Hybrid and Vanity publishers explained

Hybrid publishers

There are a couple of important distinctions between traditional and hybrid publishing. (I will come to vanity publishers later) As discussed here, you will only receive a small portion of the royalties with a traditional publisher, 10% – 15% per book, because they handle all publishing and marketing tasks for you. No upfront cost.


With a hybrid publisher, you are paying them for the publishing and marketing services. So book sales will net you between 50% – 75% per book sold. If your book sells for say £10, a hybrid publisher will net you between £5.00  and £7.50 per book. Although printing costs, will effect this a little. An upfront payment is required.


With a hybrid publishing company you keep full rights to your book and have the final say over every part of your book. Depending on the publishing package you pay for, the hybrid publisher will actively work with you through the publishing process. Coaching, providing support, and working within the parameters that you define. Not all Hybrid publishers offer much more than resources, connections, coaching and advice, you have to do most of the legwork, so be selective and do your homework by checking out independent reviews by previous authors they’ve worked with. (not from their own websites) Use sites like Trustpilot .  


Similar to traditional publishers, a good hybrid publisher will also have a vetting process. They should not take any book that is emailed to them. If they do accept just any manuscript submitted, thats a red flag. They are only in it for your money. The good hybrid publisher should asses if your book idea matches with their values and their process and importantly is sellable before accepting your manuscript and asking for payment.

A positive difference is that some hybrid publishers are willing to take on “riskier” book ideas that are not as widely talked about in the increasingly WOKE publishing industry. A traditional publisher will usually only take in book ideas that meet their strict criteria,  books they can promote, and sell to their audience

This is a Q&A post I lifted from the Writers & Artists website

I was approached by a hybrid publishers on the LinkedIn site, asking me to submit my manuscript to them. They told me they liked it, and have offered me a publishing contract on a contributory basis, where the fee I would pay would be a few thousand pounds; they said they would pay the other half of the fee. Does this sound above board to you, or should I be wary?


I'd be very wary. The majority of publishers, of any type, would expect you to approach them rather than 'cold-calling' for business which is basically what happened to you. I keep getting calls from Authorhouse because once, many years ago, I went on their website when I was looking at publishing options.

It's possible to self-publish relatively cheaply, though you must do most of the work yourself. That means all the editing (you're better spending money on a decent editor than on anything else, even though I've self-edited two), formatting (relatively straightforward), blurb-writing (horrible job) and cover designing (feasible with modern software but you have to be wary, though even my trad-publisher used one of my photographs as the cover). Of course you can pay to have all this done by one company or several specialists, the later perhaps being the better option.

I think the main attraction of a publisher is the expectation that they may promote your book so they actually sell some, the hardest thing of all to achieve with a self-pub. In reality my experience so far is this is a pretty vain hope and you'll still need to do most of this yourself.

I wouldn't pay any money to one of these 'publishers' unless they can provide a cost breakdown of all the necessary stages, and what they propose to do by way of exposing your book to an audience.

Vanity publishers.

For most of us , getting that first book out into the world is a dream come true. So it makes complete sense to grab at a chance to get published. But getting a book “out there” isn’t always  a dream come true In fact, can be a nightmare falling prey to 'vanity publishers.' 

 Vanity publishing describes any publisher that doesn‘t profit from actual book sales. However profits from charging extortionate rates for the publishing services they say they will provide, editorial, production, design, and sales and marketing services. The problem, however, is that the money the authors pay is spent in vain. Instead of using the money to produce high-quality books and promote them, vanity publishers pocket most of the money and spend the absolute minimum on the publishing process. 

They've received the money for publishing the book upfront from the author so vanity publishers have no incentive to make the book a successful one. 

Often without even reading the full manuscript vanity publishers promise a bestseller, definitely a red-flag because no publisher, no matter how well-established, can guarantee a bestseller.  They promise great book marketing, and outstanding distribution to bookshops, it’s another empty promise because vanity publishers don't have the sales connections needed to get bookshops to place book orders.

Another red flag; Chasing Authors to Publish Their Work

The publishing industry, as we know is a very very very competitive industry. They receive countless manuscripts every day, with many publishers now no longer accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Relying on agents to bring in books that are a good fit. Therefore, be suspicious, very suspicious if you are directly approached by someone claiming to represent a reputable publishing house. 

Vanity publishers can easily obtain your contact information from social media, and they chase aspiring authors, offering  false promises of a great publishing deal. So, although it would be great if getting published were that easy, be wary of deals that sound too good to be true!