On Friday afternoon, April 29, 2016 hundreds of authors, editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and book managers received disheartening news that their publisher Booktrope is going out of business. Booktrope is a hybrid publisher that gave new and seasoned authors an alternative to traditional publishing and an innovative option to launch their books without the upfront costs of independent publishing (editing, proofreading, formatting, and cover design). The creative people involved in the process of publishing the books were all freelancers. Instead of getting paid a flat fee, creative team members would get a percentage of royalties. It certainly wasn’t for everyone, but it worked for a lot authors and freelancers. At least for a while. Things began to fall apart over the past year or so as the company attempted to grow and innovate. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great idea, but sadly, it just didn’t work.
My history with Booktrope
A friend of mine was on the staff and had tried to persuade me to relaunch my Amazon best-selling horror novel Devil’s Nightmare with Booktrope a couple of years ago. It was tempting, because my first edition wasn’t professionally edited, but it was still selling well. Long story short, in December, 2014, I decided to take the offer and publish both Devil’s Nightmare novels with Booktrope under their Forsaken horror imprint. I wasn’t thrilled about giving up a chunk of my royalty share, but my books needed professional editing and I couldn’t afford the upfront costs.
After putting together my team, I spent the next six months getting Devil’s Nightmare edited, proofread, new cover designed, laid out, and re-published under Booktrope’s Forsaken horror imprint. After seeing the final product, I knew I had made the right decision. Devil’s Nightmare is much better now. We relaunched it on July 6, 2015 and then relaunched the sequel Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions on February 16, 2015. While the process took longer than I had hoped, it was worth it… until rumors started spreading that Booktrope wasn’t doing well and struggling to stay afloat.
Signs of impending closure
About six months ago, my friend who “recruited” me left the company. He was professional about it and never told me specifically why he left, but I had my suspicions. A number of editors, cover designers, and authors had also jumped ship over the past several months. The company started making changes that I thought were positive, and just recently had gotten Devil’s Nightmare and several other Sci-Fi and Horror authors’ books in a Humble Bundle promotion giving us a lot of new potential readers. Nearly 7,000 bundles were sold in March. And then BookBub (a very popular promotional book club) selected Devil’s Nightmare to be featured in their May 3 newsletter. Things were looking great! Then I got the news that Booktrope was officially going out of business.
A message from Booktrope:
We are deeply saddened to report Booktrope is ceasing business effective May 31, 2016. We are not accepting submissions and production is complete.
Booktrope has helped hundreds of authors get over 4 million copies of their books into the hands of readers. We are proud our creative teams have produced almost 1000 books using our platform. Thank you to all readers, authors, investors, partners, and creative team members who were a part of this journey with us.
Booktrope plans to de-list every book published by them on May 31, which means I will need to re-publish Devil’s Nightmare and Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions once again. This couldn’t have come at a worse time… right as I’m about to launch a big promotion. Needless to say, I’m a bit frustrated.
I don’t regret my decision to publish with Booktrope because of the friendships I’ve made with staff members and fellow authors. I’ve also learned a few things about the publishing industry. But most importantly, I think I’ve learned that I’m an “indie” at heart. So, I’m not going to let this temporary obstacle knock me down. I started my writing career as an indie author and I’ve decided to continue down that path. This has created some unexpected work for me and will delay a couple of projects, but I’m okay with that. It’s just part of this unpredictable business.
Stay tuned for what comes next as I transition back to self-publishing. For those of you who have purchased my books, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude. One door is shutting, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on my dreams. I promise to continue to work hard to bring you more stories for years to come. I may also have some really exciting news in the near future. I just can’t say anything, because nothing is official yet. How’s that for a cliffhanger? 🙂
Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!