The world of publishing is changing fast, and it takes a supernatural ability to see the future to predict what will come next. The options available for writers increase in number and variety every day.
Many authors are taking the path of hybrid author as their chosen way to build their career. A general description of hybrid author is a writer who does some self-publishing, sometimes called indie-publishing, and also receives contracts from traditional publishers. Those traditional publishers may be the ‘big boys’ based in New York or it could be a small press.
The choice of what path to seek is an individual choice with pros and cons for every direction. Self-publishing gives an author total control over the content of their works and the design of the cover. They can decide on release dates, sale price and earn a higher percentage on each sale of their book. They also don’t have to worry about their publisher going out of business or not giving their book its share of promotion.
Going with a traditional publisher means a lower percentage of earnings on each book, giving up editorial control and complete say on cover art. Considerations like release date, pricing, the title and even where your book will be available for purchase is the publisher’s domain.
Why take one publisher course, the other or both? I can only speak for my own reasons. I’ve never written a book with the express plan to self-publish it. When the publisher of my first fantasy series, The Futhark Chronicles, changed focus and returned my rights, I sought out a publisher willing to reissue the books rather than self-publish. Why? Even as I write this, I’ve learned that two of the small presses I’ve been working with have made the difficult decision to close their doors. I now have two fantasy series without a publishing home again. I will search out other venues for them in the next few months. That will be a chore but I will still choose a small press over self-publishing. Again, why?
I don’t have to worry about hiring a competent editor or finding my own artwork. Both my small publishers sell my books from their own sites for higher earnings for me and also make the books available on all other retail vendors. Many small publishers, especially romance presses, have faithful customers who buy from them on a regular basis. Many publishers search out reviews for their authors and take that chore off the writer’s back. They may also have a promotions coordinator who takes care of setting up blog appearances and used Facebook and Twitter to get the word out there. All those things take time and that is why I don’t self-publish. By working with a publisher, I have more time to write that next book. And everyone agrees that the best promotion for your book is to write another one
Can you see some pros and cons that I may have missed? What is the biggest factor that directed your choice of the path you’re taken on your writing career? Has it worked out the way you thought?
Thanks so for having me, Patricia.
Thanks so much for being my guest today, Susan. The publishing world is changing so fast that we all need as much information as we can get before we make our own decisions….and then the situation changes again just when we thought we had it all figured out. It certainly pays to be flexible, doesn’t it?
Susan Gourley is published in high fantasy. She is also multi-published in science fiction romance with the best-selling Recon Marines and Warrior of Gaviron series that she writes as Susan Kelley. Her latest release is The Warrior and the Governor. You can find her at Susan Says or on Twitter and Facebook.