The Space Between: Going Hybrid
by Lizzy Charles
Hello, everyone! I’m delighted to be on Brenda’s blog today. First, I have to thank Brenda for sharing her corner of the Internet. I’ve always fan-girled over Brenda and her pitch contests (of which I’ve failed at brilliantly), so it’s a surreal experience to guest post here. I mean… Come on! It’s Brenda Drake’s blog!!!
Okay… Now that I’ve picked my jaw off the floor, I’d love to discuss one of my new risks as an author—going hybrid. My first experience with publishing was semi-traditional with a blush of indie—I signed with an agent and published two successful novels, Effortless With You and Perfectly Messy, with a small press. When I published with this press, I remember thinking “Cool, I’m an indie author now!” I enjoyed the community of my small press, and loved my editor and the detail the press put into its editorial process and covers. I learned so much!
Logically, with two successful novels under my belt, It would’ve made sense for me to follow up with another deal with the press, or submit to bigger publishers. Unfortunately, life took over and directed me down another route. For health reasons I needed to be able to control my own deadlines, so I knew it was time to embrace my dream of self-publishing a little earlier then planned and dive into the role of a hybrid author.
But in doing so, I’ve discovered myself exploring an incredibly gray area that I didn’t realize existed. You see, from an indie perspective I’m considered a traditional author, despite publishing with a small press. And the traditional world? Well, they consider my small press success as an indie success. And the audiences? They are split the same way!
So where does a hybrid author fit? Some would argue nowhere, but I think we’re the chameleons of the book industry. I don’t know why it shocked me that there are “cliques” within the publishing world. People group together. It’s what we do. I’ve never fit in with a clique though, of any sort, and that’s the key of being a hybrid author.
The challenge is all about dancing between the two lines of publishing. It’s a rich experience, not just “knowing” that all publishing is simply that- publishing, but living it. There are equal but different obstacles and both require immense work. You discover there is no “right road” for you, but rather per book. Some characters scream out hopes of a traditional route, while others boldly request the control that self publishing offers. like Autumn and Colt in my newest young adult novel, Bring the Rain.
When you choose the hybrid route you need to pledge to build bridges and stretch yourself between the publishing worlds. If you don’t put time and energy into your audience, they will easily fall into the abyss you straddle from above.
But just because this path is an evolving challenge, doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. When you’re hybrid, you have the opportunity to debut over and over, discover new audiences and new ways to connect.
I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to choose what’s best for Bring the Rain in our rapidly changing industry. So cheers to risks, new paths, and confidently choosing the right route at the right time. It’s awesome authors can take both avenues now.
Lizzy Charles, chocolate lover, mother of three, and neonatal intensive care nurse, is the bestselling author of Effortless With You and Perfectly Messy. Her next book, Bring the Rain, is available now. Available on Amazon, B&N, and more!