I want to talk about some confusing terms. Intentionally confusing. Hybrid writers vs. hybrid publishers.
In the 2000s when self publishing came into its own, some writers who had been traditionally published found that switching to self publishing could be very lucrative. Some stuck with traditional publishing new work, but self published their back lists. Some started in self publishing and then chose to publish traditionally later.
These writers who chose to traditionally publish some work and self publish other work became known as hybrid writers. Hybrid writers use traditional publishing to build a large, wide audience, and then maximize their income via self publishing.
Being a hybrid writer is, by and large, a good choice. Not surprisingly, when asked about their publishing goals, writers commonly say “I want to hybrid publish.”
And that’s where the confusion starts to creep in.
Hybrid publishing is a publishing model where the writer “shares” publishing expenses with the publisher. It is also called partner publishing and contribution-based publishing. In exchange for chipping in on the upfront costs, the writer gets higher-than-industry-standard royalties.
Sounds great, right?
Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, the amount the writer has to chip in is WAY overpriced. These companies sometimes charge more than the straight up vanity publishers. In my opinion, the upfront cost for hybrid publishing makes even the “reputable” companies nothing more than high-end vanity publishing.
It’s easy to see where writers can get confused and misled. Being a hybrid writer is a good thing; hybrid publishers are, more often than not, pay-to-play vanity publishers.
So frustrating, you might say. Why didn’t the hybrid publishers simply choose a different name?
Because they WANT to mislead writers who don’t know better. They only benefit from the confusion.