Episode 69

Is Hybrid Publishing Right for You?

If traditional publishing and self-publishing don't feel quite right for you, this episode presents a third option: hybrid publishing. We also learn about a new subscription platform for writers, rising POD costs, and more. All this while slowly making our way to the beach.

Music licensed from Storyblocks:

“More Jam Please” by Raighes Factory

"Stay Right There" by Humans Win

"Romantic Beach Weekend (30 Seconds)" by The Turqoise Moon

"Sea Ambient" by jabameister

Rosemi Mederos:

If you have plot bunnies coming out of your plot holes, it’s time for a writing break.

Today I too am in need of a break, so how about a day at the beach? We’ll soak up the sun, float in the ocean, and talk about hybrid publishing. Does that sound good to you?

The Writing Break cafe is open, so let’s get a couple of smoothies while I fill you in on some publishing news.

Bloomsbury Publishing has had another record year, and according to Nigel Newton, the CEO of Bloomsbury Publishing, it’s because people are responding to today’s economy by canceling subscription services like Netflix and buying paperback books instead. If correlation really does equals causation here, it is a hard thing to celebrate since it’s being driven by a cost-of-living crisis. However, I hope that it motivates you to keep writing. No matter what is going on in the world, people will always need stories.

Ream, a subscription platform for authors built by authors, is now open to all authors. Ream is new on the scene, and, similar to older subscription platforms like Wattpad, Substack, and Patreon, authors can serialize their work and charge a subscription fee. Just like Substack, Ream takes 10% of your subscription revenue.

The founders of Ream are Emilia Rose, an established independent author, and Michael Evans, a Harvard college student. What the founders say makes Ream unique is that it has been designed especially for authors. Ream appears to be best suited for genre fiction writers, and steamy romance is the dominating genre at the moment. Ream’s most successful author is currently making $7,700 in revenue each month.

This month Amazon KDP is increasing their pricing for print-on-demand books. This price increase will affect both paperback and hardcover books. KDP authors can run a one-time bulk list price update on their book prices in order to continue receiving the same amount of royalties. The new prices go into effect on June 20th. A link to more information for this and all of today’s stories can be found in the show notes of this episode and on writingbreak.com.

Before we head down to the beach, let’s lounge on the Overthinking Couch to give me a chance to say something I should have said way back in episode 1.

Are you ready for today’s great revelation? Here we go: writing is hard. It is not in the least bit easy, and beware the writers who claim that it is. They just don’t have the same standards as you do. Finding the time to write is hard. Finding the motivation to go through all of it when your friends and family don’t really get it, when the guilt rises up, and the self-doubt threatens your productivity. It is harder than people who don’t write can begin to understand. I know you know. But it is important for me that you know that I know how hard it is to start writing, to keep writing, and to rewrite until every sentence is perfect. And to do it all on a wing and a prayer, never knowing how far it’s going to get you or where you’re going to land.

Now that I know that you know that I know how you’re suffering for your art, how about we treat ourselves with a trip to an independent bookstore. I’m in the mood for a summer-themed book.

We are at the wonderfully named Hello Again Books, which is a woman-owned, LGBTQIA+-owned independent bookstore located in historic Cocoa Village, Florida. Hello Again Books carries new and used books as well as gifts. The space is bright and welcoming, with white bookshelves and floors and a glass storefront to let in all that Florida sunshine.

Now, let’s wander about and check out an independent author.

Today we are looking at Something Like Summer by Jay Bell.

“Life isn’t easy for a gay teenager living in the nineties. Ben thought coming out was his best chance of finding love. Instead he ended up lonelier than before. After a not-so-accidental collision with Tim, an attractive athlete and artist, Ben is convinced that he’s met his soulmate. Their budding romance is soon tested by spreading rumors, the danger increasing along with their passion for each other until it pushes them to the breaking point.

Years later, Ben is attending college in a different state while dating a wonderful guy. Everything is perfect until Tim shows up unexpectedly. Overwhelmed by old feelings, Ben is forced to reconcile the summer-filled dreams of his past with the complexities of his new adult life... But some love stories are impossible to forget.”

This is the first in the Something like series, and each book follows an LGBTQIA+ character on their quest for love.

Now, let’s head down to the beach where you’ll buy me a rum-filled coconut, and I’ll tell you a bit about hybrid publishing.

Last week we compared self-publishing to traditional publishing, and we learned that self-publishing is not a consolation prize but a great alternative for authors for several reasons. So check that episode out if you missed it.

If neither self-publishing nor traditional publishing sounds quite right, there is always hybrid publishing, which combines elements of traditional publishing and self-publishing. For the sake of brevity in this segment, when I use the term hybrid publishers, I’m including hybrid publishing houses, such as Manhattan Book Group, as well as companies that offer assisted publishing services but are not officially a publishing house, such as BookBaby.

Hybrid publishers can step in as early as the writing stage. Authors retain more control over their books than with traditional publishing, but they also receive some of the same benefits as traditional publishing, such as access to distribution channels and book marketing support.

While hybrid publishing will get your book out faster than traditional publishing, it does come at a cost. Hybrid publishers might charge you upfront for their services, take a portion of your royalties, or both.

Think of hybrid publishing as self-publishing with a ready-made publishing team. While it might cost more than self-publishing, it can save you a lot of time.

The important thing to remember is that not all hybrid publishers are created equal. There are too many scam artists out there and even some reputable hybrid publishers that do not let you communicate directly with your editors, designers, and cover artists. That can be frustrating.

Do your research and look for a hybrid publisher with a good reputation and track history. See what their authors say about them, beyond the testimonial section of the company’s website. Whether you want a full-service hybrid publisher or only select services, you should be able to find a reputable company to assist you with the perfection and publication of your manuscript.

Do I have a preference between self-publishing, traditional publishing, and hybrid publishing? Yeah, but my preference doesn’t matter. Every author should select the publishing model that works best for them.

Next week, we are dissecting literary agents. Until then, remember, you deserved this break.

If you would like us to visit your favorite independent bookstore, feature your favorite independent author (even if it’s you), or discuss something you’re overthinking about, please email me at podcast@writingbreak.com.

Thank you for making space in your mind for The Muse today.

Writing Break is hosted by America’s Editor and produced by Allon Media with technical direction by Gus Aviles. Visit us at writingbreak.com or contact us at podcast@writingbreak.com.

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Rosemi Mederos


Rosemi is the founder of America's Editor, a book editing company.