Chris A. Baird | June 5, 2023
Red Flags With Hybrid Publishing Companies

Are you trying to publish your books with hybrid publishing? Find out the red flags when it comes to hybrid publishing companies.

Okay, so you've finished writing your book, and you may have even sent it to traditional publishers. But it's not getting approved. So what other options do you have? Well, you can do self-publishing, which is, of course, what I recommend. Alternatively, you can go with a hybrid publishing company.

The reason you might want to go with a hybrid company is that you don't have to learn as many steps. They have all the services in-house. There are several things to consider, but there are also some red flags you need to look out for if you choose to go the hybrid publishing company route.

Also, check out my free Self-Publishing Secrets Checklist, so you can learn the steps of doing it yourself. Now, let's get right into it. The first thing to note is that there are huge differences when you're comparing self-publishing and hybrid publishing. With self-publishing, all the costs vary. 

When you're getting a cover and other related things, you'll be able to see exactly what the costs are. If you want to use editing services, the downside is that you'll have to figure out how to do it yourself.

However, with hybrid publishing, the costs can be bundled, and you'll be offered a basic package. And then, at that point, there will be all sorts of upsells and other things along those lines, where the amount of money that you thought it was going to cost starts to increase.

Check out this related article: Worst Self-Publishing Companies you need to avoid in 2023

This is where the challenge lies if they're not very transparent with all of these costs. They'd say, "Okay, you can get a package for a couple of thousand dollars where we'll self-publish your book," and they sometimes even make it seem like you were accepted or something like that with that particular book you're thinking of putting out.

When in reality, they virtually accept everyone, or maybe they tell you you need to do some editing or something, and then they accept it. But in reality, percentage-wise, they're just accepting everybody who sends a book to them and making you feel like it's sort of like a traditional publisher.

So that's one of the challenges you need to look out for. And as you're going through the process, it keeps costing more money because they're going to need additional money if you want the extra special editing, which, of course, is so important with editing.

They may say, "We'll have the base cover, but if you want the premium coverage, well then you're going to have to pay a lot more for that." So it's not very transparent about the total cost. And when you're already halfway done with your book with them and you keep on getting dinged with these additional costs that were not part of the initial process, it makes it very painful for an author.

You thought you would get the whole deal through and just paid us a flat fee. But it ends up costing you a lot more money, and they weren't upfront about it. Most of the authors who go with us end up spending twice as much money as they initially thought they would for this process.

The second thing we're going to look at is the false promises. What exactly do you think happens to your book after it's been released? Well, you're going to need reviews, paid ads, and content marketing. All of these things are necessary.

Fortunately, hybrid publishers also offer these services. You just have to pay thousands of dollars, and they will post your book's link on different websites and such. However, it doesn't necessarily result in increased sales. But they'll say, "Look, I see your book isn't selling."

And that's where the promise part comes in because, especially if you read the sales page for the hybrid company, they have all these success stories. So you start to get the idea that if I just put my book on the market, it's going to find an audience without being marketed. And that simply isn't true.

If they weren't honest about the costs you were going to have to pay in the first place, then we have another major problem because now you're spending a lot more money than you originally thought.

Finding Their Customers

Maybe it might have been easier if you had just stuck with self-publishing and learned the process like in the checklist I mentioned before. Just go through the steps, and work with a coach, or someone who can guide you through the necessary steps to succeed in self-publishing easily.

As opposed to the alternative route, which is the hybrid publishing route, I do believe that it's perfect for people who don't have any technical ability and don't have time. The hybrid publishing route may be one of your best options.

Now, let's move on to the third point: the big filter question. This is the big red flag that I see across the board regularly. This is the one I tell anybody who's considering any of these companies.

You'll notice I say nothing negative about specific companies because they have large budgets, and for some reason, there aren't any websites that say anything negative about any of these companies. I also do not contribute by saying anything negative about any of them. I'm just giving you the tools so that you can research and see which ones are right for you.

Now, onto the third point, which is probably the most important of all the ones I've covered so far. It's a question of where their customers are. If you have this hybrid company, you would imagine there would be a lot of authors who have gone through with them and have published their books with those authors.

If that makes sense, then where are those authors? You should be able to get in touch with them, right? After all, they were probably so satisfied with the costs and results of that first book. You would imagine they would go with their second and third books. Well, where exactly are those people?

This was something I found to be the biggest litmus test when you're trying to figure out whether or not you should go with one of these companies. Google them and see where the forum of those authors, the previous customers, and clients they've had in the past, are located.

