Hybrid publishing and why I'll be doing more of it in 2015

Wow. Look at me. I'm just a blogging fool this week. Weeks of nothing, and all of a sudden, three posts in one week while I'm working on a fourth for someone else. Seriously, time is a lovely thing to have on one's hands. Unless you're the people reading all of this crap and going: SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, AND GO BACK TO WORK ALREADY.

Next week, darklings, next week.

Meanwhile, I'm-a-blogging away.

Chuck Wendig wrote a wonderful post to send out the old year. He compiled a 2015 writing and publishing wishlist. Whether you're self-published or traditionally published, you should go read his post. In it, Chuck talks about more authors should do more hybrid publishing, and I think he's right.

I tried it this past year with two works: The Broken Road and Hisses and Wings (along with Alex Bledsoe), and here is what I loved about hybrid publishing:

Freedom. The utter freedom to write exactly what I wanted to write. The Broken Road was more horror than fantasy, and I had a chance to experiment with a new world and new characters without worrying about how to soften the story in order to make it mainstream.

Pricing. We can offer it cheaply enough that people will want to try it. Those who are looking for an entry point into my brand of storytelling can test drive The Broken Road at a fair price.

Cover art. I had a great deal of input into the cover art for The Broken Road. We looked at several pictures and drafts, but when I saw that eye, I knew that was it, and the end product is gorgeous.

Test Marketing with Shorter Works. I can test the market for certain kinds of stories and see whether these works resonate with the readers without investing the huge time chunk necessary to create a novel. Both The Broken Road and In Midnight's Silence were written within about a three month time span each. So in six months, I produced two distinct works rather than a year to produce one very long work.

Growing My Bibliography Between Novels. I haven't forsaken traditional publishing. As a matter of fact, I've worked very closely with my agent with both of my novellas and the novelette with Alex. However, we all know that from the time a novel is pitched until a decision is delivered can take anywhere from six to ten weeks per publisher. If I produced nothing within those timeframes, then fans and bloggers might forget that I'm out here. Blogging is nice, but blogging isn't the same as writing fiction. Self-publishing, in addition to traditional publishing, gives me a chance to grow an audience. For authors with an established series, self-publishing shorts and novellas can keep the interest alive while the fans are waiting for longer works to be produced. It's a win/win.

Alternatives. Publishers are looking for works that will fit their market. This isn't a bad thing, it simply is. They are in business and I understand that. In Midnight's Silence was written for a specific market. However, there is no guarantee that the novella will be accepted by that market, because there are too many factors at play: editorial decision; or maybe they've already accepted three other stories similar to mine; any number of issues can come into play that have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the writing or the story.

So if In Midnight's Silence is rejected, then I have the alternative to self-publish the novella. My Los Nefilim series doesn't need to die. I can bring it to life in other forms while my agent continues to pitch my novels.

Collaborations. In 2014, I got to work with one of my favorite authors on the novelette, Hisses and Wings. Alex Bledsoe is one of those rare authors who doesn't just go around talking about how men should support women artists and authors, he walks the walk by showcasing women artists on his blog and reviewing novels written by women. So when I was offered the opportunity to work with him on a winter solstice story, I jumped at the chance. Now go read his books.

Those are just a few of the reasons that I've enjoyed hybrid publishing and will continue to do in 2015. It's fun and it gives me a chance to stretch my writing chops in new and different ways. I can also produce shorter works for my fans.

Which brings me to the final plus side of hybrid publishing: my fans. I'd like to say thank you to those of you who have stuck with me through all of my publishing experiments. You, the fans, have made all of this so worthwhile. You have reviewed my stories honestly, and you keep asking for more. If it wasn't for your support and constant encouragement, I probably would have stepped off this dog and pony show long ago. Thank you all.

Since this will be my last post of 2014: Have a Happy New Year. I wish you good health and love, because with those things, you can conquer all obstacles. Go forth and conquer.