The “hybrid author”

In today’s wild publishing world, there’s a new, fun term floating around.

Meet… the hybrid author.

Just think, two years ago, if you were querying an agent and you mentioned you had a self-published book, it would probably work against you.  Sure, there are those rare cases when someone makes it big with a self-published book, but generally speaking, you queried an agent about a new project and that was it.

After last years explosion of book publishing thanks to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other great vendors, being self-published doesn’t necessarily carry the same stigma as it used to.  In the past, self-published could imply it as a book that nobody else wanted.  Does that hold true today?  In some cases, yes.  In most cases though, authors are now taking the reigns themselves, and getting their foot in the door the best way they can… with sales.

Face it, publishing is a business and a business is about money.  Separating art from business is tough, but it does mix together.

If someone now publishes a book on their own and sells a few thousand copies, builds a platform, gets good reviews, and has future plans, they can now reach out to agents and talk about it.  I think this is amazing because it allows authors to get out there and build themselves while looking for an agent.

More so, authors are signing contracts to have their agents sell their books traditionally while they are still self-publishing their own books.  This is where the term hybrid author comes from.  It’s an author who works in both traditional and self-published publishing.  It’s like the best of both worlds when you think about it.

An author can get an agent and sell their thriller book but at the same time can write romance books under a pen name and sell them themselves.

To me, that’s what publishing is all about… it’s about writing, about publishing, and about getting books and words in front of readers.

There are changes that seem to come everyday in publishing now, but I embrace the fact that agents now embrace self-published authors.  I find it commendable that agents will look at someone who took the time work so hard to get their book out to an audience on their own.  Nothing is harder than building that platform and gaining those loyal readers.  And when you think about it, by doing that, you’re doing some of the agents and publishers jobs…

The point is times have changed and are changing.  I love the idea of authors having freedom to do what they want and still have the ability to work with big publishers.  I personally have nothing against big publishing or indie publishing.  I feel that if the two work together, the industry will survive and thrive for years to come.

I believe there will be many MANY more hybrid authors popping up because if you’re an established author, with a following, with a track record of sales, you can make a living from writing.  For those authors who decide to branch out to agents and big publishers, I commend them because playing all sides of the field is important.  We were born with two eyes and we need to use both eyes to see everything.

Don’t push away any opportunities if and when they come.


2 Responses to “The “hybrid author””

  1. Matt Robb says:

    Jim, your article makes me think about all the professional musicians who have signed with major labels, and then ultimately break away from them to begin their own labels so that they have more creative control. And then there’s the emerging musicians who can’t get signed to a major label, so they self-produce and distribute in order to continue producing and sharing their art.

    While I claim little to no knowledge of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, I think ultimately if you’re a writer — and talented at that — you can do no harm going one route vs. the other. I think you hit it — traditional publishing is a business. If you start making a name for yourself as a self-published author, someone traditional publishing house will eventually come knocking because they’ll recognize that they can get a piece of the pie.

  2. Thank you for your post.

    I am a published author, but I plan to self publish my current work.

    It will cost, and if done thoroughly, it will be as time consuming as writing the book itself, but after months of research, I am convinced this is the way to go.

    If one has a platform ie a blog, website or Twitter that is appreciated,I believe one is in with a chance of being picked up by a traditional publisher.

    If not, the product is out there and if any good in the first instance, it will interest potential readers/buyers.

    Hey, any publisher reading this comment, feel able to look at my website:it might be your lucky day.