For this stint of the Indie Author Event I'm proud to not only be one, but also to host one.
Introducing Karly Blakemore-Mowle
The highs and lows of a hybrid author
Once upon a time it used to be that an author would dream of the day he or she became published…nowadays it’s a lot more involved than that.
Authors today have many options available to them and I’m lucky enough to be a new species of author called the Hybrid author…this does not mean I run without making any noise or use less petrol in fact I barely ever run and I’m sure if I did, I’d make a LOT of noise…(mostly wheezing and spluttering). No, a hybrid author is an author who is both traditionally published (through a major publishing house) as well as self-published.
How did this happen?
Well, in my case, it came about due to frustration. I began writing romantic suspense and was published by a small American publisher originally, before having Allen & Unwin publish my rural fiction line in Australia.
I have loved my experience with my Australian publisher and have been very fortunate to have such a large publisher take me under their wing.
My experience with small publishing houses though has been a lot different.
While I’m grateful for the experience I’ve gained when I started out as a first time published author, I soon became incredibly frustrated by the lack of foresight these small publishers were exhibiting. This led to my decision to self-publish. With sales of around $13 USD a quarter for four books, I was gobsmacked by the lack of any attempt by my small publisher to try promoting my books. They refused to lower e-book prices even when it was clear that self-published authors were benefiting hugely by having sales and specials, gaining valuable exposure for their books. This frustrated me and made absolutely no sense that a business wouldn’t be actively trying to make money. Added with an embarrassingly low standard of edits, and disorganisation with edits being rushed through more often than not, only days before release—it soon became obvious that I was wasting my time with small publishers.
Compared to the professionalism of my Australian publisher and a team of dedicated, highly trained editors and proof readers, there was no way I was able to take the small publishing house seriously.
So what to do? The romantic suspense and Young Adult genres I was writing were not being published by mainstream publishers here, and I had built up a following of loyal readers who wanted to keep reading my books. The answer became clear…Self-publishing.
The sudden freedom of having complete control over everything from covers to editing was a heady sensation. I loved that I could now control my prices—have a sale whenever I wanted and yes…sell books! LOTS of books.
Would I ever give up my traditional publisher? The simple answer would be no. As much as I love the freedom of self-publishing, there are aspects of traditional publishing that cannot be replaced. Their distribution alone is worth its weight in gold…and book sales! Whole departments dedicated to art work, publicity and sales…priceless.
The down side?
When you first start out with a major publisher, you understandably get little input into things like covers. As my sales have grown and books I’ve released increase, I’m finding my publisher is a lot more willing to work with me on this—it’s not the same freedom of being able to choose my own cover and titles, but I’m certainly given a lot more of a say nowadays.
The down side is the actual division of payments—as an author you get 10%. The upside—you sell more books.
The upside of self-publishing (with an established following of readers) you get 70% …the down side; you sell less books and getting your print copies distributed into stores is next to impossible.
Don’t turn your back on the traditional publisher route, if the opportunity arises to pitch your book to a publisher, do it. The experience they can give you is invaluable…but don’t give up your dreams of self-publishing either—it can be very rewarding—it’s slow and steady and takes a lot of work and promotion to sell your book and your name to readers, but it’s incredibly rewarding when you see your book doing well.
Avoid small publishers unless you are certain they are trustworthy and intend to help your book succeed to the full extent of their abilities. There are a few good ones out there…but in these times, there is little a small press publisher can do for you that you cannot do for yourself and they take a large chunk of the sales.
I consider myself very lucky to be a hybrid. I have the best of both worlds and I wouldn’t trade either one of them. They actually complement one another.
Karlene Blakemore-Mowle lives on the beautiful Mid North Coast of NSW, in Australia. Proud mum to four children and wife to a real life hero, she’s lucky to be able to do the two things she loves the most—being a mum and writing a variety of genres including Romantic Suspense set in exotic places around the world, Young Adult, Rural and Fantasy.
You can find out more about Karlene’s books on her website- http://karlenebm.blogspot.com.au/
Or add her in twitter -@KarleneBM
And on Facebook- FB Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Karlene-Blakemore-Mowle/188934751196310