Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Writing- Hybrid Publishing August 18, 2020

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:23 pm
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When most people think of publishing they think of two options:
1. traditional publication by either a large publishing house or a small press. In this method a publisher purchases publication rights, edits, designs a cover, and markets the book. Large houses offer advances. Small presses rarely do.
2. self-publishing . The author pays for editing, covers, and marketing themselves. Usually they contract individuals for each of these tasks. (There are self-publishing companies like Lulu or Bookbaby that you can pay to do everything in a package deal, but I’ve yet to meet any successful professional who has used them more than once. They tend to be expensive for what they offer. They’re fine if you are only going to write one family history book to sell to your relatives. Otherwise, there are better options).

What is hybrid publishing?
Hybrid authors are BOTH traditionally published AND self-published.

Why would you do it?
Traditional publishers offer a sense of legitimacy, and in theory, a marketing machine. However, with millions of books submitted to publishers each year, only a handful are going to meet the specific niches a publishing house feels are viable investments. Your traditional publisher may not be interested in all the books you’ve written. Rather than sitting on those works, you can release them yourself. Because you don’t have the tight margins those publishing houses have, you don’t have to sell as many books to make it worthwhile.

Self-publishers earn significantly more per book (30-70% retail) that those who are traditionally published (10-15%). Those who master marketing can do very well.

Authors own their name and their brand. They don’t have to be stuck in only one model to sell their books.

Examples of hybrid publishing:

Contract jurisdiction:
Your publisher may be contracted to release your book in the US. You retain rights for the rest of the world. You will have to get a different cover and a new ISBN, but then you can release your book everywhere outside your traditional publisher’s jurisdiction. Robert Sawyer and C. C. Humphreys are authors I know who do this.

You may be well known for one genre and traditionally publish in that genre, but if you’d like to branch out and try something different, your publisher may not be interested. Eileen Cook is a traditionally published YA author, but she writes non-fiction writing guides which she self-publishes. Craig di Louie is a traditionally published horror writer who self-publishes his World War II historical fiction.

Publication contracts are dated. A publisher has publication rights for a certain amount of time. When the contract runs out, the rights revert to the author. The author can then self-publish these pieces from their backlist (i.e. previously published works). For example, Diana Gabaldon writes short pieces for anthologies or magazines. When the rights revert, she self-publishes them as ebooks.

You may choose in your contract not to give all rights to the publisher. For example, Jonas Saul’s Sarah Roberts print books (paper back or hard cover) are traditionally published; however, Jonas retained the ebook rights and self-publishes the ebooks.

Flexibility is the key to success. Today’s writers are learning that it is unwise to put all their eggs in one basket. Hybrid publishing gives them the opportunity to have a variety of income streams.

All the authors I know who are hybrid publishing tell me they’re delighted to have more control over their income.



poem- change December 7, 2013

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:32 pm
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(early October)

I can’t go to conference this year.

Ahhh! Please come!

I can’t think what I’d  pitch this year.

Stay with me!  

Oh. I have that old thing I could share.




Here, look at this piece.

I like it!  Send me more!

Here, look at this piece.

I like it!  Can I see more?


Yup.  I really like it.  Send it to her.

Here is the rest!


I like it!  Let’s work together!

Here’s a contract!


and so begins the next part of the journey

and thanks to Leena because I could have missed it all!


publishing process by Nathan Bradford… August 29, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:32 pm
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Here is a very entertaining, gif filled blog post by Nathan Bradford about the publishing process.   Aside from all the rejections cited, I can relate to this!   (I only had 2 agent rejections before Grace was signed by the first publisher queried).




Mind. Blown. June 4, 2012

Filed under: Commentary,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:09 pm
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In this age of instant everything, e-books are growing in popularity because they can be ordered instantly to your reader.  What if you want a paperback book, though?  Well, instant gratification exists for you, too.  Once, you had to order the book, which the Print on Demand service would quickly print and pop into the mail for you.  It’d arrive within a few days, saving significantly on storage costs, etc.  But three days isn’t exactly instant enough.

Enter the Espresso Book Machine coming soon to a book store, café,or laundromat near you!  Choose a book from the hundreds (thousands? millions?) stored in the data-base, from self-published books and public domain classics, to those from future looking publishers, push a button, and voilá, instant paperback book.  Your book, printed to order, in minutes.


How?  Well, prepare to be amazed!  Check out this video:



the other side of the pitch February 18, 2012

When I attended my first writing conference- the Surrey International Writers’ Conference in 2009- I was told about The Elevator Pitch. This is the 30 second blurb about your book that establishes the protagonist, conflict, theme and audience. You need one, because every time you’re asked, “What’s your book about?” you should be able to answer concisely, in a manner that catches the person’s interest. I worked with author Carol Mason to polish mine, and when I presented it to Crystal of Gumboot Books that afternoon, it earned me a “Yes, we’d like to see more!” and eventually a contract.

I wondered at the time, what is it like for an agent, publisher or editor at these events? They’re the ones being pounced upon by every would-be writer in the building. Everyone there has something to pitch, and the APEs are the ones being pitched at. The image in my head is someone standing in the middle of the room, frantically covering his head while baseballs rain down from every direction.

Mark Glenchur has written a delightful poem that gives a hilarious view from the APE side. Unfortunately, the writer in the poem did not have a 30 second elevator pitch polished and ready.  Read and learn.


the long process February 5, 2012

Filed under: OUTLANDERishness,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:13 am
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Things are changing in publishing, as e-publishing, indy-publishing and self-publishing are gaining popularity.  It is interesting to see exactly why.

