Thursday, October 1, 2015

Guest Post: SYDNEY SCROGHAM on Hybrid Publishing

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Sydney Scrogrum to share her tale of publishing CHASE:

Why Go From Traditional To Hybrid Publishing?

When I was twelve years old, I wrote a 30-some page mini book “series” about a My Little Pony farm run by Beanie Babies. That was the beginning of “Chase’s” story world.

I knew then I wanted to be a writer. I’ve never felt as alive as I have writing books. Words came off of the page and became real life for me, and I wrote for years later up until the point I finished the first draft of “Chase.” I was in my sophomore year of high school at the time in the middle of a creative writing class. The teacher was an editor.

She read “Chase” and submitted it to her press. I remember her saying something like, “I don’t know if they’ll take it or not, but it’s worth a shot.”

Months later, the small press took my book. My dream to be published was coming true. I waited until I was eighteen, officially “legal,” to sign my contract, and Chase’s long, four-year road to publication began.

Why did it take so long, you ask?

Well, there was a lot of editing. Up to three years of it, in fact. The small press respected that I was a student, and balancing school work and editing a book at the same time was more than a full plate for my young self. If I’d moved faster, “Chase’s” publishing road would’ve been a little different.
Somewhere, a plot twist had to creep in. It looked like this. The small press was undergoing some major changes because they were new. Up at the end of my three year span with them (and still an unpublished book), I discovered “Chase” would no longer be published.

Outraged doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. I’d been waiting three years to hold my book in print, and with one e-mail, that dream was undone. And now, I had a decision to make. Outside my writing life, I was about to graduate from college.

I could take the easy road and fall into a career working 9-5 and leave the book thing behind. It was, after all, pretty screwed over anyway. Or, plan B, I could fight for what I know I’m made to do. Write.

I chose to fight for the book. At the time, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, November) was just around the corner. Because I was tired of editing “Chase’s” first draft (and I was somewhat paranoid that the small press had developed my book without my knowledge and been selling it – yes, it was that bad), I decided to do a complete rewrite of “Chase” during the month of November.

I succeeded, and I’ll spare you all of the tiny details that happened next. Trying to find a new press was a lot of work. I studied the art of querying, took a Writer’s Digest class where an agent read the first ten pages of my manuscript, and struggled to write a good synopsis. This process felt like years, but it took only a few months in reality (and I think that’s an incredibly short time to find a publisher).

About three months after November, I got an e-mail back from an acquisitions editor at Koehler Books. Long story short, I was thoroughly impressed by getting calls from this editor, and finally, the publisher himself.

As a short aside, the business of publishing is just that – a business. Veteran authors know that. First-time authors (like those in my situation) are seen as a huge risk to publishers, unless they come with a giant fan base, because they don’t have any previously successful sales. I understood that business mind-set completely. When Koehler Books said that I couldn’t have a traditional book deal just yet, I took the next offer on the table. That was Koehler’s Emerging Author Program.

According to other authors I’ve talked with, I’m in one of the best hybrid publishing deals in the business. Take that to mean what you will. “Hybrid publishing” means that the author and the publisher split the risk of handling the book’s production. In my situation with Koehler Books, not only am I getting my book made just the way I wanted it, but I’m also getting mentored. I know there are people phone calls away from helping me if I needed it, and I don’t know of any other authors who have that kind of working relationship with their publisher.

From March 2015 up until today, I’ve worked hard. If you’re trying to publish a book, be prepared! It’s a lot of work, but it is rewarding work. Over the past few months, I’ve worked with Koehler Books to edit “Chase’s” second draft, write the blurb that goes on the back cover (way harder than it looks and totally impossible without my virtual community!), and settle on a beautiful cover. 

Now, on August 1, “Chase” was released to the world.

If you want to get published, the journey starts today. Right now. Decide to do it, and commit to it. Start learning everything you can. The internet is full of mostly great resources – don’t get scammed into buying anything. And start building your audience. Find an outlet in social media that works for you. Whether you’re trying to get an agent or a publisher, that’s something they look for! And finally, connect with other writers. They are your friends. I found my community through Facebook, and it already had an organized critique group. Those ladies watch my back, and I’ve learned so much from them.

Take the time and make the investment to get your story as good as it can be. That’s what I’ve done with “Chase,” and every step of the way has been worth it. I can honestly say I’m glad I lost my traditional publishing deal because I’m in a much better place with Koehler Books.

Book Trailer

Author Bio: 

Sydney Scrogham has been a horse owner writing novels on the side for the past ten years. She actively writes for Flash! Fridayand Porsche Club of America e-Break News. When she isn’t writing, Sydney can be found at the barn with her horse Snowdy. Apart from Snowdy, Sydney’s inspiration for writing includes spending time with God, watching ABC’s Castle or Marvel movies, Breyer model horses, Bionicle Legos, and taking long walks in the middle of nowhere. Sydney’s driving passion is to see people revive and chase after their dreams. 

To learn more, check out her blog at or tweet @sydney_writer

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