Hybrid Authors

I’ve been learning a lot about the business side of writing recently, thanks to my sudden fascination with podcasts. I’m learning about AMS ads, how to use Instagram better, and how to write faster, tighter pieces.

The best thing I’ve learned, by far, is that I’m not a special snowflake as a hybrid writer.

If you’ve never heard me use that phrase before, or if you’re just not familiar with it, it means that I am traditionally published and self-published.

Surprise, I’m no special. But, this is so much better. First off, it means that this is a viable career path. Even better it means that I’m on the path of writers that I admire. Great writers, like Kevin J. Anderson. You know, one of the best Star War authors ever.

I love that other hybrid authors do it for the same reason I always have.

I publish traditionally because it’s a way to gain notoriety. Publishing companies also do a lot of the work for you and take on almost all of the financial risks. But they also get to make major decisions. They can dictate a lot of what you do with your work. They can get rights of first refusal for other books and even partially own your characters. Please read your contract carefully before you sign it.

I actually haven’t experienced any of this personally. My publisher, Solstice, has always done right by me. They work hard to advertise, their editors are wonderful, and they are quick to get back with me on any question. They’ve also never asked me to change a thing about my books, which was the big thing for me.

Self-publishing is a little more wild, a little more dangerous. It involves investing money, sometimes a good amount of money. It involves a lot of time doing writing work that has nothing to do with writing. It involves a lot of long days and not a lot of sleeping. For me, it involves roping a spouse in to do a ton of tech stuff.

It means that I am completely in control, though. The editing, the cover, the advertising, the distribution. It’s all on me, and whatever team I put together. Because, of course, writing requires a team. (More on that in a future blog post.)

Doing both though, it’s the best of both worlds. I can put out Station 86 books as quick as I can create them, while Woven books go through a traditional publisher.

The only problem is, this only works if you’re not writing just one continuing series. For someone like me, who gets bored, this works really well. At least it has so far.

If you have the sort of temperament to do that sort of thing, or if you don’t write series, being a hybrid author is a smart way to stay flexible. And, in a field that keeps changing day after day, flexibility is crucial for survival. (Sorry for the drama. I’m watching American Horror Story.)

So what do you think? Are you a hybrid author, or do you have a preference for one camp or the other? Let us know in the comments below.

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