What is Contemporary Publishing?

Contemporary (also called partnership or hybrid) publishing, like traditional publishing, is a business model publishers use to produce books. We view the contemporary model as a counterpart to the traditional model in the evolving world of publishing.

Contemporary publishers use what is called an “author‑subsidized” business model. Instead of receiving an advance, authors invest in the cost of the book project by paying the publisher for their services. In exchange, the publisher offers a higher-than-standard share of sales proceeds (or royalties) to the author. 

Both the publisher and author are investing in the project (in terms of finances, expertise, time, and work), and both benefit from a successful title. In all other ways beside finances — from editorial, production, distribution, rights and metadata management, to marketing — contemporary publishing is exactly like traditional publishing.

Contemporary with H2C     IBPA Hybrid Standards     TL;DR

In contemporary publishing, regardless of who pays for editorial, design, and production fees, it’s always the publisher that bears responsibility for producing, distributing, and ultimately selling professional‑quality books.

Contemporary Publishing with How2Conquer

Depending on an author’s goals for their book and how it fits into their wider platform, we offer both traditional and contemporary contracts to find a model that works best for each project.

The only differences between contemporary and traditional publishing contracts are how the project is funded and how royalties are broken down. In all other regards, projects completed under contemporary and traditional contracts are the same.

As creatives ourselves, we’ve been on both sides of the table when it comes to putting our work out into the world. We offer our authors the best quality and services possible, while keeping an eye on innovation and changes in the publishing industry.

The contemporary publishing model offers benefits for the success of both authors and publishers.

For Authors

Contemporary publishing often appeals to emerging authors with a small platform and an eye toward growth. Author platforms tend to have multiple elements that feed off one another, such as speaking engagements, consulting services, etc. For these authors, contemporary publishing offers an opportunity to complement their service offerings and/or brand building efforts.

For authors looking for an additional income stream, contemporary publishing models enable them to begin collecting royalties as soon as the book begins selling — instead of after they’ve “earned out” their advance, as in a traditional model.

For Publishers

Publishing is an industry where profit margins are razor thin, even when publishers aren’t offering 60-80% royalties. When an author and publisher invest in the upfront cost of production together, the publisher takes on less financial risk. By offering contemporary publishing contracts, we are able to publish more manuscripts and keep the lights on longer.

We offer traditional contracts on a case-by-case basis — it’s not a 50/50 split. We select the contract that will work best for our author, their goals, and our company.

We offer contemporary contracts as a standard, unless our publisher believes the work warrants a traditional contract.

Some authors request a contemporary contract because it better fits their goals for their book. For example, if an author was planning to use their book as part of a service offering, company/brand building, or to support their expertise in consulting or professional speaking, they might decide a contemporary contract is a better option for them.


Although contemporary publishers are author-subsidized, they are different from other author‑subsidized models (i.e., self-publishing service providers, vanity presses). Contemporary contracts include the same services as traditional contracts, and publishers must adhere to professional publishing standards. (See a comparison of different publishing models below.)

In order to be considered a hybrid publisher by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), publishers must meet specific criteria. 

IBPA Hybrid Standards

Our boilerplate contemporary publishing contract calculates an all‑inclusive services package cost based on the same estimated hours and line item expenses we budget for projects completed under traditional contracts.

This total investment is split between How2Conquer and the author, with the author covering about 40% or less of the total investment while receiving over 50% of the book’s royalties post-publication. As the average cost of publishing a book is about $21,000, the author’s investment typically comes out to $8,500 for a book under 250 pages. This is just an estimate.

Our contemporary contracts include the same services as our traditional contracts, covered by the all‑inclusive services package. This includes: author care, project management, editing, production, design, printing, distribution, marketing, and rights and metadata management. 

There are no surprise fees or costs added at a later time.

Read About Our Services

Traditional Contracts
Contemporary Contracts
Advance Author receives an advance against royalties after signing the contract. After royalties surpass this advance, author begins to collect royalties. Author does not receive an advance, but they begin collecting royalties at publication.
Print Royalties
First 5,000 Print Copies Sold 10% 60%
Next 10,000 Print Copies Sold 15%
In Excess of 15,000 Print Copies Sold 20%
Digital Royalties (includes ebooks and audiobooks, as applicable)
First 5,000 Digital Copies Sold 25% 80%
Next 10,000 Digital Copies Sold 35%
In Excess of 15,000 Digital Copies Sold 50%
Royalty Projections

We are happy to provide you with royalty projections based on our sales projections. Understand that we don’t have a crystal ball, however, and sometimes things beyond anyone’s control impact how well a book will sell. While we promote all our books as a publisher, book sales are also directly correlated to the time and effort an author puts into promotion. 

Projections are not guarantees.

“Working with How2Conquer was a journey of discovery, love, and respect. The team were responsive, caring, supportive, and always found time to answer my quirky questions.”

Carlos Francisco, author of So, You Want to Get into Corporate Security?

IBPA Hybrid Publishing Standards

The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) maintains a list of criteria to promote standards and quality control amongst publishers who offer more than just traditional contracts, often called partnership or hybrid contracts. In order to be considered a hybrid publisher by the IBPA, a publisher must meet this criteria.

Define a mission and vision for its publishing program.
Vet submissions.
Commit to truth and transparency in business practices.
Provide a negotiable, easy-to-understand contract for each book published.
Publish under its own imprint(s) and ISBNs.
Publish to industry standards.
Ensure editorial, design, and production quality.
Pursue and manage a range of publishing rights.
Provide distribution services.
Demonstrate respectable sales.
Pay authors a higher-than-standard royalty.

Comparing Publishing Models


Invests in Project

Receives Advance

Receives Royalties/ Revenue

Vets Submissions

Ensures Quality

Provides Distribution

Provides Marketing

Benefits from Sales

Traditional Publishing  
Hybrid (Partnership, Contemporary) Publishing  
Self Publishing        
Vanity Publishing            


IBPA Publishing MAP (Models and Author Pathways)

Launched in February 2024, the IBPA Publishing MAP is a free resource for the book publishing industry and for authors looking at different pathways to getting their creative works published.

Download the IBPA Publishing MAP