Publishing spinoffs?

I know there's no hope of a traditional publisher ever picking up one of my webserials, but I still think the world I set The Gray Ranger in has the potential for a ton of spinoff stories. Do you think a publisher would be open to one of those? Or does the fact that I've already self-published something related to it make the whole concept untouchable?

I don't have any real experience with trad pub, but from what I've heard, as long as the stories are new and not replicated anywhere, you're probably fine. I'm pretty sure people have self-published and later gotten picked up for official release. Worst case scenario I can think of is they pick up the new Grey Ranger book, like it, but make you remove the other Ranger stuff from Amazon for a time. Best case is, the new book does well, they might be interested in publishing the rest of the Ranger stuff.

At any rate, wouldn't hurt to give it a try, see what they say about it. I've read two of your books, they were fun and had a level of polish I just haven't seen on any other webfic. If the rest of your work is just a solid, it's a real shame if you haven't been picked up yet.

Thankfully, the stigma of self-publishing is beginning to lift bit-by-bit, meaning having a property go indie is no longer the death knell of traditional publishing it once was. While not many publishers will pick up a series mid-run (outside of wild success and other extenuating circumstances) you may find several receptive to taking on a new series that has an existing fanbase, which a spin-off serial would.

Keep in mind though, there's a wide spectrum of publishers out there. The pre-existing property might be seen as a boon for a smaller press really looking to make a name, whereas if your goal is to get an agent and take it through the Big Five, the serial-spinoff issue could become a liability. Our stigma is lifting, not gone, and the most insulated parts of the industry are the ones slowest to let go of the idea that indie is lesser.

One more thing to note: outside of major presses like the Big 5, there isn't as much difference between indie and traditional as you might think. Most of the resources and tools they use are available to you through Amazon, and while we all definitely need an editor, cover artist, etc, often paying upfront for a freelancer is much cheaper than giving up a bigger chunk of royalties. Yes, some will have marketing teams or even bookstore placement, but those tools tend to get busted out for their more established authors. Being a new author in traditional publishing is pretty close to being indie, at least until you get in with the Heavy hitters. If traditional publishing is your dream, by all means go for it, I just like to make sure folks know there's not as big of line between that and indie as some of the older publishing guard likes to pretend.

Good luck with your project, no matter what format you take it down!

It would take place in the same world, but be completely disconnected from The Gray Ranger. They might go to some of the same places and encounter some of the same things, but they wouldn't meet the same characters or go on the same journey.