Hybrid publishing is simple to understand; you pay a company to do many things that a traditional publisher would do for you. Now why would anyone do that? In my case, I went the way of hybrid publishing with my book about my daughter Giana’s death (Even If Your Heart Would Listen: Losing My Daughter to Heroin.) I think my reasons were very common. I was addressing an urgent topic-overdose and the opioid crisis-and I wanted my book out there as quickly as possible. I didn’t want to wait the extra year(s) it might take to find an agent willing to represent the book, the time it would take the agent to sell it, and the year or more between the sale and publication. I wanted to build a platform so that I could speak and write convincingly on the topic.
Simply put, it worked. I am still serving on committees and boards, speaking and advocating to those who are interested and impacted, and albeit more slowly, the book is still selling.
What does the hybrid publisher do for the writer? First of all, the most reputable hybrid publishers vet the books they choose to publish, so they can maintain standards of quality—good for them and for the authors. Most publish trade paperbacks and ebooks and maintain a segue to an audio publisher. For a price they offer book cover and interior design, editing, and proofreading. And very importantly, they have a distributor who sells their books to bookstores. The offer higher than typical royalties and the writer maintains all rights.
However, what they don’t offer is a big one, especially these days: significant marketing and promotion. Yes, they may have a website, and an online newsletter and catalogue, and occasionally sponsor a sale. But the real marketing is done by people the author hires, and perhaps to some degree by the author herself. It is costly and time-consuming. It’s necessary to pitch in with the marketing even if your book is traditionally published, but it’s not a herculean a task.
Some people really like to do that but I am not one of them, and therefore, The Preparation Room will not be published by a hybrid.