Tag Archives: Hybrid Publishing

Do One Scary Thing Every Day  

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In this post, hybrid author Jane Lebak gives advice from her traditional-publishing experience that can be applied equally well to self-publishing.

I was frozen. I’d done my research. I’d spoken to my agent. I’d checked my contracts. I’d even gone as far as getting a business license, but now I was stuck. I needed to buy ISBNs.

For two days, I’d looked at my list and found other things to do, but really, I needed to buy my ISBNs. I had a business bank account. I had money in it. What I needed was to go over to Bowker and give them money in exchange for the numbers.

“I can’t,” I said to my Patient Husband. “Every time I get almost to that point, I freeze. Because buying the ISBNs is the point of no return.”

Once I did that, I figured I couldn’t double back anymore. I’d be committed.

My Patient Husband said, “You need to do one scary thing every day.”

Of course I was scared. I’d prepared extensively because I was taking my writing career seriously, but that meant doing the things I’d prepared to do. I needed to be willing to fail in a very big, very public way.

The next day, I said, “Okay, buying ISBNs is scary. So I’m going to do it, and then I don’t have to do it again.”

I did it. And after I’d done it, it wasn’t scary anymore. But I took the rest of the day off anyway.

The next day, I made myself an IngramSpark account. Again, it was scary to enter in sixteen-digit numbers (or longer ones) but after I did it, I was done. The day after that, I made myself a KDP account, but that was less scary than it had been the day before, so I went on to do something else scary instead.

When you’re writing for publication, you’re going to find yourself right at the edge of your comfort zone more often than you ever thought, sometimes on the wrong side of the fence. In the story itself you’re going to find yourself writing deep and touching emotions you never wanted out in the daylight. Then comes editing. And getting beta-readers. And reading your beta-readers’ responses. And making those changes. And asking for help with your query letter. And then sending your query to agents.

Eventually you have to open the responses you get from agents. Sometimes reading those is scary, especially when you really like an agent and hope she likes you back. How about phone calls with agents? Those will scare you too at first. Signing your first agency contract? Terrifying. And then going on submission. Going through the publication process. Reading reviews. Writing your next novel.

If you had to do all those scary things at once, you’d think your life was a horror movie. So instead: one scary thing every day. When you’re terrified, motivate yourself with, “Good. This is my scary thing.” The next time you face the same task, you’ll find it’s not so scary any longer.

(Except for reading reviews. Those are still scary. I get a friend to read them first.)

And then give yourself a little breather afterward. “I’ve done my scary thing. I don’t have to be scared again for a little while.”

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headshot smallJane Lebak talks to angels, cats, and her kids. Only the angels listen to her, but the kids talk back. She lives in the Swamp, writing books and knitting socks, with the occasional foray into violin-playing. You’ll also find her blogging at QueryTracker.net, a resource for writers seeking agents and small publishers.

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Benefits of Being a Hybrid Author

I unexpectedly became a hybrid author, so I assure you that it was not intentional.  I realized after the fact that both self and traditional publication is highly beneficial.  I’d like to share what I love about both.

Self-Publishing

The benefits of self-publishing are so obvious that I’m almost embarrassed to explain them here, but I do think there are some worth mentioning.

With self-publishing, an author has total control over the entire process.  For some, this may be the sole reason to self publish over seeking a traditional publishing company, but for others (like me), it can be daunting to handle every detail from start to finish.

My first book was self-published.  I began writing it without a particular agenda for its printed version.  Self-publishing came in handy and pretty much fell into my hands due to close friends of mine who had a) already been through the process of self-publishing and b) were learned in professional formatting and graphic design.  I became a bit frustrated, however, because I had to make a lot of decisions I wasn’t prepared to make as a first-time author.  I also was overwhelmed at the editing process, which took a long time until the manuscript was even remotely ready for printing.

I also found self-publishing to be somewhat expensive, though authors do have a lot of options available now for finding reasonably affordable programs, formats, and cover designs within a budget (and without looking too cheesy or unprofessional).  There’s no question, however, that despite the initial costs to self-publish, the profits are exponentially better than going through a traditional publishing company.

Of course, an author must learn to build his/her platform and not rely entirely upon the book to bring an income.  I’ve found marketing to be particularly difficult for me, and perhaps it is (at least in part) due to my introverted temperament.  But finding small ways to connect with others through my niche (which happens to be grief recovery) has often landed me sales.

With self-publishing, I think it’s critical to do some extensive research beforehand and determine if this is a route you are willing to take with your book.  It is a lot of work, but I think networking with other independently published authors (like on the Indie Catholic Authors platform) can make the process more manageable when things get intense.

Traditional Publishing

Again, I am a newbie in this arena, but my first traditionally published book (From Grief to Grace: The Journey from Tragedy to Triumph) will be released in February 2016 by Sophia Institute Press.  Much like my first experience with publishing, I was honestly torn about which direction to take with this book.

I had already gone through the process of self-publishing, so I was familiar with it and knew what to expect (generally speaking), but at the same time I had this nagging feeling that I was supposed to seek out a traditional publisher for the next book.  Naturally, some of my self-published friends were naysayers and tried to convince me otherwise.  But I prayed about it fiercely and eventually was approached by my Catholic Exchange editor, who suggested I submit a book proposal to Sophia Institute Press.

What are the benefits of traditional publishing?  For one, I merely wrote the manuscript, sent it to the publisher, and they are hiring editors, designers, formatting staff, and marketers to do the remaining work.  It has been so liberating for me to focus on other writing endeavors now that my manuscript has been submitted.

At the same time, traditional publishing companies offer a measly royalty for book sales, so I never expected to become wealthy using this method of publishing.  But I anticipate that the widespread promotion of my book (especially that it will automatically be in bookstores) will compensate for the lack of profit.

All-in-all, hybrid authors tend to be more successful than their independently published or traditionally published peers.  The reason is that they have the best of both worlds: They have acquired the ability to make high profits through self-publishing while at the same time gaining more public momentum through traditional publishing.  As a result, both processes – while divergent – somehow benefit each other.  Widespread publicity leads to higher sales, and higher sales (especially if you have more than one book) lead to more people being introduced to your work.

The bottom line for me is this: As an author, you really have to know yourself well and understand the pros and cons of both types of publishing before you start the process.  Profits and sales are only fragments of the bigger picture of why you are writing and how you intend to reach your audience.

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Text Copyright 2015 Jeannie Ewing, all rights reserved.
Image Copyright 2015 “Typewriter” by Unsplash on Pixabay and edited in Canva by Jeannie Ewing.

Jeannie Ewing is a writer, speaker, and grief recovery coach. She is the co-author of Navigating Deep Waters: Meditations for Caregivers. Jeannie was featured on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition and Tony Agnesi’s radio show Finding God’s Grace. She offers her insight from a counselor’s perspective into a variety of topics, including grief, spirituality, and parenting children with special needs. Jeannie resides in northern Indiana with her husband and two daughters, both of whom have special needs. For more information on her professional services, please visit her websites lovealonecreates.com or fromgrief2grace.com.