Terminology: Legacy Publishing, Indie Publishing, Hybrid Authors

Writing may be a solitary pursuit, but at some point most writers want to sell their stories. These are some of the more common terms used today in regards to the avenues that an author can pursue a larger, paying audience for their books. (Books, largely meaning novels.)

Traditional, or legacy publishing, is the process that has been in place for the better part of a century involving the pursuit of a contract with a company that specializes in printing and distribution, and who have staff – including editors – supporting the successful publication of a book. Today, most traditional publishers prefer agented submissions – writers who have an agent submitting a manuscript on their behalf – from unknown authors.

Independent, or self publishing, has been around for almost as long as legacy publishing, available to those who had the capital to invest in custom ordering printed copies of their books. Today, there are many digital publishing options open to those willing to pursue them. Independent publishing requires the author to fill the roles (either personally or by hiring a separate entity) of editing, cover design, and marketing, among others, to ensure their book’s success.

Hybrid authors are a relatively new, and somewhat disputed title, for a third avenue for writers. They are those who embrace legacy publishing while maintaining enough control over their careers – avoiding contracts that require exclusivity or have non-compete clauses – to have the freedom to independently publish other works.

There are costs and benefits to every approach, but keep in mind that in the end, a reader who is holding your story in their hands doesn’t care how it got there, they’re just happy to be able to have the chance to give it a read.


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