Thea Harrison's Hybrid Moments

There's no one right way to publish a story. For many authors, there are multiple routes to explore. Thea Harrison's Elder Race series is a great example of an author who has chosen to publish traditionally, with a small press and independently across the same universe. Today she's here to talk about her publishing journey and why she felt different stories were suited for different publishing methods.

Being a hybrid author is an interesting and challenging experience, and my path to becoming one took a few years. I returned to fiction writing by going the traditional publishing route. I’ve had nine books in my Elder Races series contracted by Berkley Publishing. Six of those have been published, and the seventh, Night's Honor, releases September 2.

An image showing the covers of Night's Honor, The Wicked and Pia Saves the Day by Thea Harrison

While unquestionably I love those bigger, full-length novels and storylines, there were other aspects to the Elder Races universe that intrigued me — world-building that I wanted to do, along with side characters who were in my head, and who wouldn’t necessarily warrant a full-length book but who were begging me to tell their stories.

This was when I began to publish novellas in the series with Samhain Publishing. By this point, I had some of the full-length novels written and I felt like I had learned what to expect from that process.

Working with a smaller press meant that we could move at a faster pace, and I had the great fortune to have an editor who was excited and willing to coordinate with me around my Berkley deadlines. With Samhain, I wrote five novellas, the first four of which are linked stories that I call the Tarot novellas. Still, there were two sets of deadlines and times when my schedule got quite hectic with juggling both. A strong work ethic and good organization skills got me through those times.

By this point I had grown curious about what it would be like to take on self-publishing projects. My first self-publishing adventure was the sixth Elder Races novella, "Dragos Takes A Holiday", and it was quite a learning experience. This week I’ve just released my second self-published novella, "Pia Saves The Day", and in July I’ll release a short story titled "Peanut Goes To School". Each release has taught me so much more about the publishing process, and I’m privileged to work with wonderful, talented people every step of the way.

What I like about self-publishing in the hybrid experience is that it offers the greatest amount of maneuverability around contract obligations and deadlines. If necessary, it’s possible to set aside a self-published project to meet a contracted deadline without throwing another set of deadlines into chaos. I am in control of the one process, which allows me to balance working with the other.

The final piece in what helps me with living the hybrid author life is having an excellent assistant that I can rely on. My assistant Janine came to work with me in January, and her efficient enthusiasm frees up more of my time to do more of what I came into this business to do — which is write.

- Thea Harrison

You can pick up Thea's latest Elder Races story, "Pia Saves the Day", available now. For more supernatural love stories visit our Everything Paranormal & Urban Fantasy page.