Lately, I've seen lots of posts on the emerging trend of more writers becoming self-published and traditionally published authors turning to a combination of self-publishing and traditional as new Hybrid Authors. There are excellent reasons that have been given for pursing both avenues of publication.
If you follow Digital Book World, they are a wealth of information for anyone interested in self-publishing ebooks. Lots of agents and editors have written blog posts defending traditional publication. A few weeks ago, I wrote an article listing advantages and disadvantages to self-publishing on Midlist Authors Avoiding the Sinking Sand. But what about Hybrid Publishing? What are the advantages of doing both?
Some of these authors have arrived to the Hybrid status by doing well on their own as self-published and catching the eye of a publisher that later offered them a traditional publishing contract. Others have gone in the opposite direction and worked hard to become traditionally published. Later these traditional authors released old books as ebooks when they earned back the rights to their backlist or came up with a unique idea that a traditional publisher didn't want to risk investing in and the author decided to self-publish it.
Regardless of how these authors arrived to Hybrid status, it is safe to say that many are finding this third option a successful route with less of the stigma that was once associated with it. As time marches on and a new generation of authors, editors, agents and publishers are raised up in the digital culture without the "personal experience" of how things once were in print only, I would venture to say that the old stigma on these Hybrid Authors may blend in so much that it disappears altogether.
Why do I say this? Because history does repeat itself. We have seen similar circumstances in various business industries, cultures, inventions, and technologies. What the older generations continue to resist and refuse to adapt, new generations will carry forward and perfect.
I am NOT saying that the stigma of poorly developed stories, lack of good grammar and editing will miraculously disappear or that all self-published books are like this, but what I AM saying is that Hybrid Authors have proven themselves in the traditional market. Unlike self-published only authors who have not proven themselves in the traditional market, Hybrid Authors have this validation and are branding themselves in a new light.
The key to their success will be the same as it is with traditionally published midlist authors: Platform, Distribution & Sales.
If Hybrid Authors can be successful at building their platform and marketing their books to promote sales--they will be successful either way--but keep in mind that everyone's measure of success is different. For instance, I'm not used to living on a medical doctor's income, so my definition of success in relation to what I can live on may be less than a medical doctor who transitions into being an author. It's the same with a school teacher vs a corporate attorney.
What about you? Do you think you could build your platform and market your books enough to be self-published, an Hybrid Author, or a midlist author? Do you think the stigma of self-publication will go away or is already diminishing? How much does marketing and platform pay a role?
Expanding Options for Publishing: The New Hybrid Author
New York Times Article on Authors Going Indie Fails to Mention Main Consideration in Publishing
Why Big-Time Authors Jump Ship
5 Surprises About Self-Publishing
How Can I Make More Money Via Traditional or Self-Pub?