Sometimes labelled ‘self-publishers’ or ‘vanity presses’, hybrid publishers take a little bit from the submission publishing model and a little bit from the “self-publishing” model. Hybrid publishers (or publishing services, or publishing consultants) form a very close business relationship with the writers whose work they produce. Hybrid publishers exercise editorial discretion, they conduct market research, and they rely on book sales to generate revenue. Hybrid publishing is nothing new, and submission model publishers, academic publishers, literary publishers often adopt a hybrid publishing model for commissioned books. Clients whose primary business is not publishing but who wish to have books professionally published contract a publisher for their services. In essence, this is hybrid publishing. In some cases, those clients will be authors; in some cases those clients will be businesses. Hybrid publishing is a commercial venture.
Hybrid publishers work “up front” with their clients and offer publishing services to the businesses and writers whose works they choose to produce. This is different from submission models for whose services writers do not have to pay. Hybrid publishers use an initial investment from any number of sources as bridge financing to begin production work. Some forms of scholarly or academic publishing are a form of hybrid publishing; many scholarly or academic works arrive with grants, bursaries, or some kind of investment for research or for book production. Many hybrid publishers have mandates to produce books from traditionally under-represented demographics, or for niche publishing.
Regardless of the business model, whether it’s a hybrid publisher or a submission-model publisher or an academic press, there are books published which are wholly financed by the client or by a third source – these are often promotional books or corporate memorabilia. These books are not intended for and do not make it to the retail marketplace.