The race is on and new authors around the world are on the prowl, looking for reputable publishers who can not only publish their books, but can also market them. Internet search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo only complicate this search with countless listings of publishing companies who claim to be the go-to publishers for Christian authors. Consequentially, the average author plays a guessing game and chooses the publisher who has the most affordable rates and at least a five-year tenure in the publishing arena. After this, authors are faced with a new and even more complex challenge and that is: what is the difference between traditional, hybrid and self publishing, and which one is better suited for my needs?
As a Christian publisher, we’ve donated many hours to explaining the differences between the three. Of course, we don’t offer traditional publishing as of yet, so we’ll spend most of our time focusing on Hybrid Publishing versus Self Publishing.
First and foremost, let’s discuss Traditional Publishing. Traditional Publishing is the godfather of publishing; it is the original publishing method and was once the only avenue for publishers, both Christian and secular. Hopefuls would submit their manuscripts to Traditional Publishers, hoping to get what we refer to as a “book deal.” If the publisher accepted the manuscript, the author would be required to sign a contractual agreement, giving the publisher full or partial rights to his or her book. The publisher would give the author an advance on his or her royalties. From there, the publisher would begin marketing the book. A few of the advantages of the Traditional Publisher includes:
- Authors are paid an advance on their royalties. This lump-sum largely depends on what the Publishers believe to be the author’s marketability. Even if the book did not or does not sell well, the author is not required to pay back the advance.
- Traditional publishers are usually masterminds at marketing books. Going through a Traditional Publisher does guarantee an author a certain level of exposure.
- Quality control is key. Books accepted by Traditional Publishers are oftentimes screened and taken through a very vigorous process of editing and marketing before they are released to the general public.
- Major retailers favor books published by Traditional Publishers. Retailers such as Walmart will not sell physical copies of self-published books because there is no quality control, meaning, anyone can publish a book.
Of course, where there are advantages, there are disadvantages. A few disadvantages of traditional publishing include:
- Traditional Publishers only accept ten percent of the books submitted to them. This means that most authors have a ninety percent chance of being rejected.
- It may take up to a year before you hear back from a Traditional Publisher in regards to your book. To complicate this all the more, some authors wait an entire year only to be rejected. This is time wasted … time that their books could have been published and selling.
- Who you know is important in the Traditional Publishing market. Now, this isn’t a con (per-se), but if you don’t have a large following and you don’t have someone backing you who has a large following, your book will likely be rejected.
- Traditional Publishers usually buy out all or most of the rights of the books submitted to them. Authors don’t have the luxury of taking their books to another publisher.
There are many advantages and disadvantages of the Traditional Publishing module and truthfully, most authors want to publish a book or two through a Traditional Publisher. Nevertheless, in the meantime, there are other avenues and one of those avenues that has gained a lot of popularity today is called Self Publishing. Self Publishing is non-discriminatory, meaning, anyone who chooses to publish a book can publish a book. Now, this is great given the fact that there are many talented, prophetic and wise authors out there today whose voices would have been muzzled if Self Publishing was not an option. Nevertheless, the con to Self Publishing is the fact that there are many authors out there who are not skilled writers, authors who have no revelation or fear of God. Unfortunately, these are the authors who have caused retailers like Walmart to reject the self publishing market as a whole. But to respond to this, a new publishing module was born and it’s called Hybrid Publishing.
Hybrid Publishing is the marrying of Traditional and Self Publishing; it is everything we love about both platforms. Here’s how Hybrid Publishing works. Books submitted to a Hybrid Publisher is screened in the very same manner a Traditional Publisher screens books. If accepted, the authors receive the benefit of having a reputable name to back their books and the likelihood that retailers like Walmart will sell physical copies of the book is increased. The downside is that authors are not given a royalty check and Hybrid Publishers usually don’t have the same range of marketability as Traditional Publishers.
So, which is better suited for you? Hybrid Publishing is the best route for any author who wants to start creating momentum as an author. This gives the author the backing of the Publisher’s name, the vigorous screening needed to pass most, if not all, retailers’ quality control checks and it allows authors to earn the bulk of their royalties. Traditional Publishers usually keep 60-70% of an authors’ royalties!