Last week’s post (What To Do With My Business After I’m Dead) looked at a book that fellow Writing Magazine columnist Tarja Moles has published. This week, another fellow Writing Magazine columnist, Lorraine Mace, explains why she’s bitten the bullet and self-published her children’ novel, even though it was something she swore she’d never do.
“Vlad the Inhaler was the first book I wrote,” Lorraine explains, “and so it has always had a special place in my heart. In 2007 I was taken on by one of the UK’s top children’s agents. She loved Vlad and was certain she could find a home for him in one of the big five. We came close, but it wasn’t to be.”
“In 2012 Vlad was picked up by a US publisher and looked set to do very well. I wrote the second in the trilogy and that was also published by the same company but it wasn’t a marriage made in heaven. I was able to take back my rights just over a year ago and, sadly, believed that was the end of Vlad’s publishing lifespan.”
Last Saturday I was assisting with a workshop on self-publishing run by Wrekin Writers, as part of the Wellington Festival, and the topic of Hybrid Authors was briefly discussed. So I thought I’d take the opportunity of posting my recent Writing Magazine feature where I chatted to two writers about being a hybrid author.
Traditionally-published or self-published? Simon Whaley chats to two writers with a foot in both camps.
A few years ago, a writer’s life was binary: either you sought a traditional publishing contract for your book, or you self-published it. Traditionally-published authors liked someone else picking up the costs of editing, proofreading, jacket design and production (in return for a reduced royalty rate), while independent authors were proud that they were in complete control of the whole process, despite having to finance it, in return for a higher royalty rate.
However, the business of writing is changing. No longer is it necessary to be one or the other. Some writers are choosing the hybrid route: having a mixture of traditionally-published and self-published projects. Why be pigeon-holed into one, or the other, when you can have your cake and eat it?
Leah Mercer (https://www.leahmercer.com/books), whose latest novel The Man I Thought You Were, published by Amazon imprint Lake Union Publishing, believes being a hybrid author offers many benefits. ‘Hybrid authors really have the best of both worlds,’ she explains. ‘By self-publishing, they have the freedom to publish what they want at a price they choose, and they can plug the gaps that often occur when publishing with major houses.’
Last week, I shared a post on Facebook (dating from March 2016, so it wasn’t new) from the Guardian’s Books Blog by Ros Barber who explained why she doesn’t want to self-publish. It was in response to the many comments she received on her own blog following a post she’d made about the derisory incomes authors earn these days, even those who are traditionally published. She was making the point that we’re not all offered the six-figure advances that many readers think we are. (Heck, we’re not always offered an advance at all these days!)
Can we write a novel on a smartphone, or edit a short story on a tablet? Simon Whaley connects with four writers who aren’t chained to their desks.
(Writing Magazine – July 2017 issue)
In July 2016, Literature and Latte, the company behind the popular Scrivener writing software, released their iOS version, making the programme available to writers on their iPads and iPhones. At first, I was sceptical. Who writes a novel on their smartphone with its tiny, cumbersome keyboard?
It all changed for me during a delayed hospital appointment. Instead of sitting there, wasting time, I realised I could review the first draft of an article I’d written earlier that day at my desk. Out came my smartphone, and I began editing. When I got home, all those amendments I’d made via my smartphone were reflected on my desktop version. Amazing.
In the business of writing, being productive means making the most efficient use of our time, and this is where writing apps for mobile devices come into their own.
Freedom and Flexibility
For New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison (www.jtellison.com), whose latest standalone thriller, Lie to Me, is published on 5th September, having access to all of her writing on her iPad has revolutionised her writing workflow. Being able to use the same writing software on all of her devices enables her to write everywhere. As a Scrivener fan, she couldn’t wait for last year’s launch of the mobile app.