A hybrid author is someone who uses both traditional publishing and indie 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 indie-publishing tend to be faster publication, more author control, greater profit per sale, and much faster access to profits.
1. Author Perspective of being a Hybrid Author
For the author, indie 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 the 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 for a Hybrid Author
Publishers can have many worries about authors who take the hybrid approach. From a macro standpoint, more indie publishing means less traditional publishing—and that’s bad for the industry.
From a practical assessment, authors who also indie 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 indie-published works.
- They could damage their reputation if their indie-published books are not as good.
- 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 for a Hybrid Author
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 indie-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.)
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.