There’s a good chance that if you have spent any time looking at publishing options for your book, that’ll you have come across the term ‘hybrid publishing’. This is a relatively new term and worthy of some clarification.
In this article, you’ll discover what hybrid publishing means, you’ll uncover the pros and cons of hybrid publishing, and you’ll find out if hybrid publishing is right for you.
What is Hybrid Publishing?
The term hybrid publishing has started to be used more commonly in recent years. It is a term authors give to a publishing career that encompasses books that are both self-published and published by traditional publishing companies.
For example, let’s say you write your first novel. It’s a thriller about a maverick cop trying to catch a serial killer. You pitch your book to a handful of agents, but get no positive replies. After six months, you decide that self-publishing is the best option.
Your book sells well and it spurs you on to write a sequel. Your first thought is to self-publish the second book, but you decide to give agents one more try. This time you have some success and an agent agrees to represent your book. They find a small independent publisher that wants to publish your book and you secure a book deal. The book is published and sells OK. You enjoy the process.
You now have the writing bug and decide to write a collection of short stories. You talk to your agent and they feel that though they like your book, it is not ‘commercial’ enough for them. You both agree that self-publishing will be the best option.
This example is a great illustration of hybrid publishing. The author is picking the option that is best for their book at each step of the process. They end up with a career that sees books both self-published and published by traditional publishers.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Hybrid Publishing?
The nature of hybrid publishing means that for many authors it is more of an evolution than a revolution. Writers tend to ease themselves into the process as they try to find the best options for their books. This said, there are a few elements that need to be considered.
One advantage of hybrid publishing is the flexibility it brings to an author. It means that, at no point, is an author tied into any one option. It gives authors a freedom from the demands of publishers. It also means that an author is never left in a situation where a book they have written has no publishing ‘home’.
The flip side of flexibility is instability. The fact that an author has no one clear path to publication means that each book is faced with a certain level of instability – Will the agent like it? Will they find a publisher? Should they self-publish? It also means that an author may struggle to build a long term relationship with both their agent and publisher, who may feel a little aggrieved that they choose to opt for self-publishing.
Is Hybrid Publishing Right for You?
The reality of hybrid publishing is that an author often drifts into it out of necessity, rather than choice. It tends to come about when an author is unable to secure a deal with an agent/publisher and turns to self-publishing. The other path is the opposite, where an author has been self-publishing and then finds an agent/publisher interested in their work. It is not uncommon for agents to ‘follow’ the Amazon charts and approach the bestselling self-publishing authors with potential traditional book deals.
Hybrid publishing is becoming increasingly common and this trend looks set to continue. The traditional publishing industry are looking to the self-publishing world for the ‘next big thing’, whilst authors are comfortable with switching between both traditional and self-publishing.
In summary, the choice to opt for the hybrid publishing path is probably one that you will take out of necessity rather than desire. The good news is that hybrid publishing is pushing the power back into the hands of authors. Traditionally published authors are painfully aware that self-publishing is now a very viable option for many writers. It is only a matter of time before we see big authors opting to bypass a big publisher and publish their own work.