Diana Gabaldon has a recent blog entry about her latest projects.  It includes are very thorough explanation of the long process of having a book published in the traditional manner.

The workings of a small indy-press like Lintusen are much simpler, because fewer people and projects are involved. When everyone is paid on percent of royalties, they’re all keen to get the work out as promptly as possible. When only one or two projects are in progress at any one time, the process can be streamlined.  All the same things Gabaldon mentions do happen though, just much more efficiently than with a huge corporate publisher.

Editing is a long, long process.  It makes me laugh at times.  When my students are sure they’re done a composition because they’ve read it through once, I can’t help but smirk and tell them what the editing process is really like!

Thanks  to my amazing editor, Vikki for her skill!  (She even corrects my Facebook slips! lol)


7 keys January 26, 2012

Filed under: Commentary,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:56 am
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Charlotte Boyett-Compo, author of the Wind Legends series among other things, ( shared this brilliant bit of extended metaphor about publishing at Linked In the other day:

There is a round brass ring. From that ring are dangling Seven Keys.

All Seven Keys are needed to spring the Publishing Lock.

The keys diminish in size from Key One to Key Seven.

The largest key is Key One and it is named Desire.

Key Two is Determination.

Key Three is Perseverance.

Key Four is Endurance.

Key Five is Patience.

Key Six is Luck.

Key Seven is Talent.

If you use all seven Keys and the lock refuses to open, one of those seven Keys simply isn’t strong enough to make things tumble into place for you. Perhaps the Key to your future lies on another brass ring.

That’s quite profound, isn’t it?  Even with my limited experience here at the beginning of the journey I know there is a lot of truth here!  It is hard work to get your work out there.  Big or small, the publisher requires authors to be skilled in story and active in the promotion and marketing of their work.  Every writer has to develop his/her talent and keep plugging away at the craft in order to have any success at all.  It’s a hard reality I think.  Sometimes you have the luck, and sometimes you don’t.  Sometimes you just don’t have the ability to stick it out.  Sometimes you don’t have that special spark of talent that makes your work worth the effort.


slow December 24, 2011

What I’ve learned about the publishing industry:

It’s slow.

Everything about it moves like a comatose tortoise. True, like the tortoise, sure and steady gets there eventually, but it can be ridiculously frustrating watching from the sidelines.

If an agent or publisher says they’ll get back to you in a week, s/he means a month. If they say it’ll be a month, expect to hear around four months later. Four seems to be the number to multiply by.

Ironically, I was also told that from completion of novel to publication the average book takes 4.5 years. Coincidence?

Is patience a virtue?

Perhaps. Electronic publishing speeds up many aspects of the process, but the most important one, the editing and proof-reading will still take just as long as ever.

I’m counting the days until Grace Awakening Power gets back from the editor, I can make the required changes, and it can be released by Lintusen to the world!  I was expecting it initially in November, four months after it went to the editor.  If my multiplication scenario holds, I will see it in 16 months, or perhaps 4 months after November, which puts arrival in March.


The watch-word for the author waiting for a book.

It’s a slow process.


A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: What Works: Promo for Ebooks June 27, 2011

Filed under: Commentary,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:50 am
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A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: What Works: Promo for Ebooks.

Here is a fascinating  and thorough examination of promotion strategies and ebook publication by Joe Konrath

Konrath’s blog is well worth reading by anyone interested in writing or publication.  It is full of tips and interesting articles.  You could spend a lot of time wandering through here, and I suggest you do!

I was reading on today that Amazon is getting 1000 new e-titles a week.  52,000 e-book titles a year.  Wow.  Having your book stand out in that kind of crowd is going to take a bit of effort.  We need all the help we can get!


Amanda Hocking June 21, 2011

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:34 am
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How do I know that I am Canadian?  Every time I go to write the name of young e-book millionaire Amanda Hocking, I start by writing “Hockey.”  Yeah.


Amanda Hocking is a success story.  She wasn’t being picked up by traditional publishers.  She believed she had a good product in her urban fantasy novels about trolls, and so she uploaded her first books onto, an e-book store.  They started selling.  Obviously she had found a niche that appreciated her story telling ability and the fictional worlds she created.  She treats writing as a full time job.  She crafts her stories and writes with focus.  She writes fast as well, completing a book a month.   It’s prolific to have 10 books out in a year!  Since she uploaded her first urban fantasy novel spring of 2010, Amanda has received a million dollars in royalties on e-books that sell for 99c and $2.99.  The fact is, she gets to keep so much higher percentage, she has made more than she could using a traditional publisher.

So why use one?

Amanda is an example of how the publishing industry is changing.  Once upon time, traditional publishers were the only way to access the market, but now authors can upload their books to Amazon or other ebook purveyors, and they are instantly available to readers around the world.

Once upon a time, traditional publishers were the key way to promote and market your book, but now authors maintain their own websites, Twitter accounts and communicate directly with their readers.

In my contract with my traditional publisher, I was required to keep a website and arrange speaking dates.  When all was said and done, I was likely to see about $1 per book in royalties.  I will do all the same things dealing directly with my readers through my inde pub house, and I’ll be earning double that.  Hmm.  I think we’re onto something here.

♫ The times ♪ they are ♫ a-changing. ♪


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