"Hybridity keeps me from being rigid about most things. It has taught me to appreciate the contradictions in the world and in my life. I scavenge from the best." ~ Jessica Hagedorn, Filipino Writer
Hybridity is fascinating. Connecting two adjacent but different worlds while being both here and there, it is able to absorb the strengths of both. More importantly, being hybrid enables one to observe and learn to avoid the problems of both worlds.
My interest in hybridity intensifies as I continue to study how identities help to shape not only how one is received by the others but also how one perceives oneself. Identities -- ethnic, cultural or literary -- often serve as ways in which simple concepts are used to categorize individuals and groups, with positive or negative stereotypes arising as consequences. Worse, if allowed or even encouraged, such simple concepts can turn into standards, norms, rules and even laws. In the same way that movie stars are typecast, writers can be so pigeonholed that they cannot break free.
I have also been studying how writers use their assigned or self-assigned identities to further their careers. This is not a bad thing, particularly in this day and age of self-promotion. A writer's capacity to be identified everywhere at all times is definitely something to desire for. It involves trust, something that can be achieved only with lots of hard work and genuine willingness to reward readers with the best.
I first read about the term "hybrid author" in The Creative Penn blog. While Joanne may not be the first to propose such an idea, she serves as a good role model in actively seeking out and achieving well in different genres, languages, platforms and markets. Reading her blog, one would instantly notice her willingness to experiment with new things and report on the results. She is not afraid of trying. More importantly, she is not afraid of sharing.
As a writer, I am pleased to share that I have gone hybrid, too. It is not a big deal at all, as all I did was to have some of my ebooks published as print books. I am sure that many readers of this blog have already done so and achieved great results.
However, as the only publisher specialized in Chinese ebooks who actively assists writers in English and Chinese languages to promote their titles in multiple digital formats in both Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese, I am convinced that going hybrid leads the way to a brand new world. In the Chinese market that is just beginning to embrace digital publishing and reading, such hybridity will help authors to entice lovers of both ebooks and print books. More importantly, authors will be able to bypass the gatekeepers (i.e. agents, publishers and governments who pick and choose using such criteria as "commercial potential" and/or "political correctness") and come into direct contact with readers.
In the Chinese market as well as in the West, content is the king. What authors need to do is to have their content read, in as many languages and formats and by as many readers as possible. Going hybrid means branching out, taking the initiative, offering the first olive branch, even throwing the first punch (and perhaps receiving one as well, which means you have at least got their attention). As that old phrase says, "You never know until you have a go."
So I am going now... and will keep you posted with results.
Sincerely, Christine Sun, Manager, eBook Dynasty
Image thanks to: "Where, Oh Where, Has My Little Book Gone? Where, Oh Where, Can It Be?" by Emile Richards.