Three weeks ago, I was sitting in the middle of a church board meeting at our house. During a few down minutes, I checked my email…and bellowed “YES!” with a fist-pump.
My fellow board members were somewhat startled.
In my inbox was an email from Rachel Thompson. I’ve mentioned her several times, both here and elsewhere, as being a great resource for writers who need social media guidance. She’s also a published writer through Booktrope, and as of a few months ago, the director of their Gravity Books imprint.
She was letting me know that Gravity was interested in picking up The Sad Girl.
SQUUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! (Sorry for the vague tweet)
— Bob Mueller (@bobmueller) July 27, 2015
Yeah, I was excited.
Booktrope, with some 400 titles and eight imprints, is a hybrid publisher. What’s a hybrid publisher? The traditional publishing deal involves employees at a publishing house working with the author and an agent. The publishing house might have staff editors, staff cover artists, staff proofreaders, etc. Those people put forth their best effort, but they got paid the same amount no matter how well your book performed. In a “normal” self-publishing deal, the author has to go hire their own editor, their own cover artist, and so forth. Those folks are all paid ahead of time, out of the author’s pocket, and while they should put forth their best effort, they already got paid before the book is ever released.
With the Booktrope model, the author builds a book team, with a manager (who also helps guide marketing efforts), editor, cover artist and proofreader. Each team member is paid a negotiated share of the profits for the book, so everyone has some skin in the game. The more successful a book is, the more everyone on the team makes.
I had talked with Rachel via social media several times, and knew she thought well of the BT model, since she had signed with them. I did my own research, liked what I saw, and submitted The Sad Girl back in April to Vox Dei, their Christian imprint (tagline: “Christian books for a messy world”). Vox Dei declined, but Rachel picked it up for Gravity. Why Gravity? I wondered the same thing for a few days, but then I realized that the story really does fit. It’s not just about Danielle’s trauma and recovery, but Danny’s too. She’s the obvious one. But he’s got some recovering to do as well.
So what does that mean for me? Among other things, there will be another edit, and probably another book cover. The hundred or so people who have already bought copies now have collector’s editions! I’ve got the sequel done, and I’ll probably be submitting that to Gravity as well. I’m pretty sure I’ll also give Vox Dei a shot at Don’t Stop Believin’ as well. But the beauty of the system is that even if Booktrope declines to pick up any of my new submissions, I’m allowed to self-publish them if I want, and The Sad Girl will stay with them. It’ll be a win-win all the way around, I think.
At this point, I expect TSG to be re-released some time around Thanksgiving. That’s based on the normal project timeline Booktrope expects, less a very scientifically estimated little bit of time because the book has already been edited once.
At this point, I already have a Book Manager and an Editor. Still need to choose an artist, but that’s down the road a bit, and I want to get team input on the existing cover.
I am incredibly excited about this deal, and looking forward to a long, productive relationship with everyone at Booktrope.