What Is a Hybrid Publisher? How to Know Who to Trust 

“Hybrid publishing” is a term that’s been surfacing a lot in recent years. With traditional publishing feeling inaccessible to new authors and self-publishing looking too big to handle alone, lots of companies are sprouting up, offering a happy medium. Unfortunately, it can be hard for aspiring authors to know who to trust. In this blog, you’ll discover exactly what a hybrid publisher is and how to find someone you can confidently work with.

What Is a Hybrid Publisher?

The Basic Definition

Simply put, a hybrid publisher is focused on assisting the writer as they work on their book by providing professional services such as editing, book design, etc., for an upfront cost. 

The Reality of Hybrid Publishing

However, not every hybrid publisher operates in the same way. Since the definition of hybrid publishing is so broad, there is lots of variability in business models, services offered, vetting techniques, and more. Every company offers different services, and no two hybrid publishers are exactly the same.

This can make it difficult to specifically define hybrid publishing. It can also make it hard for new authors to know exactly what they’re getting into.

Luckily, many experienced authors and publishing experts have equipped the general public with information on what to look out for when you’re searching for a publisher.

The IBPA Definition

Recently, lots of the publishing industry has been quoting the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and their hybrid publisher criteria to define hybrid publishing. As with any definition of a seemingly undefinable service, it has its pros and cons.

Here’s an overview of the IBPA Hybrid Publisher Criteria:

According to the IBPA, a hybrid publisher should…

  • 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

Even though it’s not officially mandated, criteria like this is great to have because it helps new authors with their research. However, there are still many reputable and legitimate publishers who don’t meet all of these criteria (including my company!).

Unfortunately, I can’t speak on behalf of all hybrid publishers, but I can speak to what we do here at ML Publishing and why.

Find Your Illustrator & Protect Your Children's Book

FREE Guide for Aspiring Authors

You will discover:

How to find the perfect illustrator for your picture book

7 MUSTS for your illustrator contract

 Bonus Tips for working with an illustrator

Where should we send the free guide?

ML Publishing as a Hybrid Publisher

Here at ML Publishing, we help aspiring authors publish their children’s books through our 12-month mentorship program, Publishing Mastermind

Publishing Mastermind meets the basic definition of a hybrid publisher — for an upfront cost, you gain access to our publishing program in which my team and I will guide you through the writing, publishing, and launching of your picture book, provide editing services, book design, set-up for print-on-demand, and more. By the end of the program, we publish your book.

Publishing Mastermind does not, however, utilize all of the IBPA criteria. I always want to be up front about this for two reasons: 

  1. We value transparency and honesty. I’m never going to pretend to fit into a box just to attract attention. It’s just not how we do things.

  2. We omit certain things on purpose. Below I’ll explain exactly which criteria we do and don’t adhere to AND why.

ML Publishing vs. The IBPA Hybrid Publisher Criteria

Define a mission and vision. 

Yes! I am such an advocate for all authors and publishers to have a big WHY, a deeper reason why we do what we do.

Here at ML Publishing, I guide aspiring children’s book authors into becoming bestsellers. 

I do this because, when I published my first children’s book, I was completely in the dark. I would have loved to have a mentor to walk me through it all. 

Now, with five bestselling and award-winning children’s books under my belt (both self-published and traditionally published), I want to be that guide for you and get your book into the hands of the children who need it.

Vet submissions. 

At the time of writing this article, we do not require manuscript submissions in advance. Why? Because when I first started writing, I had ZERO writing experience. All I had was a message and a desire to leave a positive impact on readers’ lives.

Now a hybrid publisher, I want to help aspiring authors in a similar circumstance to achieve their dream of writing for children. I strongly believe that anyone can publish a top-quality picture book with the right team.

However, we do occasionally turn authors away from our hybrid publishing program. Since publishing is a serious endeavour and our team puts lots of hard work into creating quality books for our authors, we want to ensure that every author who works with us is serious about writing for children and is actively putting effort towards their book. If an author is not willing to approach publishing in this manner, we may turn them away.

