After Booktrope

After the collapse of  Booktrope last week, what do we know about the future of alternative publishing methods?

If you’re a writer who has been exploring how and where to submit your manuscript, you know that the publishing business has been changing at warp speed in recent years.

Traditional publishing? Self-publishing? Book packagers? Team publishers? Specialty publishers?

Booktrope in Seattle WA described itself as “Team Publishing”.

As a new resident of the Seattle area, I met a number of satisfied Booktrope authors last year at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference, and I fully intended to get more information about the Booktrope process at this year’s PNWA conference.

The announcement from Booktrope at 3 PM Pacific time last Friday came as a great shock to  the writer community, the authors and their 11 creative team employees.

From Publishers Weekly:

“Booktrope, a book publishing startup software platform that gave authors easy access to teams of editors, designers, marketers and other support staff, will close down at the end of May. According to a report on Geekwire, Booktrope is shutting operations despite raising more than a $1 million in investment in 2015.”

Booktrope authors are now scrambling to recover and place their books elsewhere.  Very discouraging and definitely not easy.

In my mind, and I’m sure most everyone else’s, this raises the question:

What is the writer’s future in any kind of publishing? Where do we go?

Everyone knows that traditional publishing has tightened its belt. Good luck getting in without some serious luck or connections. There are a lot of great writers out there. Forget about old-fashioned “over the transom” submissions.

On the opposite end, we have massive opportunities in self-publishing and it’s easier than ever. Self-publishing no longer has the negative connotation of the “vanity” presses—although there are still vanity presses to beware of.

But… that means that there’s now a glut of books in the marketplace. Especially on Amazon. Competition is fierce. Quality isn’t always the best.

In between those two methods, we had Booktrope and we still have other alternative book packagers whose creative teams assist writers so that— hopefully—they don’t take their book to market too soon and look like idiots.

On my end, now that I’m seeing the light at the end of the editing tunnel on my own manuscript, I’ll be doing some research and also pursuing the traditional pitch sessions this summer. Getting an agent is certainly as difficult as getting a publisher.

But not to worry… if you’re a writer, you know that you can’t stop writing just because of turmoil in the market. Likewise, the readers aren’t going anywhere either.


If you’d like to hear more about the Booktrope situation and how it all went down, I recommend that writers listen to A. C. Fuller’s podcast Writer 2.0 for his interview with Tess Thompson, an early Booktrope author who was with them from the beginning. A. C. Fuller’s The Anonymous Source was also a Booktrope title.

Even if you know nothing of this situation, it’ll give you a perspective on a worst case scenario.

Thanks to A. C. Fuller and Tess Thompson for a “fair and balanced” presentation of the situation, and best of luck to all who are now seeking a place for their books, as well as team positions with other publishers.








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