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  • Grant Handgis ~ Author/Poet

Hybrid Publising vs Self-Publishing


I have been following a meme from writers discussing Hybrid Publishing, and have posted related articles on this subject recently. As the meme continues to circulate the narrative become ever more informative. The comments from the writers who have used Hybrid Publishing are weighted towards glowing remarks. There really isn't much of an argument against offering writers professional services at reasonable fees. It is a natural part of the evolution in publishing expected from the proliferation of digital services that continue to evolve over time.

What has been seen over the past decade of digital progress is ever more specialized digital services. Publishing is ripe for such treatment, being the new reality of publishing is likely cast in the Print On Demand book printing, or ebook reading. The tradition publishing platform of offset printing presses is certainly not dead, nor likely will it disappear in the near future. What is evident is that digital publishing is here to stay.

Hybrid Publishing is self-descriptive. A marriage between the old world of Vanity style publishing services for a fee, with the result of a large cash of printed books on hand for the author, and do it yourself Print On Demand publishing. A simple jump to digital allows for that same relationship between Publisher as book printer & service provider to service provider for digitally printed book for sale; POD Publishing. There are two forms of this arrangement. The contractual form to an online “publisher” that handles all the services for each stage of book production, as would a traditional publisher, including the online listings. The author side of that contract is to pay for each of these services along the way, as well as any real marketing. Author fees also include paying for the ISBN number, with the 'publisher' using their brand on the ISBN.

Where this differs from the traditional arrangement, is bypassing the press printed run of books the author would otherwise be buying. This arrangement works well for those authors who want no part of the production work of getting their manuscript to print. For them, this is a much cheaper form of publication than the old days. For those authors who are intent on keeping control of the publication process, as well as editorial and formatting control, this model of publishing also works well, and the author is able to utilize the services as they choose, while continuing to keep control of the process along the way. That includes the ISBN assignment. Either avenue chosen, the author purchases the ISBN number. Any author that wants control of their published work would also likely want to use their own publishing brand and logo in the book's listing.

I have been blogging on POD publishing for years, covering all the aspects, and in's and out's, pro's and con's as well as strategies for navigating and satisfying the demands associated with book publishing. I have been a staunch defender of Create Space, as I still do, as this platform offers all the professional publishing services now being offered by cyber publishers. An author can use any of the services a la carte or go it alone, as I have done for my first eight books. Here's where needs change, and alternatives become viable.

I site my own situation as I am already fairly familiar with it, and I don't have to name names. The concept of 'success' is subjective to each author so I keep away from that issue. At issue is the process and personal needs. As I wrote in an earlier post, the eight books I have in print are fairly esoteric to begin with, and the formatting needs were such that computer designed interiors and layouts were within computer generated standards. I do not believe the average reader would ever know my book was any different from any other book they might pick up. I believe, for the most part, that readers are looking for content that is pertinent to their interests, and is satisfying.

I believe I have satisfied that condition, and given the reader a satisfying experience, with some evidence being the reviews left by readers. As any author, I want to improve as a writer and author over time. The book I am currently writing begins a different level of writing. Whereas I have mostly written non-fiction in the past, my focus now is towards fiction. This current book is not that. This book is a unique experience whereupon I will be writing about war, and PTSD. Something I had never imagined I would write about. But there it is, and I will be making this subject very personal, as it is a subject I am very familiar with, and will be putting forth the argument on the underlying causation to the symptoms of PTSD.

But that is the impetus for the project. I will be citing review scientific journals, psychological paper and a doctoral dissertation that all agree in the thesis I will be arguing in the book. What has changed for me in the production phase of getting the book to print form, is the need for the professional services I have shunned thus far. I will need an offset style table of content, citation notations with numbers, citation page as well as bibliography to APA standards. Something I had done many years ago in an academic setting but have no wish to do so today. I will also, for the first time, us a design cover team for the cover art. Something a graphic artist friend had done in the past.

What I take away from all this is simply that the author of today has more options and opportunity for having their writing put into print than at any other time in written history. Considering the out of pocket costs incurred in this process is minute, compared to even twenty years ago. I would say to writers today that this is a golden opportunity for publishing, with the opportunities available all levels, from cost free, to perhaps $1000 for the use of available professional publishing services, with the author retaining control of it all. The cost is 10% of what it once was for getting into the game, with the options becoming ever more available and easy to use. If you are a writer, this is your time.


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