Friday, October 19, 2018

What, if anything, is "Hybrid Publishing"

"Hybrid Publishing"* is a term I see bandied around a lot these days. Generally speaking it is being applied to any company that represents itself as combining the features of trade publishing and self-publishing.

(*This is completely distinct from the idea of a "hybrid author" who publishes both indie and trade books--but I have some thoughts about that too).

I don't really accept that definition because the one feature most commonly present is charging the author a fee, either directly or by a function such as requiring that they purchase or sell a set number of books before receiving any royalties.

Charging the author a fee is not a conventional part of either trade or indie publishing.  It is a feature of vanity publishing which is another creature entirely. No matter how nicely or euphemistically you try to phrase it, hybrid publishing is wholly within the category of vanity publishing for this reason.

Whether publishing in this manner might work for you remains a matter of individual analysis.  Many hybrid publishers are just as undesirable as the worst vanity publishers, others may be worth considering for certain unique situations.

“Hybrid publishing is a middle-ground between traditional and self-publishing in which the author pays for some of the services.” 


However, I do think the existing definition of the term needs to be challenged, as I think it is simply not true that hybrid publishing occupies some metaphoric middle ground.  Hybrid publishing is within the fence of vanity publishing (by this or some other name).

“Hybrid publishing is publishing that is financially subsidized by the author but may (or may not) offer advantages to the author such as quality standards, favorable brand identity, or enhanced profitability with high volume sales. However this model puts the author at greater risk of financial loss.” 

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