Hybrid Author, Defined

Posted by April 24th, 2014

Hybrid author is one of those publishing terms you hear a lot these days. hybrid-authorWe wanted to define what it means so that writers can understand the conversation that’s happening around them.

The term usually refers to an author who has published with a traditional trade publisher such as one of the Big 5 (Penguin Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan) and then decides to self-publish (either through a service like Book Country or by forming an independent team).

We’ve also heard “hybrid author” applied to writers who self-published first and then sold to a major publisher.

We’ve seen authors who first published with a smaller press and then self-published (and the reverse) also use the term.

And, we’ve seen the term applied to authors who are doing both simultaneously. It’s common for a hybrid author to have a book for sale through a traditional publisher and self-publish a second title. We’ve even seen hybrid authors who have a traditional publishing agreement for one title and self-publish novellas or short stories using the same characters. (This is often done for promotional purposes.)

One final example of a hybrid author is an author who has self-published an eBook first. She then sells the print rights for that book to a traditional publisher while retaining the electronic rights.

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One thought on “Hybrid Author, Defined

  1. D.J. Lutz

    I think we will be seeing more and more hybrid relationships, especially as the big guys move more and more into the ePub business. I like the autonomy of self-publishing, i.e. using BC, but I would not be opposed to having access to the marketing resources of Penguin et al. I’m not a purist on either side; I’m just happy if someone reads my book and comes away a little bit happier. If that means self publish today and sign with a traditional publisher tomorrow, I’ll drink another glass of wine and go with it.


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