Elle James · Myla Jackson · writing advice

Evolution of the Hybrid Author by Elle James

DeadlyAllureThe publishing world has changed so much in the past four years. When I began writing in 2000, I never saw this coming. Of course I had my head down for many years, just learning the craft of writing and submitting to the big six NY publishers back then. As I learned and grew, I sold my first book to a now-defunct publisher in 2004 and then to Harlequin in 2005. At the same time e-books had become a blip on the screen and soon gained momentum. Well, we all know now what happened with that. Holy moly! The e-publishers rose out of the woodwork, technology bloomed and e-readers sprang up to complement the ebooks, B&N jumped in with Nooks and Amazon with Kindle.

It wasn’t too long afterward that Amazon made self-publishing available. B&N jumped on board, then Kobo and so it goes. Authors have many options to choose from to get their books e-published. But there are still those folks who prefer to feel the texture of a print book in their hands. Amazon teamed with CreateSpace so that self-published authors could skip the small presses and self-publish their print books with Print on Demand technology at their fingertips.

There are readers with long commutes, visual impairments and other compelling reasons who prefer to get their books in audio. Amazon worked with ACX.com to create yet another way for self-published authors to get their work to potential customers in yet another format.

Throughout all this growth as a hybrid author, I kept writing for Harlequin and my e-publishers while delving into the self-publishing arena. I learned how to format books for e-publishing and how to format books for print publishing through trial and error, reading how-to guides and jumping in. I’ve also found good people who can do formatting for me. I’ve learned how to make book covers, adjust book covers and save them to the varied sizes required by the different venues. And now I’ve successfully waded through creating audio books.

I put samples of my books up on ACX and requested auditions. On my first book, I wanted someone who could do a slight southern accent. Oy! The sample was over the top southern, deeeep south. I worked with the voice actress to get it right and had to pick the entire story apart from start to end and have her work with me to fix the really thick southern accent to make it palatable for all audiences. It was a lot of work and took a lot of time wading through audio files and marking at which points things needed changing. For a hybrid author who is time-challenged, it was a harrowing experience of tone, inflection and helping her to understand what I wanted out of the characters.

SEALsHonorACXWhen I did my next audio book, I researched some of the best selling authors to find out who did their narrations. I found a sexy male voice in Kaleo Griffith. My next audio book was a dream! I didn’t have to change a thing and the book was fabulous. It is time-consuming and expensive to get an audio book up and selling, but hopefully it will be worth it in the end. It’s one more way to get my books out to customers.

Self-publishing means an author has much more to do now than write the book. I’ve become the writer, formatter, marketer and publisher with my self-published books. There are pros and cons to self-publishing and not all authors become instant successes in the New York Publishing, epublisher or self-publishing markets. The key I’ve found is to remain persistent, keep learning and WRITE ON!

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