Although these conditions can be discouraging for new writers, the good news is that the publishing industry has expanded to include other venues for publication. In recent years, many emerging writers have turned to self-publication or independent (“indie”) publishers. But these are not the only alternatives to traditional publishing.
Acorn Publishing, a company based in Southern California, offers a new route to authorship: hybrid publishing. According to their online site, hybrid publishing is a novel approach to publishing that combines the benefits of traditional publishing with the freedoms of self-publishing.
Co-founders Jessica Therrien and Holly Kammier started Acorn Publishing as an imprint to publish their own books, including Kammier’s 2015 novel “Kingston Court” and Therrien’s YA fantasy series “Children of the Gods,” which both landed among the top 50 Barnes & Nobles list for all fiction. After the success of their books, Therrien and Kammier decided to take advantage of the “increasing gap between the world of traditional publishing and the wild frontier of self-publishing” and offer their services to other writers.
When asked about the innovative method of publishing, Kammier shared that one of the main benefits of hybrid publishing is that it provides writers with a sense of control over their creative work — something that is often lost in the traditional publishing process.
“We feel that it is really important that writers are running the show because we understand this whole industry inside and out,” Kammier said. “More importantly, we know what it feels like to be writers and to be vulnerable and put your work out there and how scary the process can be the first time you go through it.”
Being authors themselves, Kammier and Therrien wanted to ensure that their writers would have a say in every step of the publishing process. Authors usually pay a flat fee upfront, which is based on the publishing package they choose and retain the rights to their work, Kammier explains.
The whole process is much like hiring a contractor who oversees the production of a book and can offer insight into the job. While the Acorn Publishing team tackles the tedious, complex side of publishing — copy editing, acquiring cover designs, marketing — the writer is free to focus on their craft. This freedom allows authors to focus on writing their next book.
And, like most major publishing houses, Acorn Publishing welcomes a wide range of material. According to their submission guidelines, they accept manuscripts from almost every genre. This inclusivity is what makes authorship accessible, especially for young writers.
As an aspiring author, I was impressed to learn about the company’s experience in YA fiction, which caters to a teenage and young adult audience, and their support of having audience-age authors submit manuscripts.
Kammier expressed that Acorn Publishing is interested in representing younger authors who are new to the writing and publishing industry.
“The idea of having high school students that have written YA books I think would be wildly popular with readers,” Kammier said.
For those of us just beginning our writing careers, Acorn’s hybrid model of publishing presents a smooth path to publication that prioritizes writers and their level of comfort in the process. Despite the relatively new approach, Acorn Publishing’s successful background proves that hybrid publishing offers endless opportunities.