, leading authors to self-publishing, and the hopes of either building their platforms or striking a hit. However, self-publishing leaves everything up to the author, including the investment costs and marketing. Self-published books will never see the light of a bookstore as well, losing a huge portion of the market. Also, it becomes difficult for readers to sift through all of the self-published books on websites like Amazon, making it even more difficult for a single author to receive any exposure without a heavy marketing initiative.
Thankfully, new authors with a strong will to have their work published now have a third option: hybrid publishers. What is a hybrid publisher? According to She Writes Press creator, Brooke Warner, SWP is “author-subsidized, which is where the similarity to self-publishing ends.” SWP is modeled on a traditional press, with a “strict vetting process” and also offers traditional distribution. At She Writes Press, authors receive the attention they need so that they feel confident that their work, indeed, is good enough for publication. Warner says about hybrid publishing, “This middle ground is fast growing, and its popularity stems from savvy aspiring authors who realize that in order to publish well, they need to have a team in place who know about books and knows how to navigate the industry.”
According to Forbes, most hybrid publishers only offer small advances to their authors, if any at all. Only giving small advances, or none, allows these hybrid publishers “to price their books more aggressively to gain market share without losing money. In return, authors earn higher royalties which are paid monthly and are reportedly more transparent than standard big 5 publishing contracts.” Also, most hybrid publishers do not charge their authors to publish, giving them a “marketable advantage against self-publishing or so-called ‘partner publishing’ where an author pays all of the upfront costs.”
Hybrid publishers only have a few salaried employees as well, meaning that more money can go into offering authors what they need. The low cost and entrepreneurial structures of hybrid publishers allows them to mimic self-publishing companies while also creating greater resources such as agile marketing. Since an author is expected to go to a hybrid publisher with a mostly publishable manuscript and a general idea of a marketing plan, the hybrid publishers can churn out each book in less than four to six weeks. All a hybrid publisher has to do is fine-tune the manuscript, if needed, and take the guiding reins on the marketing plan. According to Forbes, “Hybrid publishers may have a persistent advantage [when it comes to marketing] because not only are they natively speedy, but they also attract like-minded authors. They draw in self-published authors looking to expand their footprint, many of whom are used to putting out multiple books in a year. They also appeal to traditional authors looking for more control and higher royalties who are already savvy in marketing books.”
What does the future hold for hybrid publishers? Are they simply self-publishing companies with a fancy name, or will they accomplish something for new authors that wouldn’t otherwise be possible? Brooke Warner, creator of She Writes Press says, ” I firmly believe in author meritocracy, and that outstanding books should be published. First-time authors need a chance, but the new reality is that authors today must take a chance on themselves. Hybrid publishing makes this possible, and gives authors a sense of confidence, knowing that there are professionals backing them to publication and beyond. The polarization of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing is waning, and as more authors move to hybrid publishing as a first choice, this third way will be the future.”
Original content from Forbes and Publishers Weekly.