Goodbye to Booktrope and Looking Ahead

booktrope logoIt 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.



About Mary Rowen

My three published novels, LEAVING THE BEACH (a 2016 IPPY Award winner), LIVING BY EAR, and IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY focus on women figuring out who they are and what they want from life. Music and musicians have a way of finding their way into the stories. I live in the Boston area with my family and pets.
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17 Responses to Goodbye to Booktrope and Looking Ahead

  1. jan says:

    Thanks for the pingback Mary. Best wishes on the promo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. judithworks says:

    I wish you all the best Mary

    Liked by 1 person

  3. D.B. Moone says:


    Reading this blog post pained my heart, but you are an amazing writer and I believe great things will come to you, sooner than later. In the meantime, I hope you continue to blog.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Rowen says:

      That’s a true compliment coming from you, Donna. I’ve been slacking on blog reading–and everything else–lately, but need to get over to yours to see what you’re up to. I always enjoy reading your posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • D.B. Moone says:

        Thank you, Mary. I’ve been slacking on my blog due to a family tragedy, as well as some personal health issues that can only be resolved through surgery. I’ve been scarce on social media, but I’ve decided to attempt to distract myself from this place I have found myself in through blogging and social media. As you know, I enjoy reading your posts as well. Cheers! 🙂


  4. jan says:

    Thanks for the mention,Mary! We’ll get through this – as painful as it probably will be.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary Rowen says:

    Donna, I’m so sorry about the family tragedy. And the health issue as well. I wish you peace and strength through all of this, and hope you find some comfort in writing. You are in my thoughts and prayers. xo


  6. You have a great attitude as well! I’m sure your books will find a great home.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Duke Miller says:

    Hi Mary,

    I can see the goodness in your eyes. It is as if your photo talks and tells me that whatever is rising up through you will find its way onto the white page. Are you still listening to music while you write? What were you listening to when you wrote about the death of BT? When I was reading it, I was listening to Soon/the Laurel Canyon Mix by Blue Nile. There is an emptiness without BT and I am twisting around trying to get a refill but the bartender is talking to a blonde. Whatever. Sorry Mary, I don’t know how to write a normal comment, something that might be uplifting. When you read this listen to Soon. It has caused me to make this comment. Thanks. Duke


    • Mary Rowen says:

      Duke! It’s great to see you here. You put it perfectly about that empty feeling. I think we’re all sitting at that bar these days. I wish I’d been listening to the Blue Nile when the news about BT closing came through. Instead, I was sitting in an insane parking lot, waiting for my kid and reading email on the phone. Cars were coming and going and people were walking by laughing, and I was staring at the phone like,”What???” Then a whole bunch of noisy teenagers got into the car and it was just surreal. Soon by Blue Nile is a beautiful song. I’m glad you were listening to that, and of course, I know you’ll keep writing your amazing words. I also hope people will check out your work over on the Tin Hats blog.


      • Duke Miller says:

        You know some writers are afraid of losing their sight, I think I would be in more trouble if I lost my hearing. Without music I couldn’t write very well. Stealing feelings from the rise and fall of a song is very important. Did you see “Perfect Sense”? “Soon” was during the Blue Nile’s Christian period. Everything changes. An evocative song. Thanks. Duke

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Mary Rowen says:

    I know someone who has lost almost all his eyesight and almost all his hearing, and he has told me the hearing loss is worse. Seems hard to believe at first, but when you think about it, not being able to hear music would be awful. I often listen to music while writing, but usually opt for music without lyrics, as the lyrics can distract me too much. But yes, the rises and falls, the conflict and resolution–all of that helps. No, I haven’t seen “Perfect Sense” but now I’m intrigued. Will check it out. Thanks, Duke!


    • Duke Miller says:

      Hi Mary,

      So they started a desultory string of words, and it captured their imagination for minutes at a time. There was no reason, no theme. Just the passing of time and the words were like seconds on the clock. They could have simply emailed each other in private, but now the website platform seem more fun. It was a place she had built from scratch, and in the shadows, just beyond the light, she was a farmer in upstate New York and wore overalls and leather boots. She put up a rock wall to keep her words from straying. Sometimes she would open a gate and let them out, but when it was raining or cold, they were afraid to go and would end up marching straight into a corner and bumping around all night waiting for the sun. She would hear them making noise in the kitchen and hush them with a song or two and slowly they would go to sleep. When the morning came and everything looked better, she would take them back to the gate and watch them run out across the fields and down to the river. It was hard to be a writer and a farmer at the same time and she wondered if anyone noticed or cared? Then one day a traveling salesman came by the farm. He was dressed in black and stood on the back of a wagon and sold bottles of magic potions as the wind soothed the tall grass. She bought two blue bottles of smoky liquid and drank them that night. What happened to Mary then? How could this possibly end? Who knows. About “Perfect Sense”…it is an apocalyptic love story and who doesn’t like Eva Green and Ewan McGregor and the end of the world? Woe is us. Thanks Mary for all your help and see your around. Duke


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