Booktrope, who are they anyway?

In my last blog, I told you I was publishing “The Devil Within” through Booktrope.  Now I’d like to tell you a little bit about Booktrope, why I chose them, and what my experience with them has been like.

In the beginning, I took the path of many other authors before me. I hemmed and hawed, and I didn’t want anyone to see my work.  If you’re an author you probably know about the anxiety of showing others your work. I have a fear of criticism (don’t most people?) and for a while I let it hold me back. Last year I had a revelation. I had been complaining for far too long that I wanted to be an author without actually doing anything an author does.  I set goals. I began to write, and then I set long term goals. My first long term goal was to self-publish a book in January 2015.  Okay—this is a fib—originally I wanted to self-publish in November 2014. We all know how I love procrastinating right? Plus November and December are crazy holiday months, and I had some important family/personal things crop up that took precedence over my writing.

I published No Turning Back in January 2015. I only published it in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. I intended (and still do) to go through Createspace to produce paper books, but then my life took a turn when Booktrope accepted The Devil Within.

Woo—this story is longer than one of my novels. Anyway.  A few months back, I became part of a group called the Writing Wenches. One of my wenches (and I mean that as sweetly as possible), encouraged me to submit to Booktrope since she is as a project/book manager for them.

I didn’t know if The Devil Within was ready. I had slowly been putting it out on Wattpad, but didn’t have a huge audience, because let’s face it, Southern Literature is not their biggest thing. I had great feedback from friends, and so I thought Heck, why not give it a shot. Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever publish The Devil Within because the story is tragic and can be hard to read. I wasn’t sure there was a market for it, and after my failure of marketing No Turning Back and then reading about how Booktrope provides a book market manager, I thought it was worth a shot.

So what makes Booktrope different? First of all, they’re considered a hybrid publisher.  They do not take every book submitted to them, but they do take a lot of books because they have open submissions. They’re less concerned with taking a book of literary genius than giving talented writers out there a chance to showcase their work.  You could say they’re quantity over quality, and maybe that’s how they make the majority of their money, but they do produce quality work, and they have talented writers.  Plus, they give an author a chance to have their book published when their queries aren’t turning agents’ heads, or when they’ve been rejected for the million-cajillionith time, or when they think they’ve written something good or great but they’re unsure of what agent to query because maybe it doesn’t fit in a nice, tidy genre box.  Booktrope is not a vanity press.  Booktrope gives authors the opportunity to pick a team, to work with that team to make their book as good as possible, and then each team member gets a cut of the royalties.  Nothing is spent upfront, unless you want to do some specialized marketing, i.e. a blog tour. That said, even though there’s a marketing manager, the author is still responsible for a shit ton of marketing. Shortly, I will be producing a newsletter, calling newspapers, and promoting my work. This is the same in almost every publisher of today.

Overall, I’ve been happy with my Booktrope experience. When I first signed on, I was a little lost in their system because it’s a learning curve. I do feel there should be some formal training for authors so they don’t have to figure it all out themselves. There are some documents on their homepage for authors, but it would be nice if Booktrope would set expectations for authors and book managers together, so they know what to expect from one another. I found all the people I worked with to be courteous and professional. I also had the opportunity to meet other authors and help promote their work, which I’m always glad to do for fellow fledglings.

Will I use Booktrope again? That has yet to be determined. I’ll see how this release goes. I’ll figure out if they address some kinks in the system that really need to be addressed, and I’ll make the decision at a later time.

Until then, stay tuned for more news on how The Devil Within came to be!

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