Announcing Wayfarer Books' Hybrid Track
A New Path for Authors Seeking Publication
LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
Dear Writers & Readers,
To survive as a community, as an art form, as an industry, as a company…we have had to re-imagine our role as a publisher and how best to serve our community of artists and readers. We have structured and restructured over time as the industry changed shape and we are evolving again.
From 2016 – 2020, I had the opportunity to serve as a member of the Board of Directors for the largest trade association for publishers in the United States, the Independent Book Publisher’s Association. During my time there, one of the more controversial issues we took on at the time was the creation of Hybrid Publishing Houses and how to hold those publishers to the same standard we would expect from a traditional trade publisher.
During my tenure, I represented Homebound Publications, which follows a traditional distribution format, and brought my experience of that model to the table. However, I was fortunate to learn the hybrid model from industry vanguards. The publishing industry has been turned on its head by supply-chain issues, a global paper shortage, hostile corporate retailers, indie bookstore closures during the pandemic, and the overall corporate consolidation of the industry—narrowing indie voices even further.
I have been involved in the hybrid discussion since my time with the board of the IBPA. In 2018, during my time with the Board, we drafted the first iteration of IBPA’s Hybrid Publisher Criteria, a list of nine criteria defining what it means to be a professional hybrid publisher. In 2022, the 9-point list of criteria was updated and expanded to an 11-point list via a process that included the current IBPA Board of Directors approval—charting the way for us.
Hybrid publishing models (when done to standard) have always been about self-agency, self-advocacy, and going beyond the gatekeepers. I find this new option for publication is in alignment with the community of writers and readers I helped to found nearly fifteen years ago.
Connor Wolfe, Founder & Publisher
Homebound Publications & Wayfarer Books
MORE ABOUT US
At Wayfarer Books & Homebound Publications, we believe poetry is the language of the earth. We believe words—like rivers through wild places—can change the shape of the world. We publish poets and writers and renegades who stand outside of mainstream culture—poets, essayists, and storytellers whose work might withstand the scrutiny of crows and coyotes, those who are cryptic and floral, the crepuscular, and the queer-at-heart. We are more than just a publisher but a community of writers. Our mission is to produce books that can serve as a compass and map to all wayfarers through wild terrain.
Understanding the Structure of Our Company
Homebound Publications is our founding division and follows a traditional publishing model. We have full distribution and sales representation through Publishers Group West, a division of Ingram Publisher Services.
Wayfarer Books (Traditional Track) is a division devoted to a PTO model (print-to-order, forming known as print on demand); we print through Ingram and have wholesale availability to 40,000+ trade retailers (Amazon, B&N, Indie Bookstores, etc.) via Ingram. Most importantly, our titles are offered at the standard terms expected by retailers from the larger houses.
Wayfarer Books (Hybrid-track *New Option) Is our latest imprint offering a hybrid route for those authors who are willing to subsidize their own project to help shoulder the financial investment in the project, allowing us to take on the project that would otherwise be impossible due to lean budgets. Wayfarer Books’ Hybrid Track is operated as a PTO/POD model; we print through Ingram and have wholesale availability to 40,000+ trade retailers (Amazon, B&N, Indie Bookstores, etc.) via Ingram. And, as with all our imprints, We offer our titles at the standard terms expected by retailers from the larger houses (45% – 55% Discount and Full Returnability).
Wayfarer Magazine is our digital and print publication that offers serialized and short content.
What is Hybrid Publishing
In short, hybrid-publishing utilizes an author-subsidized business model rather than taking on the entire financial investment alone, which is the case in “Traditional” publishing.
In a traditional publishing model, the author submits their manuscript for review, and if chosen by the circle of editors for publication, the author is extended a royalty contract (for between 7-10%), and the publisher takes on the financial investment alone.
Following the hybrid track, an author submits their manuscript, it is reviewed by the circle of editors and, (like with all submissions), we will determine if the book will suit our library, and if chosen for publication, we will extend a contract (for 25% royalties to the author) and the author pays a flat, all-inclusive hybrid-track package fee to help offset the investment for the book.
What is the difference between a “vanity press” and a hybrid-publisher? A “vanity press” accepts any project that comes their way—there is no editorial review process. 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 differ from other author-subsidized models (i.e., self-publishing service providers) in that hybrid publishers adhere—without exception—to IBPA’s Hybrid Publisher Criteria. Regardless of who pays for editorial, design, and production fees, it is always the publisher that bears responsibility for producing, distributing, and ultimately selling professional-quality books.
IBPA’s Hybrid Publisher Criteria points to functions that a reputable hybrid publisher is expected to perform. It’s up to each hybrid publishing company to figure out and explain, how it performs each function. An author-subsidized business model in no way relieves a publisher of its editorial, design, marketing, sales, and distribution responsibilities.
How Much Does it All Cost?
Professional Custom cover design
Custom interior design
E-book file conversion and parallel distribution through retailers including Kindle, Nook, iTunes, etc.
Copyright filing with the Library of Congress
ISBNs under Wayfarer Books provided for all editions
Ongoing print management for the lifespan of your book
Management of title metadata for the lifespan of the book
Fulfilment of all orders on short-run printed books (author or customer pays shipping)
Proofreading of your final manuscript
Wholesale availability of your title to 40,000+ trade retailers (indie bookstores, Amazon, B&N, Bookshop.org, iTunes, etc.) through our distribution partner, Ingram, at the terms retailers expect.
Guidance on getting your books into bookstores, libraries, and other trade outlets.
Feedback on social media placement and platform building.
Poetry Title: $3500
Non-fiction Title: $5000
*Sliding scale available for authors with limited income or from marginalized communities.)
Why is the cost so high? Our competitors charge $9500 for the same package.