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The whispers about hybrid publishing have become loud roars as authors flock to it as a viable publishing option, but what is it? On the latest episode of All Things Book Marketing, Anne MacDonald from hybrid publisher Indigo River Publishing joins the podcast to answer frequently asked questions about hybrid publishing. Let’s dive in…
What is hybrid publishing and what is the difference from self publishing and traditional publishing?
Hybrid publishing has undergone a lot of changes from what it once was to what it is now. Essentially, hybrid publishing is a middle ground between self publishing and traditional publishing. With self publishing, the author is responsible for absolutely everything – from sourcing an editor to a book cover designer, and so on. They can sink a lot of money into these services, and sometimes those vendors don’t work out. There are also a lot of pieces to the publishing and literary world that a self published author might not know without additional education and a guiding hand. Traditional publishers, at the opposite end of the spectrum, do everything for an author. However, the author tends to lose a lot of creative control when they work through a traditional publisher. With hybrid publishing, the author gets the best of both worlds: they get to work with publishing professionals and have a team behind them, while also still being a very active part of the process. Hybrid publishing is also a much quicker process than the traditional publishing route. For our company, you just go onto our website and submit. We review every submission and respond to each one within one to two weeks. It’s a very quick turn around time compared to waiting many months to hear back from a traditional publisher – and even then, often the answer is “no.”
Is there a difference between indie publishing and hybrid publishing?
It just depends. In my opinion, indie publishers are really just small publishing houses. I went with an indie publisher, and the access to them is greater because you can just submit on their website a lot of the time. Of course, that also means that they’re not a big publisher, meaning that the print quality could be low and the quality of services that you’re getting could be lower. So you really have to vet these indie publishers. I always say the best way to vet a publisher is go to their website, potentially order a book or two, hold it in your hands, read it, see if there are errors and what their formatting looks like. If you’re going with a company, you’re most likely getting the same book cover designer and potentially the same editors. We’ve got a huge basket of editors and book cover designers that we use, but we have our favorites and we have the ones that we use more frequently. And it shows in our catalog and it shows in the quality of our book.
Is it still important for an author to be involved if they work with a hybrid publisher?
Absolutely! I like to tell authors “we carve the path for you, but you have to walk down it.” Collaboration and partnership is extremely important, and one of the perks of working with a hybrid publisher, as discussed above, is that authors can maintain some creative control and work as part of a team – they’re not shut out from the process. When working with a hybrid publisher, as is true when working with a publicist, the most collaborative and involved authors are almost always the most successful.
Who is the ideal author for hybrid publishing?
Hybrid publishing is extremely beneficial if you’re a nonfiction author and you’re putting together a book that’s really going to support your business because you want to have creative control over that. You want to make sure that you are the driver in that situation. Otherwise, you’re kind of giving up your intellectual property to a traditional publishing house and you risk them changing your book to the point where it doesn’t support what you’re doing in your business. Nonfiction authors are often publishing for very different reasons than fiction authors; they’re publishing for exposure and, ultimately, many are publishing to grow their business.
Can a children’s book author go down the hybrid publishing path?
Yes, they can – in fact, Indigo River has a whole catalog of children’s books. The process looks different for each genre. People assume children’s books are easiest, but in fact, that’s far from the truth. The editing process for children’s books, for instance, is often much more difficult than a longer book because children’s books must be so concise. But absolutely, children’s book authors would be a good candidate for hybrid publishing.
What is the investment like for hybrid publishing?
Authors should be aware that they do need to bring an investment to the table – financially and timewise. In turn, though, they receive higher royalties on the back end. With Indigo River, our royalties are 50% on the back end, and then that’s only less the cost of the distribution fee and cost to print the book. The author is making an investment to have a seat at the table, and then we work together on the back end with transparency. We also work very hard to have multiple models and investment levels available because we truly believe every author deserves an opportunity to go with hybrid publishing.
Ultimately, there are many upsides to working with a hybrid publisher to bring your book to fruition. Authors will appreciate the professional, team-oriented experience of working with a hybrid publisher while maintaining creative ownership over their work.
Anne Frances MacDonald oversees acquisitions as Indigo River Publishing’s Acquisitions Director. As a published author and previous teacher, she works to provide writers with professional feedback and direction. Building up authors and helping them accomplish their dreams of publication is her passion.
Indigo River Publishing is a Modern-Hybrid Publisher that works with authors across all genres and has proudly published books from internationally recognized executives and celebrities as well as debut authors. They pride themselves on identifying and shepherding new voices and rising talent while leading the evolution of the publishing industry’s business model. Learn more about Anne and Indigo River Publishing at annbrooksauthor.com and indigoriverpublishing.com. You can follow them on Instagram (@annbrooksauthor and @indigoriverpub), X (@ann_brooks32 and @indigoriverpub), and LinkedIn.