John Köehler, author, graphic artist, and founder of Köehler Books Publishing, understands the frustrations of authors who, despite the quality of their writing, have found that there isn’t a place for their work within the limited landscape of traditional publishing. Tired of the agent waiting game and the lack of authorial control over the publishing process, Köehler began publishing his own books in 2004. His titles include a collection of his art, a reflection on life with bipolar disorder, and numerous works of fiction.

When several of his author friends saw the quality of the finished books, they wanted in too. And so, a hybrid publishing company was born. Only, when he launched Köehler Publishing in 2010, Köehler says, he didn’t use the term “hybrid press.” Instead, he preferred “copublisher.” The moniker gets to the heart of what matters most to Köehler and the mission statement behind his eponymous platform. “We believe in working very closely with our authors... collaboration is the key,” he says. “That’s because the author is the most knowledgeable person, the expert for the work.”

Köehler primarily publishes nonfiction, though it also welcomes novels. That said, the house doesn’t publish every submission—in fact, it is highly selective, publishing fewer than 20% of the books submitted. Köehler emphasizes that the quality of writing is the single most important ingredient that goes into a successful book. And if that quality isn’t present in the work from the get-go, it’s a hard pass. “The biggest chunk of the iceberg is quality,” Köehler says. “The readers as a group cannot be fooled.”

For Köehler, the benefits of publishing with a hybrid press are numerous. Writers can expect to get their books to market much faster than if they’d pursued the traditional publishing route. It also gives authors more participation with editing and creative development. And publishing with Köehler provides authors with something that is perhaps even more valuable: the knowledge they need to protect the integrity of their work and to find their readers.

Among hybrid publishers, Köehler notably stands apart: in addition to hybrid publishing, the house offers traditional publishing contracts to select books—around 5%–10% of titles published each month. For Köehler, this helps to establish credibility in a publishing world that still maintains a degree of skepticism about hybrid houses, and it enables them to showcase deserving titles.

Another perk of publishing with Köehler: if a title sells 2,000 or more combined copies of e-books, print editions, and audiobooks, including copies the author purchases from the publisher, the author is offered a traditional publishing deal for their next book. The opportunity serves as additional motivation for writers to champion their work. Which is not to say that Köehler authors are left to promote their books on their own. In addition to a full range of in-house services, including editing, cover design, and distribution through Ingram, Köehler provides robust marketing support—something Köehler personally takes very seriously.

“I’m the marketing guru,” Köehler says. “After publishing over 1,300 books and talking to a lot of agents, I’ve picked up a thing or two.” He’s even added to his own body of work, with two books on publishing and marketing books—The Pocket Guide to Book Marketing and The Pocket Guide to Publishing. Both are free downloads on the website.

From development to editing and promotional campaigns, Köehler Books Publishing remains transparent every step of the way. Authors can see exactly what they will spend before they begin their publishing journey. And should they have questions or want to compare experiences with other authors, there’s a community there to support them. Köehler hosts a private Facebook page just for that purpose. Via the Köehler website, authors and readers can even vote on cover design options for their books.

Beyond the house’s comprehensive approach to publishing, Köehler books speak for themselves—as do their successful, satisfied authors. According to author Betsy Ashton, “Writers fortunate enough to sign with Köehler Publishing experience a true partnership between writer and editors, and writer and publisher.” It’s a well-deserved endorsement for a publisher that—through a commitment to quality, integrity, and building community—is truly meeting the moment for today’s authors.