Hybrid Publishing a Middle-Grade Sci-Fi Novel
by K.J. Kruk
Every writer dreams about getting published. However, after taking months upon years to finish their manuscripts, they’re greeted with three options:
1. Battle through a million rejection letters for a very slim chance of landing an agent (who may or may not procure them a traditional publishing deal)
2. Go through even more blood, sweat, and tears to try to figure out how to self-publish (successfully)
3. Forget about their publishing dreams completely.
Not very enticing options…
Enter hybrid publishing!
What’s hybrid publishing?—In short, it’s a merger of traditional publishing and self-publishing. The hybrid author remains in full control over their work—just as they would if they’d self-published—but receives the benefits of having a publication team assist with the production and placement of their work—just as if they’d been traditionally published.
How’s hybrid publishing like traditional publishing?—There’s a vetting process. A contract. And an array of tasks the hybrid publisher will perform just like a traditional publisher would, such as: editing, design work, composition, printing, shipping, warehousing, marketing, and figuring out how to get the final product into bookstores, libraries, and so forth. But instead of the author receiving an advance for the rights to their work (coupled with a low royalty rate), the hybrid author pays the publishing house upfront to cover the costs of publication, and, therefore, maintains the rights to their work (and gains a more appealing royalty).
Hybrid publishing is similar to self-publishing because both the hybrid author and self-published author sit in the director’s chair for the entirety of the publication process. Everything from design decisions to marketing plans (and beyond!) is in the hands of the author.
So who makes a good candidate to go hybrid?—Someone who’s both a dreamer and a realist. Someone who can wear the director’s pants for every stage of publication, but who also has a shrewd eye for business management and is aware of what it takes to cultivate public interest and grow a loyal following. A hybrid author understands that publication is a business, not a dream. It’s cause and effect. It’s a quantitative science. You get in what you put out.
And hybrid publishing is how my debut middle-grade science fiction novel, LEO GRAY AND THE LUNAR ECLIPSE, came out!
How did that all start?—It all began after leaving a very sensible career in Minneapolis to try to find some greater life purpose in Hawaii.
Unfortunately, that greater life purpose turned out to be scrubbing the toilets of vacation rentals…
Long toilet-story short, I was looking at the moon glimmering over Diamondhead (the iconic crater seen on every “I’m-here-and-you’re-not” postcard sent from Waikiki) on the lanai of one of those filthy rentals when a lady from the future popped into my head and started yapping about how she wished her husband would buy their family a robotic dishwasher.
I was instantly intrigued and started writing her story, which turned out to be about her son, Leo Gray.
Who’s Leo Gray?—He’s this super smart, science-loving kid who’s trapped under the shadow of his unconventional family in the year 2113. His parents don’t drive a self-flying car, they don’t wear ozone protective clothes, and they don’t let Leo participate in normal 22nd-century activities like air-boarding or hover-skating.
This leaves Leo longing for an out, and the moon’s new city, Luna City, seems the ideal spot. With the help of his robotic teacher, Leo wins a rocket-building competition and acceptance to the Lunar Academy. But when he arrives, Leo and his friends Andromeda Groves (a code hacking expert from Canada), Pavo Digbi (a history buff from Brazil), and Gruswaldious Pinwheel (a comically endearing and musically gifted Aussie), soon realize things are not as they seem when they unearth plots to destroy Earth and Luna City.
Kirkus Reviews recommends Leo Gray and the Lunar Eclipse to anyone who enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. You can read their review here, or you can pick up a copy today at Barnes and Noble or have it delivered to your door or Kindle via Amazon.