Is hybrid publishing right for you? In between self publishing and being traditionally published is the hidden gem of hybrid publishing. At in a previous Women In Publishing Summit, we sat down with Brooke Warner the founder of She Writes Press, a hybrid publishing house and asked her to explain some of the finer details of this publishing model.

What Is Hybrid Publishing?

Hybrid publishing has become a catch-all term for the type of publishing that is found in the gray zone between self publishing and being traditionally published. She Writes Press vets their projects, charges a publishing fee, offers higher royalties and has traditional distribution. Some hybrid publishing houses might not have traditional distribution or charge a fee. There are different models that fall within hybrid publishing, making it important to research and understand the publishing before you made a decision.

Who Is Hybrid Publishing For?

Hybrid publishing is a great fit for an author who has a great book but lacks the platform that most traditional publishing houses require. One of the things a traditional publishing house wants to know is that they’ll be able to sell your book and therefore consider your author platform when they decide if they’d like to work with you. The look to see if you’ve got a website, active social media channels with followers, an email list, a podcast or have a Ted Talk under your belt.

I mean, someone could easily come to us and say, ‘I have a really great book, I have no social media presence, no website, no anything’ and what we do is we assess the book, if in fact they do have a great book, then we also offer an opportunity to build platform, because a book builds a platform,” says Brooke.

What It Is Like To Work With A Hybrid Publishing House?

This is how the process of working with a hybrid house works at She Writes Press. Their submission process is different than a traditional house where a book is submitted to an editor or agent who has to consider the size of your author platform, if your book is right for their list or if they already have something similar. If you get a “no” from them, that’s it.

When a manuscript comes in, you’re assigned a project manager who shepherds the book through the process. They give their authors a one page assessment providing feedback; if it’s publish ready, if it needs a copy edit, if it needs developmental editing or coaching. When you work with a hybrid, you’ll receive a lot of support, feedback, education and perhaps even some hand holding if necessary.

A hybrid also handles the data and distribution of the book and will be able to advise you on how to handle publicity for your book. Some hybrids offer in house publicity and some do not, however they’ll be able to advise you on how to spend marketing dollars for your book (or not). “It really depends on if the book is a legacy project and what the author’s goals are. However, the more publicity you have behind your book, the more we can push distribution,” says Brooke.

What Is The Benefit To Hybrid Publishing Over Self Publishing?

One of the biggest benefits to working with a hybrid house is that they may have access to distribution the way that traditional publishing houses do, making it easier to get your book into bookstores.

Additionally, self-published authors don’t qualify for traditional reviews published in places such as Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and Library Journal. These reviews really carry a lot of weight and a good review will contribute to sales, especially from libraries.  

What is The Benefit To Hybrid Publishing Over Traditional Publishing?

There are many benefits to choosing hybrid publishing over traditional, but we have three favorites. Remember that each hybrid house follows their own model so this may vary a bit depending on who you’re working with.

  1. You’re likely to have more creative control over your book and be able to be part of the decision process when it comes to book cover design and interior design.
  2. You don’t have to wait to build your author platform before you publish your book. You can work on both at the same time.
  3. You’ll receive feedback, education and experience more collaboration than working with a traditional house.

Hybrid publishing is a great next step for someone who has already self published a book and is ready to publish another, someone who doesn’t yet have an author platform but has a great book they’d like to publish or for someone who wants additional feedback or control in their book’s process. To learn more about which publishing model is right for you, check out the Publishers’ Panel from the 2019 Women in Publishing Summit. 

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