Disclamer: I have no direct link or indirect link or interaction of anysort with SPW. Today, i am going to recommend you a hybrid publisher solely based on my personal understanding of how book publishing works and the information i have digged in on She Writes Press. You might be wondering if Hybrid-publishing is a better option than Self-Publishing?
The short answer is ‘Yes’. The long answer is ‘Let me take you on a journey of educating yourself about how publishing works’.
Historically there were just two option for getting published.
Traditional Publishing House
The fussy and picky traditional publishers, who paid author upfront and took over the entire process of publishing (editing designing and marketing) the book only to later claim the major chunk of royalties and rights towards author’s intellectual property. Author hardly had a say for his own book. Yet these kind of publishers are most sought after because they are the ‘King Makers’. Haper Collins, Random House, and Scholastic are classic examples.
They are favoured by famous Yog’s law ‘money flows towards the writer’ also translated as ‘dignity lies in author getting paid by publishers’. It is believed that anyone who gets accepted by a traditional publisher will be a big success, which is actually not true and traditional publishers too have their fair share of not-so-successful books in the market.
But there is something off with this system. Frankly, to me it seems broken. Most reputable traditional publishing house will not even touch your manuscript if you do not have an agent. Most agents will not attend to you if you are not previously published by a reputable publisher and have some book awards to your credit. Most awards will not be willing to even nominate an unsolicited book. One gotta start somewhere!
Sensing the broken record of rejections in the field of traditional publishing, a newer discipline arose. An author can fund their way to publication. He himself edits the manuscript, formats it in to a printable book, draws and designs covers and relevant illustrations, then pays to a printer to get the number of copies he thinks he can sell and then markets them all by himself. If you do not possess the skill sets required for all these tasks you heir a freelancer for each task. Summing up all the money you will be paying at every step, it could get very expensive! All this works out well for many, some even have made it big through this process, but statistical numbers are still not promising.
Pay-to-play, print-on-demand and such titles are associated with this side of publishing.
A few businessmen saw the opportunity and started to offer the services all-at-one-stop. There were no filters apply. Anyone who can pay for the expenses and a little commission to the company can get as many as copies as they wish. Authors gets to keep all the rights of their books. But still marketing remained at the hands of author himself. Not many book stores are willing to list such books either. So, although you get your book published, your book might not ‘hit the shelves’ in the literal sense.
In early 1940’s sensing the vulnerability of authors exhausted by rejections from traditional publishers and perplexed by chaos of self publishing, the vultures flew in. This new kind, asked author for huge chunk of money to pay for publishing services and produced a large number of copies of low quality books, with nothing to show for marketing. As they do not accepted books on any merit, they have no belief in the book produced and thus do not bothered with marketing at all. Many vanity publishers were sued by authors while others announced bankruptcy. They are clear cut frauds and scammers. Vintage press and Authors solutions are the classic examples.
Often vanity publishers claim to be subsidiary or self-publishing company. One needs to well research and do a detailed background check up if going with anything other than a reputable traditional publisher.
Allow me to share an excerpt from a blog post by Richard Curtis:
“The line that once sharply separated traditional publishing (“We pay you”) and vanity publishing (“You pay us”) has all but dissolved in this corrosive environment of fabulous riches.’’
The new era is for hybrid publishing, and that’s what exactly She Writes Press (SWP) is doing.
SHE WRITES PRESS
She Writes Press was founded by Kamy Wicoff and Brooke Warner in 2012 as a response to the barriers to traditional publishing getting higher and higher for authors. Kamy’s online community, She Writes, had been founded on the principle of connecting and serving women writers everywhere, offering a community for established and aspiring writers.
Why I am recommending She Writes Press (SPW)?
There are multiple reasons to it.
- Feminist approach
- Traditional distribution through Ingram Publishers services
- Nationtional Press tours
In a publishing world where authors like J K Rowling are encouraged to use initials to mask the fact that they are a female, I feel there is a dire need of publishers who publish female authors exclusively and celebrates the creative skill women possess. Its an achievement that in past 6 years She Writes Press has published 400 female authors so far.
The publishing company is willing to offer a chance to female authors solely on the merits of their writing alone.
They are fairly transparent about what they charge and exactly what services they offer in return. Here is an image from their website detailing out everything. Its very rare for a hybrid publisher to introduce the packages with prices out right on their website.
I acknowledge that $,7500 is a huge amount and not everyone can perhaps afford it, but there is a nice long list of services they are offering in exchange of it. Not to mention you get what you pay for. They are most likely also offering other packages as suited by author’s need.
Nationtional Press tours
Crystal Patriarche, CEO of She Writes Press shared with Publishers Weekly that biannually company arranges for authors to go on national press tours twice per year and have access to webinars and other educational tools.
So they do recommend you to hire a publicist (which means additional cost) acknowledging the lack of marketing services in their packages. It is amazing how open and transparent they are about their shortcomings unlike many. Andhey, how many publishers take authors on such expeditions which serve as publication 101 workshops.
She Writes Press Online Reviews
I have found some very positive words about them on publishers weekly website here.
However, they still need to work on developing a network of bookstores that will shelf their books. As defined by IBPA it is the responsibility of a hybrid publisher to market the book shelves and make sure that printed books hit the shelfs of reputable book stores. She Writes Press needs to takes note here, however i will cut them a slack as they are fairly new in business.
For whom it is suitable?
She Writes Press works on hybrid publishing model which is actually a controversial and confusing subject. Before you decided for a hybrid publishing companies make sure to run a background checkup and look for first hand reviews. If you are being offered a contributory or partnership contract, run your numbers first. Of course it feels great to be offered an advance from a traditional publisher, it’s a vote of confidence. But vote of confidence is not enough because fortunately or unfortunately that’s not how publishing world operates. Some of much anticipated books fail on markets and some books do amazingly well after receiving hundreds of rejection letters
Hybrid Publishing is suitable for someone who is serious for writing and can churn up a lot of content. For example, who plans to write multiple books on a topic or a sequel of a novel. In such case, numbers do not go in favors of traditional authors and publishing through a hybrid publisher could pay well. After all, who is paying who and what is the actual difference between traditional and hybrid publisher.
Considering that the company was only conceived in 2012, it has a long way to go yet. It had a great start with a greater vision and had been doing well so far.
So if someone is willing to offer the beginners a chance to compete in the market with professional marketing services, I think its great. To ask for a payment or contribution towards such services is reasonable in my very humble opinion. If they are providing their authors good marketing services and letting them keep the rights to intellectual property, which they do, I think it’s a fair deal. But of course what do I know I am just a blogger writing things from home. I will recommend anyone looking for a publisher to check with She Writes Press.
Perhaps you might also want to check out these two small scale publishers too. I will encourage you to check out this female author book making a great difference. Or perhaps you might enjoy this list of self-help books.