So many incredible people out there are dreaming of publishing their own picture books. As long as you’re serious about publishing your picture book and have a strong WHY, I know that you CAN do it.

Commit to truth and transparency & provide an easy-to-understand contract. 

Yes! At ML Publishing, we take honesty very seriously. We want each author who crosses our path to know exactly who we are, why we do what we do, and what we offer. 

We take great care to ensure every contract is clear and easy to understand. We also make ourselves readily available to answer any questions aspiring authors and our current authors have.

Publish under its own imprint(s). 

Yes! Every book we publish is done so under our company name, and we get International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) for each book.

Publish to industry standards & ensure quality. Yes! We take great pride in the books we publish, and we’ve assembled a team of professionals to work on each book before they go to print. You can check out all the books we’ve published HERE.

Manage a range of publishing rights. 

Yes! We’ve made it simple in Publishing Mastermind: when you publish with us, you keep 100% of the rights to your book. 

This was super important to me when I published my books, so I don’t want to take that away from the authors I work with either.

Provide distribution services. 

Yes and no. Since we work with a wide range of authors from all over the world, we are unable to directly distribute the books we publish. 

We do, however, set up each book on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and IngramSpark (when possible). These companies provide distribution opportunities through their own platforms. For example, books printed through IngramSpark may be stocked in stores such as…

  • Barnes & Noble

  • Walmart

  • Target

  • Chapters / Indigo

  • Blackwell

  • Waterstones

… And more!

We have also seen many libraries choose to stock our authors’ books!

As always, we’re more than willing to answer questions authors have about how we do this/what’s included.

Demonstrate respectable sales. 

Yes! Every single book we’ve published (at the time of writing this article) has achieved bestseller status on launch day. We’ve also seen our authors booking TV interviews, going viral, selling books by the box at schools, and shipping worldwide. One of our authors was thrilled to see her book get shipped to Switzerland! Although, it’s hard to give a concrete number when it comes to sales. Here’s why:

We don’t take any royalties, so we don’t track sales. Once a picture book is published through Publishing Mastermind, it belongs completely to the author. You keep 100% of the rights and profits from your book.

Pay a high royalty. 

Yes! We offer the highest royalty possible: 100%! When you publish through Publishing Mastermind, you keep 100% of the profits from your book sales. We don’t take a dime.

Find Your Illustrator & Protect Your Children's Book

FREE Guide for Aspiring Authors

You will discover:

How to find the perfect illustrator for your picture book

7 MUSTS for your illustrator contract

 Bonus Tips for working with an illustrator

Where should we send the free guide?

How to Know Which Hybrid Publisher to Trust

I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed by the publishing industry. There are so many options and variables to choose from, and it can feel quite daunting if you’re facing it for the first time.

When it comes to choosing a hybrid publisher, here are some tips to consider as you research:

  • Make sure the hybrid publisher offers a clear contract and that they’ve specified exactly what services they offer

  • Ask who keeps the rights to your book. In an ideal world, you’ll get to keep them!

  • Determine if their royalty split is right for you

  • Ask to see previous books they’ve published & ensure they’re high quality

  • Reach out to authors who have published through them and ask about their experience

  • Take note of the project timeline. How long will it take for the hybrid publisher to get your book into your hands, and does it appeal to you?

  • Try to connect with the staff if possible. For Publishing Mastermind, we offer lots of opportunities for those considering the program to hear from our authors and staff. To get first dibs on those events, join the Publishing Mastermind waitlist HERE or follow us on Facebook and Instagram

I hope this information and these research tips provide some peace of mind as you look for the hybrid publisher that’s right for you. And no matter what you decide, know that I believe in you.

You CAN do it!

If you’d like to learn more about Publishing Mastermind, you can visit the program site HERE. If you have any questions for our staff, please contact team@miriamlaundry.com

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