Hybrid Publishing vs Self Publishing

A couple of months back, without too much of a fuss, CinnamonTeal Design and Publishing, formalised its hybrid publishing services. It thus becoming the first publisher in India to offer hybrid publishing. Having already introduced self-publishing in India, in 2006, we found ourselves, many a time, rewarding authors who had invested their time and efforts into their books, with a book contract that mirrored the concepts of hybrid publishing. In April this year, 2018, we went ahead and formalised those services, with our hybrid publishing offering.

The question remains though: what exactly is hybrid publishing, and how does it differ from self-publishing (also called assisted publishing nowadays)? The main difference is focussed on the question: Who pays?

In the case of self-publishing, it is the author who pays for everything. Every single thing. In most cases, self-publishing service providers offer authors a package of services that the author then pays for. If there are services that are not included in these packages, that the author would still like to have, additional charges are levied on the author. Or, as in the case of service providers such as CinnamonTeal Publishing, the author chooses services from a list and pays for them. In other words, nothing is free. If the provider does announce that the author can “publish for free”. that should serve as a red flag and alert authors to look for other areas where charges are levied slyly.

In the case of hybrid publishing, however, the publishing service and the author both invest their money into the book. In the case of CinnamonTeal Publishing, the author pays for pre-publishing services, such as editing, cover design, page layout, and printing, while we invest in distribution. This division of costs may vary from one publishing to another, but the concept remains the same: both, author and publisher are invested in the book.

This difference, in fact, allows authors to tell if a self-publishing service is posing as a hybrid publisher. A hybrid publisher will not invest in every book that comes their way. Instead, it will vet the book for plot and quality of writing before it decides to invest in it. We, CinnamonTeal Publishing, for instance, will offer a hybrid publishing contract only in the case of certain genres, and that too, if a book is well written and the author will agree to a round of editing. For other books, we offer our self-publishing service, and leave it to the author to decide whether they wish to go ahead with us or not. Other publishers might have their own criteria. But it’s almost always that a hybrid publisher will publish (using the hybrid model) only the best books that come its way.

This aspect, of shared costs, also impacts the royalties that the author receives. In the case of hybrid publishing, an author receives a smaller royalty amount than what he/she would have received in a pure self-publishing scenario. This is because the investing publisher also keeps a portion of royalty for itself, for the investments it has made.