Can You Find Success by Mixing Traditional and Self-Publishing?

Do you have a dream of a New York book deal, complete with a fat advance, a publicity department pushing your work out to readers and the media, and stacks of your soon-to-be bestseller near the register at your local bookstore?

If you do, I bet that you’ve heard the advice, “Don’t quit your day job.” But what if you changed jobs and made writing your day job? Could you feasibly support your dream of a career with a Big Five contract with other paid writing gigs?

The data says yes.

The 7k Report by Hugh Howey shows the true power of the self-published author in the digital marketplace. In a realm where genre fiction rules, many of these writers are making enough income to support themselves with only one or two books in their catalogs. The figures are sobering, and I hope that by now you’ve taken the time to read the report and that you’re able to pick your jaw up off the floor and examine your plans and goals for your own career.

Let’s say hypothetically that I’m planning to jump back into the non-fiction pool very soon. I’ve had experience with both traditional publishing and self-publishing in the past, and I learned from that experience that traditional publishing works best with my category of non-fiction. Because of that, I plan to take the “old fashioned” route of agent-editor-publisher with my forthcoming work.

In order to assure that I can devote more of my time and attention to research and writing, I’ve decided to take a gamble and self-publish two completed works of genre fiction (romance, if you’re curious) that I’ve had stashed away for a while. If all goes well and sales are decent, I can reduce the hours spent at my day job and focus on the non-fiction project that I’m eager to complete.

Like I said, it’s a gamble. 

I will have to publish these books under a pseudonym if I plan to keep the theme of my current publishing catalog separate from the genre fiction, which means I’m essentially starting my platform from scratch. I will need to market and promote these titles, which will take time away from my non-fiction project, but it’s time that I can control. I will still need to connect with readers via social media and email to build my audience, but again, that’s time I can control.

The biggest gamble of all? I may do all of this and not make a single dollar.

After reading The 7k Report, how would you handle the hypothetical scenario above? Would you write for money to better enable yourself to write for passion, or would you skip the risk and stick with the hours on the day job? How about the Secret Third Option: Would you give up the dream of the Big Five contract and pursue self-publishing exclusively like author Brenna Aubrey?