Hybrid Publishing by Kristin A. Oakley

Charles Dickens, Beatrix Potter, Marcel Proust, and Edgar Allan Poe were self-published authors. Charles Dickens, Beatrix Potter, Marcel Proust, and Edgar Allan Poe all self-published their books. If you're planning to do the same, you're in good company. Today you can publish your manuscript with just the click of a button but be sure to research your options first.



Four Routes to Book Publishing - and the pros and cons of each:


Traditional publishing  examples: Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster

♦ The author acquires a literary agent (for fiction) who finds an interested publisher.Pathways to Publication - Traditional, Indie, Hybrid - Steps you Need to Know

♦ The publisher buys the rights to the manuscript and uses their staff of editors and graphic designers to publish the manuscript -- the author has little or no say over the cover art and title.

♦ The agent and publisher each receive a portion of the book sales.

♦ The publisher pays the author an advance on book sales and may provide some marketing, but first-time authors generally carry the brunt of the marketing workload.

Small press publishingPathways to Publication - Traditional - Small Press - Indie - Hybrid

♦ This is similar to traditional publishing except literary agents generally aren't necessary and the author has more control over the project.


♦ The author does the publishing and handles all of the individual details, which include choosing the publishing platform/printer, finding and editor, and deciding whether or not to hire a cover designer, interior designer etc...

♦ The author retains all rights and proceeds with little or no up-front costs unless the author chooses to hire other professionals to assist. 

♦ The author purchases books as needed (print-on-demand) or if using an offset printer will have a minimum print-run quantity on hand for selling.

♦ The author does all the marketing.

♦ If the author only publishes through Amazon (KDP Print), bookstores might not stock the book. 

Hybrid publishing

♦ The author hires a publisher to publish the manuscript or help with any aspects of the publishing process (editing, cover art, formatting, etc.)

♦ The author pays the publisher for their services.

♦ The author retains all rights and proceeds.

♦ Generally, the author has to purchase a minimum number of books.

♦ The author does all the marketing.

♦ The book will be listed as published by the hybrid publisher. 

♦ Bookstores buy the books directly from the publisher but confirm this when choosing a publisher!

For my first two novels, I went the hybrid publishing route. Why? I'd pitched Carpe Diem, Illinois to agents who expressed an interest but then didn't offer representation. I knew if I continued to search for an agent that would take time, maybe even years. Once I'd finally acquired an agent, it could be a year or more before that agent found a publisher. When the publisher signed the contract, it would take approximately 18 months to get the book on the shelf. I didn't want to wait that long.Hybrid Publishing Options in Wisconsin - Little Creek Press

But I also didn't want to spend time learning how to create a book cover, format the manuscript for both print and eBooks, and worry about distribution. So, when I met Kristin Mitchell of Little Creek Press and saw her beautiful book covers, I knew I wanted to hire her.

Okay, you've decided to go the hybrid publishing route -- what comes next?

Hybrid Publishing Steps:

⇒ Write the best possible manuscript! A cabin in the woods away from everyday life helps. Writing Retreat - Cabin in the Woods

⇒ Receive critiques from accomplished writers and reviews from Beta Readers (readers who read your genre).

⇒ Workshop your manuscript at a writing classes or conferences such as:

    • Wisconsin Writers Association Conference, September 21-22, 2018

   • UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies Weekend With Your Novel, November 9-11, 2018

   • Chicago Writers Association Let's Just Write! An Uncommon Writers Conference, March 16-17, 2019

⇒ Re-write your manuscript - many times!

⇒ Hire an editor for:

The importance of editing to the writing process - Pathways to Publication   • Developmental (story) editing: looking for story arc and structure, character development, pacing, consistency, realistic and interesting settings, etc. A good developmental editor will pull the best possible story out of the author. This will result in one or several more drafts.

   • Copyediting: line-by-line checking for grammar and punctuation errors. This is done with the final draft of the manuscript.

⇒ Send the completed manuscript to published authors to ask for reviews which can then be included on the book's back cover.

⇒ Work with the publisher to select the cover art.

⇒ Send the complete manuscript to the publisher for publication in paper and electronic forms.

⇒ Celebrate when the books arrive!

Author Kristin Oakley - The steps to hybrid publishing your novel.Kristin Oakley is a Chicago Writers Association board member, the managing editor of The Write City Magazine and The Write City Review, the past president and a co-founder of In Print Professional Writers’ Organization, and a UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies adjunct writing instructor. Kristin’s debut novel, Carpe Diem, Illinois, won the 2014 Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award for non-traditionally published fiction, was a finalist in the Independent Author Network 2015 Book of the Year, and a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition. Its sequel, God on Mayhem Street, was released in 2016. She is currently working on a young adult dystopian trilogy. kristinoakley.net


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