How Authors Can Evaluate Hybrid Publishers

Beyond the Book podcast

This week, I’m a guest on Beyond the Book, a podcast series on the business of writing and publishing. Chris Kenneally and I discuss the growing field of so-called “hybrid” publishers, and how authors can smartly evaluate them.

A brief snippet from what I had to say:

A lot of authors right now, or at least the trend that I’m seeing, is they think that they can design their own covers or use templated interiors. I think that is OK for some projects. But if a hybrid publisher is really just slapping on a template cover or design, and they’re not really going through a formal design process, you have to ask, what is [it] that you’re paying for, if not for something that’s truly custom and suited to your work?

I know that there are a range of publishers—it’s kind of like a sausage factory. (laughter) They’re just pushing the books through this templated system, rather than … treating each book as a unique product in itself.

Listen to the 20-minute conversation on hybrid publishers, or read the transcript of our conversation.

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Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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