From Independent Book Publishers Association:
Hybrid publishing companies behave just like traditional publishing companies in all respects, except that they publish books using an author-subsidized business model, as opposed to financing all costs themselves and, in exchange, return a higher-than-industry-standard share of sales proceeds to the author. A hybrid publisher makes income from a combination of publishing services and book sales.
Although hybrid publishing companies are author-subsidized, they are different from other author-subsidized models (i.e., self-publishing service providers) in that hybrid publishers adhere—without exception—to the following set of professional publishing criteria.
For the avoidance of doubt, this means organizations that do not adhere to the entirety of IBPA’s Hybrid Publisher Criteria—or adhere to most, but not all of the criteria—are not hybrid publishers as IBPA would define them and should not be calling themselves “hybrid.” These organizations are better categorized as self-publishing service providers. In a self-publishing service provider/author relationship, it is the author who plays the publisher role.
Self-publishing service providers mislabeling themselves as hybrid publishers, whether knowingly or unknowingly, are contributing to the confusion and exploitation of authors and are rightly called out for doing so.
A hybrid publisher must:
- Define a mission and vision for its publishing program. A hybrid publisher has a publishing mission and a vision. In a traditional publishing company, the published work often reflects the interests and values of its publisher, whether that’s a passion for poetry or a specialization in business books. Good hybrid publishers are no different.
- 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.
- Commit to truth and transparency in business practices. It should go without saying, but like any reputable business, a hybrid publisher must commit to transparency in its business practices. This includes being clear about the cost of services and providing an honest estimation of each book’s potential for success. A hybrid publisher is also fair and transparent in its financial dealings, writes contracts in understandable language, and resolves any disputes promptly and fairly. A hybrid publisher never misleads potential authors with false promises, inflated sales data, or manipulated reviews.
- Provide a negotiable, easy-to-understand contract for each book published. A hybrid publisher supplies a clear, negotiable contract at the start of every negotiation which sets out—in understandable language—the exact scope of the arrangement, including term limits and compensation. All contracts should include regular reviews and updates as needed. A clear rights-reversion clause must be included in every contract. A hybrid publisher should be clear that it welcomes potential authors to discuss the proposed contract with neutral third-party advisors, such as a legal advisor or authors guild.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. All editors and designers must be publisher approved; they can be part of the publisher’s internal staff or outsourced, or a mix of both options.
- 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. As with a traditional publisher, authors may negotiate to keep their subsidiary rights, such as foreign language, audio, and other derivative rights.
- Provide distribution services. A hybrid publisher has a strategic approach to making books available to consumers beyond the simple mechanism of uploading files to online retailers and making books available for purchase online. Depending on the hybrid publisher, this may mean partnering with a traditional distributor that has a team of sales representatives who actively market and sell books to retailers, libraries, wholesalers, etc., or it may mean publisher outreach to a network of specialty retailers, clubs, or other niche-interest organizations. At minimum, a hybrid publisher has a marketing and sales strategy for each book it publishes, inclusive of appropriate sales channels for that book, and provides assistance and/or education to the author seeking to execute or understand this strategy in order to get his or her book in front of its target audience. This is in addition to listing books with at least one industry-recognized wholesaler.
- Demonstrate respectable sales. A hybrid publisher should have a record of producing several books that sell in respectable quantities for the book’s niche with a demonstrated sales track record with like titles. This varies from niche to niche; small niches, such as poetry and literary fiction, may see sales of less than a couple thousand copies, while mass-market books require more.
- Pay authors a higher-than-standard royalty. When compensation is based on royalties, 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.
Link to the rest at Independent Book Publishers Association
PG says good luck enforcing that. PG has heard just as many complaints about Hybrid Publishers as he has about traditional publishers.