IBPA Releases Hybrid Publisher Criteria

With so much noise about self-publishing, hybrid publishing and partner publishing versus traditional publishers I was thrilled to see the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) had released a document outlining 9 criteria’s that form a responsible hybrid publisher. This document should address much of the confusion and allow for a more straightforward path to publishing..

I have edited the 9 criteria listed here to be more concise and the full document can be seen here.

A hybrid publisher must:

1. Define a mission and vision for its publishing program. A hybrid publisher has a publishing mission and a vision.

2. Vet submissions. A hybrid publisher vets submissions, publishing only those titles that meet the mission and vision of the company, as well as a defined quality level set by the publisher. Good hybrid publishers don’t publish everything that comes over the transom and often decline to publish.

3. Publish under its own imprint(s) and ISBNs. A hybrid publisher is a true publishing house, with either a publisher or a publishing team developing and distributing books using the hybrid publisher’s own imprint(s) and ISBNs.

4. Publish to industry standards. A hybrid publisher accepts full responsibility for the quality of the titles it publishes. Books released by a hybrid publisher should be on par with traditionally published books in terms of adherence to industry standards, which are detailed in IBPA’s “Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Book.”

5. Ensure editorial, design, and production quality. A hybrid publisher is responsible for producing books edited, designed, and produced to a professional degree. This includes assigning editors for developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading, as needed, together with following traditional standards for a professionally designed book.

6. Pursue and manage a range of publishing rights. A hybrid publisher normally publishes in both print and digital formats, as appropriate, and perhaps pursues other rights, in order to reach the widest possible readership.

7. Provide distribution services. A hybrid publisher has a strategic approach to distribution beyond simply making books available for purchase via online retailers. Depending on the hybrid publisher, this may mean traditional distribution, wherein a team of sales reps actively markets and sells books to retailers, or at minimum, a hybrid publisher develops, with the author, a marketing and sales strategy for each book it publishes and provides ongoing assistance to the author.

8. Demonstrate respectable sales. A hybrid publisher should have a record of producing several books that sell in respectable quantities for the book’s niche. This varies from niche to niche; small niches, such as poetry and literary fiction, require sales of only a couple thousand copies, while mass-market books require more.

9. Pay authors a higher-than-standard royalty. A hybrid publisher pays its authors more than the industry-standard royalty range on print and digital books, in exchange for the author’s personal investment. Although royalties are generally negotiable, the author’s share must be laid out transparently and must be commensurate with the author’s investment. In most cases, the author’s royalty should be greater than 50% of net on both print and digital books.