Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What's The Next Wave In Publishing?

When I started writing seriously about four years ago, the publishing world was a big scary place. I suspect that holds true for most author's just starting. With stars in our eyes and big dreams in our hearts, most of us picture our names on a best sellers list somewhere, or in a book store with fans lined up around the block.
Perhaps it is unfair for me to claim 'most' author's feel that way. Truthfully I just wanted to sell enough books to get my husband home from work a few hours early every night. However, even in all my simple needs, a part of me dreamed I could be on the best-seller's list.
The reality is that only 1.7 % of author's make more than 100,000 dollars a year on their work. Let me back track for a moment...
Less than 2 % of TRADITIONALLY published authors can claim the 100K mark. Independently published authors clear the mark at about 3% and Hybrid Published author's make the hundred grand 5.6% of the time according to research done by an independent author review site.
So ...As I looked into hybrid publishing for the publication of "Burning Bridger", my newest novel here's what I found.
First, Hybrid Publishers have more than one business model they work under. Some are imprints of big publishers, some are independent publishers who have branched out to tap into their marketing connections, and some are small presses looking to take mid-list and below writer's into their targeted readership. Never  expecting the books to sell more than a few hundred copies. In an article by Morgan St. James from The L.A. Writing Review, Ms. St. James defines Hybrid in the following way:
"There is no one-size-fits-all description because it can include most of the requisite elements, or just some. However, by combining markets with different
imprints they are not wholly traditional and not wholly a
 company. Hybrid publishers may be the cost-effective model of the future for authors who don’t command the advances or sales of New York Best Selling authors.

Hybrid publishers generally operate with a small staff dedicated to the business

The salaried employees of many of these publishers wear multiple hats and the owner or CEO is usually hands-on as well. Sometimes no one is on salary, but
rather on a percentage of profits. If the
books don’t sell, they don’t get paid. This can include the company’s owner(s), designer and editor. Some have people in charge of marketing, some don’t."
You must ask yourself why a publisher working with no salary, or little capital would risk so much to take on authors who may not reach a successful sales goal.
By investing not only their time and effort into the marketing, publication, and the support of the novel or work, a hybrid publisher has 'skin' in the fight. They take on projects where there is little up-front risk for the publisher, but their own ability to retain employees and authors rides on their commitment to the projects they publish. Also in an article from Forbes magazine, it was pointed out that hybrid publishers have the ability to publish faster, and more often, giving author's the ability to release multiple books per year. They also have the flexibility to target a particular market or group of readers and release multiple titles to support the readership in that market.
The pricing of Hybrid publisher's is also more agile as there is less of an up-front investment in the digital arena. Even traditional publishers are finding themselves dropping the e-book prices of their big selling authors in order to stay competitive with independent and Hybrid publishers.
While an independent publisher has no financial risk, and therefor the author receives the highest profit margin on their books. A great number of mid-list and below authors can't afford huge publishing expenses before publishing. A Hybrid publisher provides little or no investment on the authors part but returns 50-60% of the royalty on their sales. and other digital distributors have created a publishing price war that has been battling for the profits for both authors and publishers, and the future doesn't appear to be getting better.
Making it in a corporate, cut-throat, publishing world will take some new thinking. An open mind, and the ability to adapt have always been necessary for a good author to succeed. The ability to look at publishing in a new and different way is just another challenge for the writers. If you're going to be in the top 2% of author's who will hit the best-seller list than a traditional publisher will come and find your work no matter which publishing venue you take.As the creator's of these works we should be looking toward what is the best investment of our time and funds not just how to impress a publisher to convince them we can make money for their bottom line.  Author's have always been on the lower end of the profit scale in publishing. Perhaps its time we look around at what's best for our writing. Perhaps its time to catch the next wave in publishing.


  1. This is interesting. My first two books were self-published, and my third, a poetry chapbook, has just been accepted for publication by Finishing Line Press, and I believe this is one of those hybrid publishers. According to another poet who has published with them, they're slow, but once they're ready to move forward, they want everything yesterday. I haven't even signed a contract, but I'm trying to get all my ducks in a row so I can move quickly when they're ready.