So here I was, all excited that Broken Places finally, finally released (yay!), and I’m in the down and dirty trenches of doing the marketing and setting up the blog tour and connecting with folks on social and blah blah boring stuff you’re already falling asleep, when I get an out of the blue message from the CMO of Booktrope (my publisher), Katherine Fye Sears:
Would you be interested in having your own imprint within Booktrope? One where you can bring stories like yours, about survival and trauma and recovery, to life? Fiction or nonfiction, whatever you think works best. Think of a name. This is your baby.
After I stopped looking around to see if she was talking to another Rach, and then picked myself up off the floor, and shut my mouth that was wide open from the shock of it all, I somehow mumbled a coherent, ‘Okay, sure,’ and then proceeded to jump up and down for awhile til I got a headache and then I sat my ass down and thought: what the hell is an imprint, anyway? (I mean, I kinda knew (I am in this publishing arena and have been a lifelong reader), but my background is marketing, not publishing so…) Hello, Google?
Since many of you have asked me the same question, I thought I’d spend a moment today discussing it and how it affects you, my indie author friends, how you too can submit your book to Booktrope, and maybe even be a part of my new Gravity imprint (cool, right?), because your stories MATTER (told you, cool).
WHAT IS AN IMPRINT, ANYWAY?
An imprint typically has a particular theme or mission. According to former lit agent/author Nathan Bransford:
Basically it’s the name on the spine of a book, usually a division or a group within a larger publisher. The major publishers are made up of literally dozens of imprints, and they’re not all ones that most people know.
People have heard of Penguin. They’ve heard of HarperCollins. They know Random House and Knopf and Doubleday and Harlequin and a few others.
Imprints matter to publishers and agents and somewhat to booksellers as they help organize the company into various divisions. You can get a sense of the “flavor” of a book by knowing who is publishing it, and agents know where to send projects.
In this case, the focus of Gravity is on stories of trauma and recovery — any kind, either fiction or nonfiction. So far, we have books on surviving domestic abuse, incest, bipolar, anxiety, and an anthology from Stigma Fighters. Booktrope can, and has, published books like this already, like Broken Pieces and Broken Places, but by creating an imprint specifically for these types of books, they are making a smart marketing move — combining my author platform, advocacy, and connections (along with the authors we bring on) with their already established and thriving publishing system. It’s a win/win.
I don’t think that just because they offered it to me and because I think I’m all that — they have other imprints already and have had great success: Vox Dei (Christian), Edge (BDSM and thriller), and Entice (erotica). See all their books by genre here.
Booktrope is a hybrid publisher. That means that the costs of the creation of the book is on them, like a traditional house, and all authors have to submit their work via a screening process, also like a traditional house. What makes them different is their team approach — you can read all the specifics here in this wonderful explanation by CMO Katherine Fye Sears — so I won’t go into it here. Basically, you make more because you are involved in the entire process (typically 33% or more).
Here’s a sample breakdown of their financial revenue split.
If you are an indie author and already have books out, Booktrope will want to take a look, see if they pass muster — they want quality work.Yes, they do repubs. They’ll look at your author platform and social media, because you will be doing your own marketing (with help from a book manager). The belief that once you sign a contract, all your marketing is done for you is a fallacy, even for the big names in traditional publishing. Get over that thought right now! Why do people think that? Even Anne Rice is on Twitter. I mean.
If you have no books out but want to submit a WIP or partial MS or even some essays or short stories, I say go for it. Why not? Their submissions window is open. Take a shot. Here’s the link to submit your work. And if you think your story is appropriate for my ‘Gravity’ imprint, mention that in your submission.*
*To be clear, I do not work for Booktrope and am not involved in the submissions process. All submissions must go directly through them.
It’s cool if this isn’t for you. It’s not for everyone. Or maybe it is, but you’re just not ready yet. What to do in the meantime? Obviously, keep writing. You can’t sign a contract for a book without well, a book, or at least part of one. And your work needs to be great — even if you publish it yourself, it needs to be amazing. That’s a no-brainer, right?
I shared something on Twitter yesterday about editing and a guy responded that he couldn’t afford an editor and therefore was uploading his P.O.S. (his words) as is, even though he knew it was ‘riddled with errors.’ Dude. Just, no. Back the truck up!
I get the ‘can’t afford to’ thing, I do. But he can’t afford NOT to. I recommended he connect with the crowdfunding platform PubSlush, which is specifically designed to help authors raise funding for literary projects. The best part about PubSlush? You keep whatever people pledge, unlike Kickstarter and others that pull the funding if you don’t fulfill.
There is no reason any author can’t afford an editor or great covers or whatever we need to do to make our books great. But first you have to write them!
And start now learning how to utilize social media properly, for all that is holy. I block the ‘buy my book!’ spammers now. I used to try to help them. I don’t have the energy to be yelled at anymore. Don’t be a spammer. Read my articles here, watch what the authors do whom you admire, and learn from them. Build your relationships, your website, your platform, your social…it’s a process, it takes time. Start already.
Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs, #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.