WHAT ARE THEY REALLY HIDING? One HUGE Red Flag to Watch Out For When Choosing a Publisher!

WHAT ARE THEY REALLY HIDING? One HUGE Red Flag to Watch Out For When Choosing a Publisher!

An author contacted me last week saying she was thrilled that she’d been offered book publishing contracts from two companies. She wanted to know which one she should choose. Sadly, since there were no prices on the publishers’ websites, she didn’t realize she was going to have to pay them for their services.

I checked out the first one, and was able to quickly find their average publishing price online in an author discussion list. It was a jaw-dropping $3,000.00!! They called themselves a “hybrid” publisher, which is a term that is grossly mis-used these days, across many industries.

hybrid: relating to or produced from parents of different species, varieties, or breeds; a thing made by combining two different elements; a mixture. (Thank you, Merriam-Webster)

A hybrid publisher is a cross between traditional and self-publishing. It will typically invest the funds in publishing an author’s book, but will not take all rights from the author for as long a period as a traditional publisher would. There are other variations as well but, put simply, a firm that charges authors anything at all for formatting, cover design, or other services to get the initial edition on the market is a self-publishing service, not a hybrid publisher.

Some firms claim to “pay half” of the author’s publishing fees…but are they really doing that? Three thousand dollars is MORE than enough to pay to publish a book. So, this firm’s claim that they would also be paying an additional $3,000 out of their pocket was a bunch of you-know-what.

So, what is an example of a true hybrid publisher?

AbuzzPress.com. Abuzz (which I own) charges authors nothing up front. The publishers takes the initial financial risk but only requires a three-year exclusive contract. Authors are then free to sell their books anywhere they choose, or to move to another publisher. However, Abuzz rejects most manuscripts, publishing only 10-15 new books per year.

With regards to the author I was assisting with research – I couldn’t find any rates for the second publisher that offered her a contract. So, I used a WritersWeekly email address, and contacted them. I had to first order their “publishing guide,” which is a fancy term that really means “spammy sales brochure.”

They asked for my address and phone number. Yeah, I’ve been spammed and buried in junk mail by too many publishers when doing this type of research in the past. So, I gave a fake address and a fake phone number, but a real email address. I also used my real name. Within the next few minutes, I received an email from them saying they couldn’t find my address in a database. I wrote back, saying I just wanted to know their prices.

The salesman responded with several separate emails that contained links to videos about their service. And, of course, nothing about prices. A week later, I received the exact same email from them asking for my real address. I’m now in their endless loop of spams.

You know the old saying: If you have to ask how much, you can’t afford it!

That’s how it works with companies that hide their prices until they know they’ve enticed you with  enough crappy marketing verbiage and false praise that you’re probably not going to walk away…even after you faint from sticker shock when their prices are finally revealed. It’s a classic marketing move. Don’t be fooled by it.

Do yourself a favor. When you see a publisher with no prices posted, do not walk away. Run. Any firm that must hide their prices from potential authors until they’ve exhausted all their false praise and hard-core, used-car-salesmen marketing pitches should be avoided at all costs.


Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.

About The Author


Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises.

WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.

BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."

Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.

PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!

Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.

Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)

See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.

ANGELA ON TWITTER https://twitter.com/AngelaHoy

BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!



Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE

90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book's Daily Marketing Plan by Angela Hoy and Richard Hoy

Promoting your book online should be considered at least a part-time job. Highly successful authors spend more time promoting a book than they do writing it - a lot more.

We know what you're thinking. You're an author, not a marketer. Not to worry! We have more than a decade of successful online book selling experience under our belts and we're going to teach you how to promote your book effectively online...and almost all of our techniques are FREE!

Online book promotion is not only simple but, if you have a step-by-step, day-to-day marketing plan (this book!), it can also be a very artistic endeavor, which makes it fun for creative folks like you!

Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90...and beyond!

4 Responses to "WHAT ARE THEY REALLY HIDING? One HUGE Red Flag to Watch Out For When Choosing a Publisher!"

  1. Barry Knister  July 27, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Hello Angela. Your discussion of hybrid vs a self-publishing service raises questions for me regarding my own publisher. This company has transitioned from a self-publishing service to what they self- describe as a hybrid publisher. In the past, they have developed good-looking, carefully proofread books for me, so I signed various legal contracts with them when they transitioned. I knew I was giving up some freedom to make decisions, and that was fine. But since the publisher spends little (not nothing) on promotion, I have lately invested in a marketing firm that is currently conducting a Facebook campaign for one of my novels. The marketer asked me to get .mobi and ebook files, so she could offer free ebooks to those willing to write reviews. My publisher refused to provide the files, saying another writer had misused ebook files. Does this refusal comport with what you understand to be a reasonable position for a publisher to take? If not, I may have to reconsider where I stand. Thanks a lot.

    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  July 27, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      Hi Barry,

      I find it astounding that your publisher changed their rights and other processes and made you sign a new contract on books you already paid to have them publish. I think it’s also astounding that they won’t give you copies of your ebook files for promotional purposes. At BookLocker.com, we give authors copies of their epub and mobi files to use as they please, including if they want to sell those versions on their own website. Our philosophy is, if the author paid for the service, they should own those files 100%.


  2. Pamela Allegretto  July 27, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Such great information and advice.

  3. Tatiana Claudy  July 27, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Angela, thank you so much for another eye-opening article!