Monday, 25 February 2013

Hybrid authors - curiosity or the future?

"Zonkey" - a zebra/donkey hybrid

I am what is known as a "hybrid" author - sounds painful doesn't it? But it just means I am using two types of publishing to bring my books to readers. 

1. The traditional route for my Pendragon Legacy series with children's publisher Templar, who have produced these books as beautiful shimmery hardcovers that are not too big and not too small, containing pretty maps and attractive fonts. They have also produced eye-catching paperback versions, as well as slightly cheaper ebook editions of each.

paperback of Book 1 - see how the title catches the light?

Shimmery proof cover for the hardback of Book 2

showing the draft back and front cover spread for  Book 3

There is no way I could produce such lovely editions of these books on my own - at least not unless I won the lottery! And quite aside from the production and printing of the actual books, Templar have a team of editors and publicists and marketing people and artists and designers, all working on various parts of the process of bringing my words to readers... so a big thank you, Templar team!

2. The independent (or "indie") route for my out-of-print backlist, currently only available as ebooks for Kindle via amazon. I am able to bring you these books because they've gone out of print and rights have reverted back to me from their original publishers. They have all undergone the same process of professional editing at their publishers (thank you, original editors!) though I am now responsible for the covers, layout and marketing etc. It's a strange experience for an author to be involved in these things, and yet I'm finding it quite refreshing to have some control over the part of the process that authors once surrendered entirely to others. It's a bit scary, too... oh, and a lot more work, of course.

e-cover for I am the Great Horse

Hybrid in biology means the offspring of two different creatures, like the "zonkey" above. I hope that means I will develop the strengths of both, even though I might not look exactly like Traditional Author or exactly like Indie Author. At the moment I feel a bit like the poor zonkey that doesn't belong in either herd, since there are still many Traditional purebreds rightfully proud of their stripes, as well as a growing herd of Indies roaming the wild plains. These are both essentially the same species (Author), yet they mix only warily.

In future hybrid authors might become more common, as some books suit the traditional publishing model and others suit the indie model, both reaching readers in the most efficient way for that particular book.

Or should a unicorn remain a unicorn? I'd love to know what you think!


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