Hybrid is a form of publishing that mixes elements of traditional and self-publishing. The hybrid space is slightly stigmatized because there’s not a universally held belief stating exactly what it is. Furthermore, the author usually pays for some or all services in return for higher royalty rates. This has led to the assertion by many that hybrid publishing is the same as vanity publishing. The hybrid model challenges black-and-white thinkers because it is a highly flexible combination of publishing models. It used to be simple: there was traditional publishing and self-publishing. That is no longer the case.
As easy as it is to discredit a hybrid publisher as a vanity press, the key difference is that a hybrid publisher has a submission process, and have editorial and creative standards. They will not simply publish something in order to get paid. Their reputation is based on quality. The reason an increasing number of authors are actively choosing to go with the hybrid model is so they can have more control over their work. The author invests in their book project, and then they keep the bulk of their profits, rather than giving away the vast majority or virtually all of them. Authors that take the hybrid publishing route retain creative ownership and are treated more like partners than a paid-for-commodity.
Hybrid publishing is designed to champion the author’s work in the short and long-term. Traditional publishers essentially own the author and their rights in exchange for an advance or another short-term offering. For the right amount of money paid to the author up front and a fair deal on rights and royalties, traditional publishing is still a viable option. If an author has a big name and some negotiating power, it may even favor them. But large book advances are becoming rarer and rarer. The hybrid model treats the author like an entrepreneur. The publisher provides the services and is paid for their time, while the author reaps the rewards. Check out our next blog piece to learn more about different type of hybrid publishing.