Hybrid Publisher Booktrope Closing Its Doors

Posted: April 30, 2016 in Booktrope, Business, Forsaken, Horror, Publishing, Thrillers, Writing


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.

Moving forward

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? 🙂


Sharky Teeth


Profile Photo (Cropped)

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!

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  1. […] Sharkbait Writes: Hybrid Publisher Booktrope Closing Its Doors […]


  2. danniehill says:

    The good news– you still have some great books that are all yours. I never asked how your sells went with Booktrope? The services sounded nice but I always wondered if that translated to sells. Great success in the future, Rob


    • I had some good months and bad months, but overall it wasn’t very profitable. Going back to indie publishing will give me back more royalty share and full control of my book. I learned a few things, though, and made a lot of new friends while publishing with Booktrope.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Hybrid Publisher Booktrope Closing Its Doors […]


  4. […] Hybrid Publisher Booktrope Closing Its Doors […]


  5. Congrats on getting your rights back. We’re all in this mess together.


    • Yes, we are. At least we have that. One thing that hasn’t changed is the community bond we all have. It’s been nice to be able to vent (and laugh) with everyone else affected by this sudden closure. Our publisher may be going out of business, but our friendships will live on.


  6. Sometimes a disappointment is really a blessing in disguise. And if it isn’t, then I say make it a blessing! Keep up the good attitude, Sharkey!


    • This is will better for me in the long run. Mainly because I’ll have complete control over my books again. One particular project related to Devil’s Nightmare is going to be MUCH easier to deal with after Booktrope is out of the picture. I also plan to get an audio book made through ACX, so now I don’t have to go through the trouble of requesting audio rights back.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sheilagh Lee says:

    Sorry to hear this. That’s awful


  8. susanfaw says:

    We indies come back like a bad smell… but hopefully with a great smelling book! My book went live on February 16th and i have yet to see a royalty cheque…but i did earn something lol!

    I also, am thankful to Booktrope for the model and for helping a newbie get her feet wet. I am well and truly set to launch now and I could not have done it without their help. *Raising my glass to the future* We’ve got this!


    • Took about nine months before I finally received a royalty check. Probably my only one since they just paid for a BookBub ad to run on Tuesday. Wishing you the best with your publishing future. Cheers!


  9. lorigreer says:

    Sorry this happened. Good luck!


  10. Booktrope was a great idea. The founders’ hearts were in the right place. But then Booktrope grew – too fast too soon – and the end result was yesterday’s news. There was an amazing community in Booktrope that I loved. Being an author can be very isolating. Many of us have to be alone with our thoughts to get the words down. When we wanted to connect, we found one another. When we needed some cross-promotion, many pitched in. I hope that continues. I’ll keep that best piece of Booktrope going as long as I can.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree. The community was one of the best things I liked about Booktrope. I also felt that the company was growing too fast, but Ken, Katherine, and the others had their hearts in the right place. I’m saddened that their vision ended up with having to make the decision to close shop. It’s never a good thing when you see a small business fail. It happens all too often. 😦


  11. It’s a sad day and I too will find myself reverting to self publishing come 1 June. I had suspicions something might be afoot but never expected this and never with such little notice or information for authors on how to manage this transition. Having taken the lead on marketing (for a number of reasons) I suspect the impact will not be as great as I first suspect, but the burden of sorting all the admin out is far from welcome. I wish all my Booktrope peers the best of luck. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people over these past seven months and wish them all the greatest success.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My editor contacted me on Thursday afternoon about the upcoming announcement that she’d heard through the grapevine, but imagine my surprise to get the official news the very next day. It’s a bit frustrating, but in the end I think it’s going to be the best thing for me. I prefer independent publishing because I have 100% control of everything. It’s hard to get things done sometimes when you have to deal with a middle man. Best of luck with your transition to self-publishing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You too Robert. I was already moving towards returning to self pub and so this isn’t a huge leap – more of a massive inconvenience. That said, I tend to excel in a crisis and this will give me a kick up the backside with a few things!

        Liked by 2 people

        • I was planning on doing the same thing. I was already working on another self-pubbed project, but I had plans to publish the third book in the Devil’s Nightmare series with Booktrope. Glad I didn’t start that process!

          Liked by 1 person