Things are starting to calm down a bit after last week’s announcement about Booktrope. There are still a lot of shell-shocked and heartbroken people though.
How big was Booktrope? How many people were affected? Our Teamtrope environment listed 563 people as authors, and a total of 1,073 in a variety of roles, from author to editor, proofreader, cover designer, and staff. Many people wore multiple hats; 11 of the 21 staff were listed as authors, for example.
We’ve all been nervous, or scared, or angry, or hurt, and we’ve asked lots of questions: How is this going to work? What do we do about that? When can we see this? Where did this file go? But all of the thoughts and fears and questions we #BootropeSurvivors have been asking though boil down to one question:
What are we going to do now?
Some of the authors have already decided they’re done with publishing. They’re hanging it up, never to be heard from again. I ache for those folks, because they’ve lost their dream. I hope they’ll change their minds down the road. Booktrope really did put out some quality books, and those authors should be read. Others have already been signed by an agent and/or a publisher. Quite a few are pushing ahead to get their existing Booktrope books ready to re-release as self-published books.
What am I going to do?
Join me as I process things.
It’s been a very emotional week here. When the news first broke, I may have uttered an expletive or three. I had one book already published, and two others in my production grid, ready to start putting a creative team together. It was going to be a great year. And then the rug slipped away underneath me.
There was a lot of “What the hell am I going to do now?” going through my head. The announcement talked about rights reverting, but lots of questions were being raised on Facebook about how everyone would be properly and fairly compensated.
Then my thoughts ran to my Gravity friends and family. So many of them have already dealt with horrendous trauma in their life; that’s what the Gravity imprint was all about. How was this going to affect them? I had heard them talk about the blood and sweat and gallons of tears they had shed while putting their story into words on paper. It was agonizing for many of them. And now that moment was gone. What were they going to do? Would they survive yet another trauma?
That sounds melodramatic to some, but the reality is that putting a story out there – especially a memoir like so many of these authors did – was in most cases just as traumatic as surviving the story they were talking about in the first place. Friday night, I was more concerned about my Gravity family than for myself.
At first, I thought that it wasn’t going to be a big deal for me. I had self-published before Booktrope, and it would be easy enough for me to do it again. All I’d need to do would be to edit the Sad Girl manuscript and cover to get rid of references to Booktrope and Gravity, and re-upload them, I’d be fine. Probably not even a week-long blip in availability.
But then the doubts came creeping back. Creeping? No, more like marauding back in a thundering horde. The reality was that prior to Booktrope, it had taken me 22 months to sell a hundred books. That’s not exactly earth-shattering. Or confidence-inspiring.
Have I ever mentioned how shy I am? I had the book formatted and ready to go for probably two months before I could bring myself to click “Publish.” I was petrified that no one was going to read it or that if anyone actually did read it, they’d hate it.
The latter wasn’t true, as it turned out (all of my reviews at Amazon and Goodreads have been 3-star or better), and the former became something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I was so worried that no one would like it that I did little to no promotion, and what I did was the wrong kind of promotion. I spent too much time and money yelling “BUY MY BOOK!” on Twitter, and no time actually trying to engage readers.
But now I’ve learned – and seen the results of – actually talking with people on Twitter and Facebook, instead of constantly cajoling people about buying my book. I’ve got more Twitter followers, and my sales went up. I’ve tried to change the tone of my tweets, too.
Where does all of this leave me?
- My publisher is going away.
- I’ve learned a lot in the last few months.
- I’ve got one book that will ready to go June 1st-ish.
- I’ve got another that can go out very soon after that one.
- There’s a third book that can be published by the end of the year.
- There’s a fourth book that can be ready by summer 2017.
- I’ve got 11 – yes eleven – book ideas for my new series.
- I’m nervous. Really nervous. Shy introvert here.
- I’ve learned a lot in the last few months. (Yes, I already said this.)
- I’ve got a tremendous support system in place, made up of both the Artists Formerly Known as Gravity, as well as #BooktropeSurvivors.
So what am I going to do?
I’m going to survive. Join me, won’t you?