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Hybrid Publishing: Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know

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  • February 6, 2024
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  • 7 min read


Hybrid publishing combines traditional and doing it yourself, giving writers a special way to share their books. It lets writers have more control and possibly earn more money while still getting some help like they would from a regular publishing house. This type of publishing is great for authors who want to be deeply involved in making and selling their books but don’t want to do everything independently.

In this guide, we’ll explain all you need to understand about hybrid publishing: what it is, the good things about it, the problems you might face, and how it’s different from other ways to publish books. Whether you’re just starting to write or have been writing for a while, learning about hybrid publishing might give you new ideas on how to get your book out there.

What is hybrid publishing?

Hybrid publishing is a relatively new model in the book publishing services industry that combines aspects of traditional publishing and self-publishing.

This publishing model emerged in the early 2000s with new technologies and changes in the publishing landscape. Some authors saw Traditional publishing as too restrictive, while self-publishing required authors to handle all the tasks of publishing a book themselves. It aimed to strike a balance between the two models.

In this publishing model, the author pays the publisher to provide some services to help publish their book while retaining more creative control and rights than traditional publishing. The author handles some tasks themselves, too, like marketing. The publisher’s services help make the book more polished and professional than a self-published book.

So, in short, it provides authors with more services than pure self-publishing, but authors retain more rights and control than traditional publishing. The author and publisher share the risks and rewards. While traditional publishers handle everything from editing to distribution, hybrid publishers offer custom services “a la carte” so authors can choose what level of help they want.

 How Hybrid Publishing Works

Here’s an overview of how this publishing process works and the key players involved:

The author writes and submits their manuscript to a hybrid publisher. Like a traditional publisher, the publisher provides book editing services and design, printing, distribution, marketing, and promotion services. Still, the author pays for these services upfront, like a self-published author.

After the manuscript is submitted, it goes through rounds of editing by the publisher’s editors to refine and polish the work. The publisher handles interior layout and cover design, converting the manuscript into print-ready files.

For printing, the publisher makes arrangements with printers and handles the logistics of printing physical copies. The finished books are then warehoused, and the publisher handles order fulfilment.

The publisher gets the books into sales channels beyond what an author could access for distribution. This includes bookstores, libraries, online retailers, etc. The publisher handles wholesalers, sales reps, and retailers.

The publisher also conducts marketing and promotion to raise awareness of the book. This includes sending review copies, organizing book tours/appearances, and running advertisements.

The key difference from traditional publishing is the author pays the publisher for these production, distribution, and marketing services upfront. The author then earns royalties on book sales. Unlike self-publishing, where the author handles everything themselves, the publisher provides expertise and saves the author time. However, the author retains control and ownership of their intellectual property.

 Pros of Hybrid Publishing

Hybrid publishing gives authors more control over the process than traditional publishing. Some of the main advantages of this publishing method include:

· Control over the publishing process:

With it, authors typically choose the publishing package they want and retain control over important publishing decisions like the title, cover design, and release timing. Authors work closely with their hybrid publisher, like Book Writing Founders, instead of handing the manuscript over like traditional publishing.

· Higher royalties:

Whereas traditional publishers typically offer 1015% royalties, hybrid publishers generally offer higher royalty rates averaging around 50%. However, royalties vary widely by publisher.

· Retain rights:

Hybrid publishers usually let authors retain the rights to their intellectual property. This means authors can more easily release new editions, publish overseas, create derivative works, and take their books with them if they switch publishers. Traditional publishing often requires signing over copyright.

 Cons of Hybrid Publishing

Hybrid publishing requires more upfront investment from the author compared to traditional publishing. While the author may not pay for editing, design, and printing like with self-publishing, costs are still involved.

· Upfront Costs:

Depending on the services included, the author typically pays an upfront fee to the hybrid publisher, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. This covers some production and other fixed publishing costs and marketing efforts. Even with this fee, the author may need to pay for marketing beyond what the publisher provides.

· Ongoing Marketing Effort:

The author must be heavily involved in ongoing marketing and promotion for their book, more so than traditional publishing. The hybrid publisher will do some marketing, but the author must drive most of it through their platform and networks. This takes substantial time, effort, and sometimes money invested into advertising.

Is hybrid publishing right for me?

When deciding if hybrid publishing is the right choice, take time to reflect on your goals as an author, budget, expertise, and preferences regarding rights:

· Assessing your goals

What are your aspirations for publishing your book? Do you want to reach the widest possible readership or have a career as a professional author? This publishing model can help you gain exposure and credibility, though a traditional publisher may provide more marketing support.

Are you willing to be patient and invest time and effort in promoting your book? With it you take on much of the marketing responsibilities.

Is your priority to retain creative control over your work? Hybrid lets you keep control while benefiting from professional services like the book-writing founders.

· Considering your budget

Hybrid publishing requires a financial investment upfront and ongoing. Typical costs are $3,000$15,000+ for editing, design, and distribution. Factor in your ability to spend.

Do you have funds allocated for marketing and promotion? With it, you need to drive book sales yourself. Budget for advertising, publicists, etc.

· Evaluating your expertise

Are you prepared to project manage all aspects of publishing? This publishing model requires you to coordinate editors, designers, etc.

How confident are you in your skills for promotion and marketing? Hybrid authors need dedication to connect with readers. Experience is a plus.

Do you understand the publishing process? If not, be prepared to research and learn while publishing.


So, we’ve explored what hybrid publishing is and the good and not-so-good things about it. Remember, it’s a mix of traditional publishing and doing it all yourself. This means you have more freedom to decide about your book, and you might earn more money from sales. But, you will also need to put in more work and some of your money upfront.

No one way of publishing is perfect for everyone. Traditional, self-publishing and hybrid publishing have benefits and challenges. The best choice will depend on your goals as an author, the kind of book you’re writing, and how you want to share it with readers.

Understanding this publishing model just gives you one more option. If you like having more control over your work and earning more money but still want some help, then hybrid publishing might be worth considering. So, keep exploring, learning, and writing. In the end, you want to choose the publishing route that is the best fit for you and your book.

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