Becoming a published author is the ultimate goal of every writer who wishes to pursue their passion of stringing words together to create literary masterpieces. A writer may spend months and even years crafting that perfect book; one wrong publishing decision and all the sleepless nights, hard work, time, and effort can go to waste.
While writing a book and bringing words into a meaningful and impressive literary piece is a challenge, making the right publishing decision is where many writers struggle. The reason writers have to think about this process is because of the availability of multiple publishing options. These include traditional publishing, self-publishing, contractor-based self-publishing, and hybrid publishing.
Exploring the Options
Traditional publishing, where a writer sends in their book for approval and the publishing house approves, is sent for publishing. It is the type where an author does not pay for the publishing costs, and the publishing house is responsible for all the costs associated with the process.
Then there is an option of self-publishing, where the author takes matters into their own hands. From editing, publishing, printing, to distribution, one has to oversee all operations themselves.
Another aspect of self-publishing is hiring independent contractors. These contractors are available for different tasks. One can hire a contractor for high-grade editing, for cover designing, or distribution.
While all three options seem approachable, there are downsides to each of these. Traditional publishing houses do not accept all the books. They only choose one to two books out of hundreds of submissions that they think are worth risking their money on. A writer has to wait months or years for their book to be chosen by a publisher. It may take rejections from three to four, or even more publishing houses for a book to finally move into the publishing phase. The entire process is pretty daunting and full of heartbreaks.
Self-publishing is a challenge. While all books can be published through this method, all one has to do is explore Amazon. An author can choose Amazon KDP or IngramSpark as their distributors. A writer has to invest extensive monetary and monetary efforts into it; success is not guaranteed even then. It is just like a gamble. In the traditional publishing process, a writer does not have to handle these matters, and it even requires zero monetary investment.
Hiring independent contractors can help eliminate much of the self-publishing stress, but finding the right one is a whole new challenge. To make the right choice, a writer needs to ensure that the contractor they are hiring to fulfill the Independent Book Publishers Association's nine-point criteria.
The last one on the list is hybrid publishing. It combines traditional publishing with self-publishing. It means the economic risk associated with book publishing is shared by both the publisher and the author. There are different ways the cost of publishing risk can be divided. It is up to both these parties as to how they wish to proceed with it. There are two reasons why authors are reluctant to choose this method, and these are the high costs and risks of being trapped by a vanity press.
Differentiating Between a Hybrid Publisher and a Vanity Press
Before getting into the depth of this, it is crucial to understand what a vanity press is and why it is smart to stay far away from this publishing option. A vanity press is also known as a subsidy. These publishers neither fall into traditional publishing, nor are they categorized into assisted self-publishing services. Despite this, vanities display themselves as real publishers. These companies are very much similar to the hybrid press as they also charge a fee for publishing.
The fact that both hybrid publishers and vanity publishers contract an author on an exclusive basis and charge a fee is what makes writers skeptical about choosing a hybrid press. Vanities make unrealistic promises to the author, and when they fail to deliver it, these companies begin to play the blame game.
Mostly, vanities refer to themselves as hybrid publishers, which makes publishers discard the idea of choosing the hybrid option. The way to stay safe from these vanities in sheep’s skin is to give extra scrutiny, contact other authors who used the service, and look for scams related to them.
Other red flags that point towards a hybrid being a vanity, in reality, are when a company asks for a setup fee or a deposit, additional fee for a publication process, a book purchase requirement, and more addition or extra payments. These companies may also claim that the fee they are charging is part of the business's cost or part. If a publisher is giving sales guarantees, pressurizing a writer to buy their own book, sets a pre-sale requirement, and holds the book's royalties, it is a sign that an author needs to get out of the trap as soon as possible.
Yes, getting a book published is a dream that every writer lives with; they have to focus o choosing the right publishing option. Writers who are afraid of rejections or do not want to wait in a long queue to get their books published may choose hybrid publishing methodology, given that they carry out a thorough background check!