You can still have your voice heard. Hybrid publishing is the most viable publishing route for aspiring authors today.
With the rise of new technologies, including cheaper publishing and electronic reading, the barriers to writing and publishing have come down. Now readers have an almost infinite number of reading choices available. At the same time, traditional publishers and publishing houses have lost their courage to bet on unknown and lesser-known authors. So what’s an aspiring author to do?
Today I’d like to talk about how traditional publishing has evolved, other publishing options and how hybrid publishing has emerged as the winning model for getting your voice heard in the marketplace.
Traditional Publishing No Longer So Traditional
In traditional publishing, the writer’s role was singular—being the master of words. All the writer had to worry about was writing a great book. Those who worked at the publishing company did everything else.
Here’s how that process might have looked: The author had an idea. He or she wrote a book expounding on that idea and sent it to the publisher. The publisher read the author’s book, liked what they read and bet on the book’s potential. The publisher offered the author a publishing deal, sometimes with an advance payment. Finally, the publisher produced, marketed and distributed the book using all of their own resources.
While a good idea and a good manuscript may have been enough to land a traditional publishing deal in the past, that concept has now gone the way of the horse and buggy. And unfortunately, this has left many writers to dream of a writing life that no longer exists.
These days most traditional publishers won’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, much less read them. Instead, traditional publishers are requiring potential authors to already have their own audience lined up and primed to buy their books before the publisher will even entertain the possibility of offering a publishing deal. This means that the ranks of traditionally-published authors are now disproportionately made up of celebrities, politicians and popular bloggers.
Not only that, traditional publishers want authors to take on more and more of the marketing duties every day, effectively blurring lines that were once clear cut.
Other Historical Options
Customarily, writers have aspired to the traditional publishing route, but traditional publishing has never been the only option. Did you know that Jane Austen—famed author of Pride and Prejudice and Emma—had her books published anyway when publishers wouldn’t take the risk?
The alternatives to traditional publishing have been self-publishing and vanity publishing.
Self-publishing is defined by the writer assuming both the writer and publisher roles. The tasks include writing, editing, designing, printing, marketing and distributing copies of the book. There is a high learning curve but the book can rise as high as the author’s efforts.
Vanity publishing is defined by the writer paying a company to act as the publisher and do everything that is needed to produce the book. Simply put, the publishing is the point.
In both self-publishing and vanity publishing, book quality has always been optional, even if it’s possible that you may be the next Jane Austen.
Hybrid Publishing: The Rise of Partnership Publishing
Aspiring authors today aren’t limited to traditional publishing’s current gatekeeping or to the narrow options of yesteryear.
More recently, hybrid publishing has emerged to chart a new path—not traditional publishing, but not self-publishing or vanity publishing either. Hybrid publishing is defined by a Venn diagram of roles.
In true hybrid publishing, it often works like this: The author has an idea and then writes a book developing that idea (or at least a complete, thoughtful proposal). The author sends the manuscript (or proposal) to the hybrid publisher for consideration. If the hybrid publisher believes that the book will be a good fit for the company and their audience, then the hybrid publisher enters into a partnership agreement with the author. A good hybrid publisher doesn’t accept any book that walks in the door; however, a good hybrid publisher will be honest with the author about the market potential of the book. While the author pays for services, a good hybrid publisher is willing to engage with an author on publishing decisions. The hybrid publisher may work with the author to further edit or refine the book. The hybrid publisher produces the book and distributes it. Both the author and the hybrid publisher work on marketing the book, each playing to their strengths. Finally, the author and the hybrid publisher share in the profits.
Today, traditional publishing houses are afraid to take risks with unknown and lesser-known authors, while moving ever closer to hybrid publishing when it comes to marketing. As a result, some authors are increasingly turning to self-publishing or vanity presses, while more authors are choosing to make their voices heard through a hybrid publishing partnership.
Hybrid publishing provides the best of both worlds: a publishing team you can count on and access to a wider market. In this day and age, there’s no reason a good book shouldn’t find its way forward—and there’s no reason that an aspiring author should go it alone.
Dudley Court Press
Dudley Court Press works with writers like you every day. As a full-service, hybrid publishing house, we help thoughtful people write their books and become successful published authors.