It was quite shock when I learned last Friday night that my publisher, Booktrope, is shutting down. Some people are angry, some are scared, but me, well, mostly I’m just sad.
My friend Jan—fellow Troper and blogger—said it best, I think, when she compared Booktrope to a failed Utopian society. You can read Jan’s entire post here.
But while Booktrope was in business, I didn’t see it as Utopian. I saw it as a bunch of dedicated, creative people working together, sharing profits, and publishing books in a new, innovative way. The model wasn’t perfect—sure, there were issues—but the company attracted so much talent. Writers, designers, editors, marketing people, proofreaders: all focused on the goal of bringing various forms of literature to the public.
So what went wrong? Well, they ran out of money. There are many other theories out there on the web—and I’m sure some mistakes were made along the way—but I believe the main problem was that the business model simply wasn’t sustainable. Which is sad.
It’s also messy, because of the profit-sharing contracts all Booktropians signed when they began working with the company. It’s important that every writer, designer, editor, proofer, and product manager is compensated fairly for the work they’ve done. But as writers consider moving forward with other publishing options (self-publishing, traditional publishing, various hybrid models) the profit-sharing model adds many complications.
Nevertheless, I believe we’ll all land on our feet. Fortunately, we’re dealing with books and not pacemakers or artificial limbs. (Although a true book lover might argue that a good book can keep a person alive, or be the force that enables someone to get out of bed and do something positive.) And the people at Booktrope are good people. We care about each other, and I have faith that in the days to come, most of us will find ways to sort out the legal/financial issues and get our books back into the hands of readers.
Back? Yes. Because after May 31, all books bearing the Booktrope imprint (both paperbacks and e-books) will go out of print. And when (if) they come back, they’ll be different. Some in subtle ways, others more significantly.
Hence, both of my books, Leaving the Beach and Living by Ear will disappear for at least a little while on May 31st, 2016. I’m working with my wonderful literary agent, April Eberhardt, to determine the best paths of action for them. But in order to go out in style,the e-version of Living by Ear will be priced at $.99 until May 31st.. So if you’ve never read it, or are looking for a slightly edgy story about love, family, divorce, music, and parenting, check it out here. It also makes a good Mother’s Day gift.
I’m also working hard to finish up a new novel that I hope readers will enjoy. It remains untitled, but is about the unlikely friendship between a confused twenty-five-year-old woman and her much older male neighbor, who happens to be a ham radio operator. And because most people ask this question, I’ll answer it in advance: yes, there’s plenty of romance in the story, but not between the two main characters!
Thank you for reading this, and thanks for visiting my blog! I’ll always have fond memories of Booktrope, and look forward to future adventures in writing and publishing.