Back in August, I wrote about getting the email that every author dreams about: that message from a publisher saying, “We really like your story, and we want to publish it.”
It was a thrill beyond belief.
I was already self-published, and the book had received some good reviews, but that’s nothing compared to a business telling you your work has merit, and they want to work with you to share it with the world. Even better in my mind was getting to work with someone like Rachel Thompson. I’d read a lot of her stuff, both personal and publishing-related, and had a ton of respect for her. I still do. I’ve learned so much from her over the months that we’ve been acquainted, and worked together.
The creative team I put together have all been incredible: My book manager, Melissa Flickinger; my editor Wendy Garfinkle, and my cover designer Yosbe Calma. Melissa did a lot to help me get on my feet as far as promotion and marketing. Yosbe did a great job with the new cover, really capturing the darkness of the story. Wendy had it kind of easy, since my friend Joy Henley at Inkstained Editing did such a good job the first time around, but she was great to work with.
And my fellow Gravity authors are all so incredibly talented and brave and strong. More than once I’ve read their stories through teary eyes as they talked about months of domestic abuse, or multiple sexual assaults, or dealing with the stigma and fear and uncertainty of a variety of mental illnesses. I’ve wanted to reach across the internet to hold them and tell them it’s going to be alright.
But Friday, I got an email from Booktrope like so many other authors have received in recent months. They are closing their doors, effective May 31.
We are deeply saddened to report Booktrope is ceasing business effective May 31, 2016. We are not accepting submissions and production is complete.
Much has been accomplished by Booktrope and our community over the past six years. But even with a collection of excellent books and with very strong contributions by creative teams who’ve provided editing, design and marketing services, Booktrope books have not generated sufficient revenues to make the business viable. We have helped hundreds of authors get over 4 million copies of their books into readers’ hands through sales and giveaways. We’re proud that our creative teams have produced almost 1000 terrific books using our platform. We want to express our appreciation for the contributions of all the creative team members and Booktrope staff who have built our technologies, provide production services, done layouts, managed distribution channels and royalty tracking, and provided marketing support. We want to express our gratitude to all of you.
I’m not going to try and analyze what went wrong. I’m sure there will be industry articles posted in the next few days that will do that; it’s not my forte. When it comes right down to it, the bolded sentence above covers the issue. They’re hardly the first to close, even this year. Romance publisher Samhain Publishing announced in February that they were working on closing, and Partners Book Distributing closed down in March. UK publisher Five Simple Steps shuttered in March as well. Harris Publications, home of niche magazines like Combat Handguns, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement , Guitar World, and Revolver, announced the same day that they were closing after almost 40 years. So Booktrope’s closure, while immensely disappointing to several hundred people, isn’t exactly surprising. Booktrope tried hard, but the sales just weren’t there to support the business.
What does that mean for me?
Rights to The Sad Girl will revert to me after BT closes. We’re told at this point those who are already published can keep the existing cover (which I rather like), but will need to edit out any references to Booktrope, like logos, barcodes, etc., which all makes sense. Likewise, authors need to edit the interior of our books for the same issues before re-releasing or re-re-releasing, in my case.
There will be a period after the company closes where my book will not be available for sale while I deal with all of the editing, but I hope and expect that to be very brief. What that means is, if you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to buy a copy of The Sad Girl, this is it!
Side note: This will be the third edition of the book in three years. That rather boggles the mind, doesn’t it? It does mine, at any rate.
It’ll take time to edit the cover and manuscript to remove BT references. Once that’s done though, it’ll be available again. Don’t Stop Believing is basically ready to go. I have an e-book cover done for it, so I’ll just have to format the manuscript for Kindle, and it can be released. I was just getting ready to get the sequel to The Sad Girl edited, so I expect that to be released close to Christmas at this point.
Booktrope has been a learning experience for me, and like any learning experience, there’s been bad mixed with the good. Yes, the closure hurts. But I’ve made a bunch of real friends in the publishing community, and for a sometimes painfully shy introvert, that’s saying something. I’ve sold more books in the six months I was with Gravity than I had in the previous 21 months.
For my Booktrope and Gravity family and friends, grace and peace and strength and wisdom to you, especially the staff members who are dealing with all of our anger and pain whilst processing their own feelings.
I have one of the best jobs in the world: I get paid to tell stories. But it wouldn’t be quite as much fun if people didn’t read them. Thank you for your support.