So you want to publish a children’s book, but the more research you do, the more confusing it all gets. There’s traditional publishing, self-publishing, hybrid publishing … and now people are warning you against vanity press! It can be a lot to keep track of, especially if you’re just starting out. In this blog, you’ll discover the key differences between hybrid publishing vs vanity press so you can publish a great book.
What is Hybrid Publishing?
Before we discuss hybrid publishing vs vanity press, it’s important to know what hybrid publishing is.
Simply put, hybrid publishing is a publishing model focused on assisting the writer as they work on their book by providing professional services such as editing, book design, etc. Every company offers different services. No two hybrid publishers are exactly the same.
For that reason, I can only speak to how we run our hybrid publishing business here at ML Publishing. As you do your research, you may find companies with different offers — that’s normal! But in this article, I’ll lay out how we do things.
In most cases, a hybrid publisher will assist authors for an upfront fee. Whether the publisher takes royalties and reserves rights to the book is dependent on the company. At ML Publishing, we don’t take any royalties or rights. The author keeps it all.
Hybrid publishing is typically…
Focused on producing quality books
Supported by positive customer feedback
Founded in genuine care for the author and their book
In my hybrid publishing program, Publishing Mastermind, I help authors write and publish their books. My team also supports each author on their launch day to help them reach bestseller status.
We have a few core values, but the two that really make us stand out are community and quality.
Above all, we want our authors to have a personal connection with us and their fellow writers. We use mastermind groups so every writer can encourage each other, give advice, and learn from each other.
We’re also dedicated to publishing top-quality books. All our services are provided by vetted professionals, AND we provide layers of editing, book design, and proofreading to ensure that each book we publish meets professional standards.
>> One of the defining features of hybrid publishing is that hybrid publishers screen their submissions before deciding who to publish.
For us at ML Publishing, this process is simply to ensure that every author we work with is serious about writing for children.
Even if the manuscript isn’t polished to perfection or the author isn’t sure which next steps to take, we’re happy to work with them until we have a quality manuscript to publish. Besides, we’re there to help! But if the author isn’t serious about writing for children, their book will reflect that in the end.
A good hybrid publisher will make YOU the priority, not just the story itself.
What is Vanity Press or Vanity Publishing?
Naturally, before we lay out the precise differences of hybrid publishing vs vanity press, we should also cover what vanity press is.
On the surface, vanity press looks very similar to hybrid publishing. For an up front cost, a vanity publisher will help an author publish their book. But vanity press is typically less concerned about quality. They won’t vet submissions. Anyone can publish through vanity press.
That’s not to say there aren’t vanity publishers who make quality books. You’ll just have to do a bit more research before signing with them.
Red flags to look out for with vanity publishers include…
Demand large royalties on book sales
Show little care or concern for your book
Produce low-quality results
Aren’t considerate of YOU
I’ve heard a handful of horror stories from genuine writers who thought they were signing with a great publisher only to find out that they gave their money to a company who had no intentions of ever publishing their book OR cared little for the end product.
And with hybrid publishing rising in popularity, sketchy vanity publishers have started promoting themselves as hybrid publishers, which is why it’s so crucial to know the exact differences.
But remember — not ALL vanity publishers are sketchy. You just need to know how to weed out the untrustworthy companies when you’re shopping around.
Hybrid Publishing vs Vanity Press
Hybrid Publishing vs Vanity Press — here are the key differences:
Royalties & Rights
Hybrid Publishing — may take a small royalty
Vanity Press — may take a larger royalty
At ML Publishing, we don’t take ANY royalties or rights. The author keeps it all.
Hybrid Publishing — partners with writers and cares about quality
Vanity Press — may partner with writers, but typically isn’t as concerned about personal connection or quality*
*Not all vanity publishers show little care for their authors. Make sure to chat with someone on staff at the publisher you’re looking into and trust your gut. If they seem genuine and have legit reviews to support it, then odds are they’re telling the truth. If your gut says NO, trust it.
Hybrid Publishing — produces high quality books alongside the author
Vanity Press — cares less about producing quality books*
*Generally speaking. Not true for ALL vanity press.
Hybrid Publishing — a reputable company will have raving reviews with books to show for it
Vanity Press — may have great reviews, but may also be lacking in positive feedback
TIP: When looking for reviews, don’t only look on the publisher’s website. Make sure to check their social media accounts, profiles of people who support them, and product pages of the books they’ve published.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to hybrid publishing vs vanity press, you need to remember this:
There are bad apples everywhere.
Whether a company claims to be a hybrid publisher, vanity publisher, or something else, always do your homework and ensure the company you’re signing with is both legit & willing to partner with you.
You can find a great hybrid publisher. You can also find a great vanity publisher. But it’s up to you to do your homework.
Hybrid Publishing Option for You
As a hybrid publisher, I don’t recommend other hybrid publishers. That’s not to say we’re the only option, but I do know that myself and the MLP Team go above and beyond to provide a personalized & quality experience for every author that walks through our doors.
Our concern for community and quality are unlike any other company I’ve seen. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly why I started ML Publishing — I saw a need and decided to fill it myself.
(And you’ll find that on the hybrid publishing vs vanity press scale, we meet all the requirements of a reputable hybrid publisher.)
You can also check out some of the 60+ books we’ve published: