The latest buzz phrase in digital publishing is the “hybrid” author. In short, that means an author who is both digitally self-publishing and partnering with a traditional publisher. The hybrid aspect can work in a variety of ways such as…
1) Author has kept digital rights but partners with a publisher for the physical print edition.
2) Author has series that she/he is self-publishing digitally but also has a series or books with a traditional publisher so is publishing simultaneously in more than one venue.
According to stats presented at January’s Digital Book World, hybrid authors make 15% to 20% more than their traditionally published counterparts. In other words, it pays to be a hybrid author. But now this phrase is starting to be kicked around when it comes to agents and agenting. So what does it mean in that context? I’ve got a couple of bullet points to share.
1) Hybrid agents place authors with publishers but also assist clients to self-publish without being a publisher themselves.
2) Hybrid agents take on authors to simply sell foreign and film and let the other stuff evolve over time.
3) Hybrid agents get creative on new ways to manage/license a right or handle a property (think Rowling’s Pottermore site as an example of hybrid agenting to the max).
4) Hybrid agents are flexible. They don’t stick with the “this is how agenting has been done for X number of years” and that might mean allowing clients to self-publish on their own but be ready to do a print-only deal.
This past week I sat on a publishing panel here in Denver at the Auraria campus, which houses the University of Denver, Metro State, and the Community College of Denver. One of the questions asked was this: “what do you miss from how publishing used to be five years ago.”
My answer? “Nothing.”
Hybrid agents don’t long for the past. We are solely focused on the future. Amen.