Rise of the Hybrid Author

To Self Publish or Not

Not long ago, literary agents sold books to publishers, publishers sold books to booksellers, and booksellers sold books to the reading public. But as the book publishing industry continues to consolidate and contract, mid-list authors find it increasingly difficult to land contracts with their previous publisher. Enter the new hybrid author.

While the definition of hybrid author remains fluid, the term generally means a traditionally published author who occasionally self-publishes when the project is served best by taking full ownership.

When To Go Hybrid
First, make sure you have a platform to sell your books. Successful hybrid authors know their readers, have access to their reader’s contact information via newsletters, emails, fan mail, and usually have an extensive social media reach. If, as an author, you are doing the bulk of the marketing and moving the majority of the books, hybrid may be a good option for you. Here are three publishing options for hybrid authors.

Traditional Publisher

  • Large advance (any figure over $1000)
  • Heavily invested in bookstore distribution
  • Submits your work to prestigious review outlets
  • Physical location with salaried employees
  • Prints books offset press and stores them in distribution centers
  • Pay royalties on a quarter or semi-annual basis

Advantages of a Traditional Publisher
Traditional publishing remains the gold standard. Often you receive an advance, validation or your work (the house is paying you to write), and the prestige of reviews, bookstore distribution, and hope that your book will become a best seller. While the number of slots continues to dwindle, remaining loyal to a house (and waiting longer for a contract) may pay dividends later.

Small Press

  • None or a very small advance ($50 to $200)
  • Very little bookstore and library exposure
  • Few salaried employees
  • Virtual staff
  • Ability to adjust or adapt a title after its release
  • Agile marketing
  • Treat imprints as consumer brands
  • Use print–on-demand
  • Heavily promotes ebooks
  • Higher royalty percentages than with traditional houses

Advantages of a Small Press
Small press publishing gives debut and mid-list authors the chance to write and sell more books – provided their titles sell a reasonable number of copies. With a lower overhead, a small press doesn’t need to sell as many copies to recoup its investment. Many mid-list authors find that a small press is the best option since the author does not pay for the book’s production yet still retains some input in the book’s title, cover, and marketing.

Self Publishing

You pay for the production of your book, marketing services, and / or may be required to purchase a certain number of books.

According to Bowker, the number of self-published titles in 2013 “increased to more than 458,564, up 17 percent over 2012 and 437 percent over 2008.” Bowker’s data is based on ISBNs issued. It’s widely acknowledged that self-published authors frequently avoid buying an ISBN, so the number of titles is certainly larger.

Advantages of a Self Publishing
Self-publishing give authors the most control over their books. Authors can often buy books for much lower than what a small press might offer. This is important if you are a speaker and expect to move most of your books at the back of the room. Many self-pub firms offer extensive marketing for a fee. With self-pub, you risk your money but have more control and receive a greater share of the profits. Below are several self publishing firms.

(Note: The listing of these links does not represent our endorsement of these companies. We define self publishing as any firm that requires you to spend money in order to have your book published.)

Write to the Wound

Write to the Wound

Write to the Wound

First comes the purpose: then the person.

Your shape comes from the pressure placed upon you as God delivers you into your role as writer.  We feel God’s joy when we do what God created us to do.  This is also your purpose, so write from your place of pain.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”

You were wounded for a purpose—His purpose—so write to the wound.

Your pain provides the power in your words, so look beneath the scars and remember the hurt. It is there you will find inspiration, a wellspring of empathy, and your voice.

You were made by God and for God to speak about God. This is your gift and His glory.

He placed this dream in your heart, not you. If you write for yourself you will become weary. Writing is hard work and too often the pay is paltry.

But if you write to touch the wounds of others your words will have eternal value.

So Ask Yourself

  • What has God revealed to me through my pain?
  • What wisdom can I glean from the experiences of Biblical characters?
  • Are there lessons in your daily journal that God placed on your heart? (You do keep a prayer journal, right?)
  • How has God shaped you for this book?
  • Is now the time to write this book?
  • Who needs this book? Think of a specific individual. Picture them reading your book.

Imagine how your words might touch them in their moment of grief.

Writing Through your Wound

Your past doesn’t control your future so don’t focus on your inadequacies.

Focus instead on the greed, resentment, loneliness, guilt, anger, fear, addiction or materialism you see in others.

Ask: “How has God worked through my wound to change me?” Then write through your wound.