Why I am a Hybrid Publisher

Published: November 13, 2017

If you’re looking for a publisher, what are your options?

You can try to land a deal with a traditional publisher like Penguin Random House or HarperCollins. If you get one, you’re very, very lucky.

On the other hand, you can try to publish yourself. Yes, you’ll be able to get your book on Amazon, but there’s a big downside to self-publishing:  Most self-published authors sell only a handful of books to family and friends. It could be because most self-published writers do not get the professional design and editing help they need to create a high-quality book. Or because they cannot get their books onto the shelves of physical bookstores. Or because no one knows their book even exists.

It’s not a good choice. That’s why a new kind of publisher has emerged – hybrid publishing.

Hybrid publishers resemble traditional publishers in some ways and self-publishers in others.

Barlow Books is a good example:

Like traditional publishers:
  • Barlow Books is careful of whom we want to publish. We work with authors who are committed to excellence in their work and are willing to work with our fine writers and editors, all of whom work with the big traditional publishing houses.
  • Barlow works with top designers to make sure the covers not only reflect the author’s brand but help to sell the book in bookstores.
  • Barlow gets books into bookstores in Canada and the U.S. because we have deals with great sales and distribution companies in both countries. We work closely with Georgetown Publications in Canada and Midpoint Trade Books in the U.S., and with PR, to give the sales reps the best chance of pitching stores like Indigo and Barnes & Noble. This gives authors the chance to sell more books than they would if they were selling only on Amazon.
  • We work with authors after their book comes out to help them get media coverage, which in turns helps to sell more books.
Like self-publishing:

We ask authors to pay for their books up front.

At Barlow, authors pay for all services. In return, they get 100% of the revenues from the sale of books.

It’s not new. As She Writes Press Publisher Brooke Warner notes, traditional publishers, ask some of their authors to pay costs. They’re just not open about it.

She Writes is a great example of a hybrid publisher, and Warner says the advantage of the hybrid is that authors keep control of their project; they’re partners with the publisher. However, as she says, it’s unlikely they’ll recoup all their costs from the sale of the book.

I agree with Brooke. However, the author’s return on investment doesn’t stop with book sales. Our authors say they get more speaking gigs and new clients as a result of publishing a book. Many of our authors are on a mission, and they’re seeking to spread the news about something important. When they get terrific media coverage, as most of our authors have, it helps.

If you want to read more about the different versions of hybrid publishing, check out these articles by Brooke Warner and Jane Friedman:

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