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When is a Hybrid Publisher Not a Hybrid Publisher?

When searching for a hybrid publisher, it is so important not to get caught in the vanity press trap. There are a lot of grey areas between hybrid publishing and vanity press and often vanity press will tarnish the good name of hybrid publishers.

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Keeping publishing standards high

It’s important to distinguish the differences between these two types of publishing because they are far from being the same.


They’re essentially the good guys and the bad guys of publishing.


The IBPA (Independent Book Publisher’s Association) do a great job of outlining the standards that a legitimate hybrid publisher must meet in order to label themselves as such. These points are crucial to ensure that industry standards are met and upheld with each book that is published.


Here are the points directly from the IBPA’s website (full IBPA article here)

  • Define a mission and vision for its publishing program.

  • Vet submissions.

  • Commit to truth and transparency in business practices.

  • Provide a negotiable, easy-to-understand contract for each book published.

  • Publish under its own imprint(s) and ISBNs.

  • Publish to industry standards

  • Ensure editorial, design, and production quality.

  • Pursue and manage a range of publishing rights.

  • Provide distribution services.

  • Demonstrate respectable sales.

  • Pay authors a higher-than-standard royalty.

So, if you are looking for a hybrid publisher, ensure to ask the right questions and find the relevant information on their website to prove that they will be providing an honest and quality service to you.


The very first warning sign should be if your manuscript gets accepted straight away, without review. Find more warning signs on our previous blog post.


Taking these points into account, you could argue that a vanity press serves a purpose to a specific type of client: those that believe their manuscripts would be rejected by traditional press and those who don’t want to invest in a hybrid publishing service. Vanity press services those who simply want their book published in any form, no matter the standard or quality; often to achieve the title of “published author” and to have their book in print.


This is, in theory, fine. But we must think about what this does to the book industry as a whole, if sub-standard manuscripts are being published and printed without care, and often, even without any editing.


Publishing is a huge step in a writer’s career and shortcuts must not be taken. If they are, the credibility of the whole publishing industry is at risk.


To learn more about the differences between the two types of publishing, read our post hybrid publishers vs vanity press here.

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