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Hybrid Publishers vs Vanity Press

Updated: Jun 4, 2023

What's the difference?


If you’ve read our latest article on "What is a vanity publisher?", you’ll know by now the key attributes to watch out for when searching for the right publisher online. (If you haven’t you can read it here). There are plenty of really good hybrid publishers out there so please don't let either of these articles scare you off the service of assisted-self-publishing. But there has recently been a increase in the, shall we say, bad apples of the publishing world and we want to help you navigate your way towards the good fruit.

So, what are the key differences between vanity publishers and hybrid publishers? How can I make sure that I choose a good hybrid publisher and not a vanity publisher?


A good hybrid publisher will:


  • Have a manuscript review process

Just like traditional publishers, good quality hybrid publishers don’t accept any old manuscript that comes their way just to make some quick cash. A hybrid publisher that is worth its fee will read the whole manuscript through (for free) and identify whether the book:


a) Fits with their niche

b) Delivers a strong message that aligns with their company values

c) Has legs, even if it is not immediately ready to be published


  • Will be transparent about costs

Parting with thousands of pounds is an investment and not a decision that a writer will take lightly. Your money is important and a good publisher will respect the fact that you are not only paying them money, but are putting your complete trust in them to do an amazing job with their book and deliver what they’ve paid for.


A good hybrid publisher will be honest about the services they provide and should be happy to answer any questions about where exactly your money is being spent.


  • Will care about your book

Whereas a vanity publisher couldn’t care less once they’ve cashed your cheque, a good hybrid publisher will handle your book with the care and respect it deserves. They will not scrimp on costs to take a higher margin (linking back to the honesty about services); they will ensure that they vet and hire only experienced industry professionals to complete the production process of publishing a book. This should apply to all parts of the process from manuscript reviews and reports, right through to book cover design and formatting.


  • Will not rip you off

Whilst a vanity publisher makes all of it’s money upfront with a ludicrous fee rather than from book sales, a hybrid publisher will charge a much more reasonable package and detail exactly what you will receive. Publishing is an expensive business, if done well. But if a company is trying to charge you more than £5,000 to publish your book for you, make sure you ask the company exactly what your money is being spent on. They are likely adding a HUGE margin onto the services required to publish your book.


We have a free eBook that will walk you through the costs involved in self-publishing and why you can expect to pay between £1,000-£3,000 to publish your book without a publisher to a high quality. Click here to download.


  • Will want your book to sell and be profitable

Unlike a vanity publisher who won’t be bothered about whether your book sells, hybrid publishers rely on their reputation to reach more customers. If a client’s book hasn’t sold, that doesn’t look good on the publisher. So every effort is made from the publisher’s side to promote the book as best they can.


This will sometimes involve an educational aspect around guiding the writer through the necessities of self-promotion. Some publishers will offer a marketing & book launch strategy and some publishers will offer bookstore distribution. But whatever they offer, make sure you know what is included in your specific hybrid publisher’s package.

  • May have a specific niche

We know by now that vanity publishers don't really have standards and certainly don't specify which niche they publish. So the chances are that if a publisher has already narrowed down their target market to focus on publishing one specific industry really well, you're onto a winner.


We hope this clears up any confusion between what hybrid publishers can offer you vs vanity press. Take a good look on your chosen publishers website to establish their company ethics and values and make sure that they are a good fit for you, including whether they publish your specific genre. Most importantly, don’t get ripped off!


To view our own packages and what WE can offer YOU, click here.

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