Where exactly are they? These people were very satisfied when we read about them on the sales page with all these glowing testimonials. Where are these people who can say, "You know what, I went through with it, and the price was great and affordable? I ended up getting my book to sell, and I'm very happy.

Then, I went back for a second book." That's the issue. We want to see if we can talk with clients or customers of theirs, other authors who have published two books and are still happy with the results.

I can tell you, I've spoken with many of my clients who worked with me. They gave up on the hybrid side, but they tried it, and their book is stuck in limbo. There are also concerns about who owns the rights to the book and how to get it out of Amazon.

Check out this related article: Why Hybrid Publishing Is Wrong For You

They don't want to be entwined where they're just leaking money regularly to these companies. So, this is something that they need to focus on, to make sure that, you know, maybe they decided they wanted to go the other route.

I said, "Look, this could be just painful years and years to try to get your book back, you own the rights to it, but it's under their profile on their Amazon KDP account, which makes it a bit of a problem."

The problem they have is that I haven't met customers and clients of theirs who are in the middle of the process and feel that it's so great, it's wonderful, you know, they're taking you step by step through it. So, it's wonderful with this hybrid publishing process. But, well, then where's the catch?

The catch is they haven't been upsold yet. Okay, the upselling starts once we start getting those covers and reaching the finishing points. And then suddenly, would you rather just pay a little more and get this bump at $100? And get this one, pay a thousand for the marketing package, and all of these?

I have people come to me and say, "Should I pay this thousand? Should I pay this too for their marketing package?" And my question is, where are their customers who can say, "I paid a thousand and I earned three thousand or five thousand or at least got all these customers on my email list?"

These are the sorts of questions that we want to know when we're going with one of these companies. Where are their customers? They should have a lot. You should be able to find a forum where you can locate them. Maybe they have videos.

Having A Level Of Marketing

Here's another idea: Maybe they have videos on YouTube or other platforms where you can see people leaving comments who are happy. I can tell you, for many of them, the people leaving comments are furious with a lot of these companies. They are angry with what these companies have done with their books.

They had such high expectations of what was going to happen, and then it simply wasn't the case. If they were on YouTube or other platforms and had comments below, you could see whether people are happy or whether they're being deceived by these specific companies.

However, these companies are very clever at getting rid of any negative sites. For some reason, nobody seems to have done two books with them. That's another thing. And now, I know maybe you're somebody who has published more than one book with a hybrid publishing company.

And as I said, I won't mention the names of any of these companies. I never mention names. I have no intention of getting sued, so I just keep that out of it. But I would say, go find the forums, and I keep asking many people, even on YouTube and other platforms, "Can you please send me a link so I can see where all these happy authors are?"

And the problem, of course, is that there aren't a ton of happy authors. You have all these authors who went through the process and were upsold, but the quality of the result was not as high as they wanted. If they had self-published like we do in Jutoh, then we go through exactly how to do that so it comes out exactly as you imagine, not some lower-quality version of it.

The second problem is that they get to this point and they pay money for marketing, but they're not making any money back. Their book is like crickets, nobody's purchasing their book. Now, I can't guarantee your book will sell either, but at least I'm honest about it.

I'm not telling you that just because you wrote an amazing book and you throw it on the market, the market itself is going to buy it. You're going to have to do marketing to sell your book, and that's one of the big challenges of self-publishing, hybrid publishing, or even traditional publishing.

There has to be a level of marketing. It's a skill set you're going to need to learn, or you could also pay thousands of dollars to these people and then see if they manage to deliver a result. But before you transfer any money to them, make sure you see if you can find a customer.

One customer who's been through two books and is still happy with them. If you can find that person, then maybe the company is okay. Ideally, you'd have a group of them, because I would assume there are lots of customers coming through and you should be able to find them.

So this is just an important point you should consider whenever you're getting ready to invest a lot of money. Unless they can give you bite-sized value to prove themselves, it's recommended to do your due diligence.

Check out this related article: Best Self Publishing Companies 2023

That's one of the reasons why I offer Discovery Sessions where we take a look at your situation for free. I can tell you which offers would best meet your needs, and it gives you an idea of what it's like to work with me in a 1-On-1 Program or a Group Coaching session. 

So my question for you today is: Have you ever tried a hybrid publishing company? If so, please let me know what your experience was. Did you consider doing a second book? And how many of you were happy with the results? Just leave your comments below or in the comments section, and I will respond to every single comment. Thanks, and check out my other blogs and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions.

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