Opening New Doors
Ever considered being a hybrid author? Rachel Dove tells us how not limiting yourself to one label opens up more opportunities.
Before I got my first book contract, I wrote a romantic fiction book. I was entering competitions, and writing when I could, but reading about the Amazon self-publishing program, I realised that I wanted to release this book on my own, and see how it went. It did okay, and I still get a monthly income from it—a teeny one—five years later. I learned how to format, how to upload the work, what categories to go for, how to run promotions, and it gave me a first proper taste of sales, reviews and how the markets and charts work. Since then I have been in a number of anthologies, all darker fiction, with a group of authors called Inkslinger Veterans. We all write in different markets, and all proceeds go to charity. Amazon again is a valuable tool for us, we can get the work out to our very busy timescales, and can tweak the categories, and even launch a paperback.
I would definitely class myself as a hybrid author, as many authors are nowadays. What if you really want to write a certain book, but the market isn't quite right and the publishers don't want it? Nowadays you can self-publish it and still find your readers. My long term plan is to write another sub-genre of romance, as well as romantic comedy fiction, but with my books all being in that genre and me still building my reader base and earning my writer stripes, many publishers don't like a change of genre, and the book has to fit well into the market. I recently finished the first year of my MA, and it taught me a lot. I don't want to diversify into the darker stuff as such, it's not a good fit for me, and I have one great idea I will one day write, but I love the romance too much. I would rather see a love rat get his just desserts than plan a murder scene. It's just not my forte. I started writing one, but I just didn't enjoy it. So I save my darker stories for the Inkslinger Anthologies, which are great fun.
Another thing it taught me was, experimenting with the new genre would be better as a hybrid. Why not write the books I want to write, and self-publish them? It's a great way of working to your own timescales, and learning what works and what doesn't. Being a hybrid author is wonderfully freeing, and the manuscripts that are stuffed in the drawer marked rejected can again see the light of day. If the writing is good, you will have a chance of finding people who love your book. So for now, I am more than happy to write romantic comedy fiction for my lovely publishers, but in the background, I am really enjoying writing something a little different, and I can't wait to launch it myself with the help of a good editor, and a cover designer. You have to love what you write, so if you have that story that doesn't get the publisher love, maybe becoming a hybrid is worth looking into. Writing is fun, above all. Good luck!
How many genres can your WIP claim for its own? What's your take on hybrid authors? Comment below or talk to us on social media with the hashtag #hybridauthors .