Straddling the Hybrid World

By Sara Dahmen {blog coordinator}

In light of the many wonderful suggestions from our membership about what kind of blog posts might be interesting, one question put out was the following: what is it like being a hybrid author – both publishing indie and traditionally at the same time – and how is it possible to successfully navigate those worlds?

Answer? Not a clue.

But I know I’d personally absolutely love to hear the stories of the WWW membership who swim in such waters. There are many of us, as well as many aspiring writers out there who may be independently published (self or even small press) who might look at WWW members as a bit more career savvy in this department. I hope to hear from many of you in the coming weeks about your story – here (email me at as I’d love to compile a blog post on tips and experiences for posterity and widespread reading!) or on the social threads.

While I certainly don’t consider myself to personally be savvy as a hybrid author, I’m happy to start the conversation off. And it wasn’t until one of our members posed the question that I realized the definition of hybrid author applied to me!

I self-published in 2014 under my husband’s urges. I’d long planned to simply write for my own personal enjoyment and to never let anyone see the manuscripts on my desktop until I’d been dead for years (and then I hoped to enjoy an amazing postmortem celebrity status…well, a girl can dream). With Amazon’s platform growing, I thought…why not?

Several awards later, the self-published book has been pulled, prodded, and almost completely redone under the watchful eyes of a west-coast publishing house. The single book I’d created as a form of therapy has now become a series (which is painfully harder to do than I’d ever imagined), and instead of my own eyes and a few others who read for spelling errors, the editing process is painstakingly overwhelming (“let’s change character names! Hair color! Heck, let’s have your main character sleep with her brother-in-law!”) though in the end it created a better novel.

I still self-publish some books on the side now, under pseudonyms or within a different genre. And you know what I think? Both processes have their own set of pros and cons.

Truly, I can’t wait to hear what others have experienced, but in the meantime, here’s my short list:

Indie: You control your timeline, your marketing, your cover, your creative content, and your plots. You decide how fast to write, you manage how you want to invest in your business, and you can try anything. Downsides? It can be expensive, marketing yourself and books is a full-time gig in itself, and the distribution is tough to nail down. And it’s really hard to take your book to the next level (international rights, media, etc).

Traditional: You have the backing of a big name, a horde of editors to help you polish, professional designers, gigantic distribution models, and a team of people invested in your success. Downsides? You have less creative control, there’s still some investment of your time and dollars if you do it right, and you still have to do a lot of your own platform building and marketing unless you’re like…James Patterson.

So, you all tell me. Is the hybrid experience tricky? Easy?

A bit like having your cake and eating it too?

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3 Responses to Straddling the Hybrid World

  1. heidiwriter says:

    My first four books are traditionally published, but I went Indie with my fifth. I like having more control over pricing (my publisher prices my e-books at $15!!), but I’m not selling as many books online anyway. I’ve done well in person however, at talks, craft fairs, etc. Time will tell, I suppose, as I don’t seem to be earning much in royalties through the publisher anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After 25 years and 50+ titles as a traditionally published mystery author, I’ve made the move to indie. My reasons: more control and (frankly) better income from my writing, especially ebook income. I began this process as a hybrid in 2013 by publishing an indie standalone (others in 2015 and 2017) and have made it final by declining my publisher’s best offer for a new contract for the mysteries. I created my own imprint and am about to publish my first mystery under that imprint (in hardcover, ebook, audio, and large print), continuing an existing series that was begun with my traditional publisher. I’ll publish another hardcover in that series later this year, as well as an ebook-only novella trilogy. I’m excited about being able to publish more of my work than I could in the old model–and have more control over marketing and pricing. What interesting times we live in!


  3. jagrout says:

    My one published work is Indy all the way. When one doesn’t know the alternative route and what the disadvantages are, it sounds very enticing: “You have the backing of a big name, a horde of editors to help you polish, professional designers, gigantic distribution models, and a team of people invested in your success.” Doing all the unfamiliar tasks of sales and marketing can be time-consuming and draining. I hope to find an agent who will find a publisher so all I have to do is the promo part – I love to speak in public!


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