Wednesday, April 10, 2019

My Decision To Go Hybrid by Heidi Chiavaroli

I never wanted to be an indie author. Mostly because I didn’t trust myself to put something worth reading out there all by my lonesome. But although I never planned it, the opportunity came to me this past year, and I surprised myself by jumping on board.

I had two books published with my dream publishing house, and I had just renewed my contract with them. An author’s dream! But as we began to plan the timing for my third book, we realized that deadlines and marketing schedules would leave a nineteen-month-gap between books—a problem for any author, but especially a newbie like me.

I was surprised when my agent suggested I release my own book within that nineteen-month time period but, for my situation, it seemed to make sense.

I’m excited about releasing my first indie book. And I’m a tad nervous, of course. But if all works out, I’m hoping that my decision to go hybrid will benefit not only my readers, but me and my publisher.

If your aim is to be a hybrid author, here are some things you may want to consider:

Know your craft, and the publishing industry.

If you are just starting out in this writing thing, don’t be too quick to independently publish and assume a traditional publisher will want to work with you in the future. Likewise, starting a contract with a traditional publisher is probably not the ideal time to decide to independently publish. Take it slow. There’s a lot to learn in both worlds. Publishing is hard work, no matter what. Make sure you know how to write (don’t just take your Mother’s word for it!), and make sure you know the industry before diving in to those indie waters.

Put your publisher first.

There have been many times these past couple of months when I’ve had to put my indie edits and marketing efforts on hold to work on something for my publisher. And I’ve done it gladly. As a hybrid author, they are my priority, and honestly, they are the ones who gave me a chance to begin with, so they will always come first.

If you are traditionally published and considering putting out an indie release, it’s always best to make sure your publisher is okay with you doing so. Make sure your indie releases are scheduled in a way that will benefit your traditional releases. You don’t want to be competing with yourself!

Release a quality product.

Honestly, this was my biggest concern from the beginning. I LOVE getting that brand new box of books from my publisher. The entire product, near perfect. Those of us in the indie world have likely had our share of publishing disasters. In fact, I just received my first box of books and was appalled to see some grainy covers and bubbly binding.

Obtain professional editing, cover, and formatting design. As far as is within your ability, make your product something you won’t be ashamed to have alongside your traditional releases.

If you are published, are you published independently, traditionally, or both? What do you see as being a benefit to how you are published? If you are not yet published, what kind of publishing goals do you have?

"I was surprised when my agent suggested I release my own book..." @HeidiChiavaroli #publishing #SeriouslyWrite

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Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring places that whisper of
historical secrets. She is an ACFW Carol Award winner and a Christy finalist. Both her debut novel, "Freedom's Ring" and her sophomore novel, "The Hidden Side" are Romantic Times Top Picks. "Freedom's Ring" was also a BOOKLIST Top Ten Romance Debut. She makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons. Visit her at heidichiavaroli.com.

17 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for having me on Seriously Write, Sandy!

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    1. Always a pleasure to have you back with us, Heidi. Congrats on your new book!

      Being published both ways, I can see that each has its merits. Right now, I'm happy with the indie route. Later? Who knows? :)

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  2. I’m indie and never did want the trad. I love the entire process of creating, and would feel cheated by not having a hand in the rest.
    Looking forward to your next books!

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    1. That's awesome, Dalyn! I definitely can understand that. Thank you so much for stopping in!

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  3. There's great excitement that comes with creating a work and putting it out there rather than waiting and waiting and waiting for it be catch the eye of a pub house. As an agented, trad author, I also have the option to indie publish and am emboldened by the idea when I run across other authors (including award-winning ones like you) who are doing the same. Thanks, Heidi!

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    1. So ture, Mary! And I'm glad you are encouraged. <3

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  4. I hear so many different opinions about publishing. One person says to go with traditional publishing and to get an agent. Another person says self-publishing is the only way to go. Still another says to go hybrid. So many choices. My children's book was published through a hybrid publisher because I wanted to get the book out asap, for our grandson. I still hope to have an agent and go the traditional publishing route. I will continue to pray and know God will lead me in the right direction.

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    1. So neat about your children's book, Melissa! Yes, there's definitely no "right" certain way in the publishing world...trusting God will give you wisdom in choosing your path in this. :)

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  5. I'm only Indie, and I love the freedom to be in every step of the process plus to set my own deadlines. My brain doesn't do well when I try to revise one book, market another, record an audiobook of another, all while trying to draft a new one. And if I have sickness or family problems come up, I can give myself grace and push my deadlines back. I am seeking traditional publishing for my Biblical fiction ,but it's a different subgenre of Christian Fiction.

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    1. I can relate to all that, Lila.

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    2. I can definitely relate to that as well, Lila! There is definitely a certain type of freedom in the indie world. :)

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  6. I'm traditionally pubbed but don't have an agent yet. However, I can certainly see myself going indie if I write a book that I truly believe in but isn't getting picked up by my publisher or attracting an agent. I can see both sides of the issue and I think that your reasoning, Heidi, for not having a 19 month wait between your books was a perfect example of why an author might go indie. Thank goodness we have these options available to us now!

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    1. Hi Laurie! Absolutely! It is a wonderful thing. I have another book that I'm not sure would fit the traditional marketplace but I want to make sure it gets published sometime in my lifetime. So glad to have the indie option. :)

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  7. Great post, and all the best with ALL your books, Heidi! As you probably know, I started out indie (8 books), and I've had one tradpub and now 3 tradpubs coming out in the next year. It's sort of a different process with each, but I am SO thankful for the indie option, so I can continue building my readership without massive lulls between contracts. I've found it helps to stick with one genre while doing so--something I haven't been the best about, but I'm trying to focus on now and build my mystery backlist. Shared this post!

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    1. Hey, Heather! You just amaze me with your amazing output and the quality of your books. I appreciate the advice to stick to one genre because I've been tempted... ;)

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  8. I'm traditionally published with a small house and I have indie published a couple of novellas.

    I think my dream would be a hybrid. I know one of my finished books doesn't fit the guidelines of the publisher in targeting, so I'd love to indie publish it.

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    1. I can totally understand that, Terri. Sometimes we have those books of our hearts that just don't jive with a traditional guideline...wishing you all the best!

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