Three Perspectives on Hybrid Authors

A hybrid author is someone who uses both traditional publishing and self-publishing. Though the reasons for pursuing this dual approach are many, there are two base motivations: more sales or more income.

Generally, traditionally published books are better vetted, have higher quality, enjoy wider distribution, and produce more sales.

The benefits of self-publishing tend to be faster publication, more author control, greater profit per sale, and much faster access to profits.

1) Author Perspective: For the author, self-publishing some books, while traditionally publishing others, offers the best of both worlds. Taking the hybrid approach results in dual revenue streams and potentially more books on the market with greater readership. And at its base level, isn’t that what every author wants: more readers and the chance to earn a living?

2) Publisher Perspective: Publishers can have many worries about authors who take the hybrid approach. From a macro standpoint, more self-publishing means less traditional publishing – and that’s bad for the industry.

From a practical assessment, authors who also self-publish divide their focus, time, and energy between two or more projects. This suggests they spend less time writing, so the quality may not be as good. They may have less time to promote their traditionally published books because they spend more time promoting their self-published works. They could damage their reputation if their self-published books are not as good. Also, they could confuse their audience (be it called their community, platform, or tribe) if they publish in multiple genres, use different styles, or target different readers.

3) Enlightened Publisher Perspective: While all these publisher concerns are valid, an alternate view is that if these risks can be minimized or controlled, the result can be a larger author platform, a better reputation, and the likelihood of selling more of the author’s traditionally published books.

To do this, traditional publishers can offer their authors career advice and strategic planning for all their books. They can encourage their authors to pursue greater quality in their self-published works, even to the point of letting them tap into their network of freelance editors, designers, and marketers.

When done wisely, hybrid authors can benefit themselves as well as their traditional publishers.

[Also consider hybrid publishing.]

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