This sounded interesting and fresh to me, so wanted to share here. Of course we all know about the state of the traditional publishing industry today where it’s either a stroke of luck, or knowing the right people, or waiting forever for the manuscript to get off the slush pile. Then there is self-publishing. There’s more control but there are plenty of risks as well.
Booktrope, one of the startups at Y Combinator, is trying to make publishing more accessible and professional while reducing the risks to the author. Booktrope is like a publisher, but it allows authors to avoid the gatekeepers (to a large extent) and lets them team up with professional editors, designers etc.
That’s sounds nice. So, how does their system work exactly?
If you’re looking to publish a book, you can go on Booktrope and provide information about yourself and your work. Booktrope doesn’t accept every author–you have to go through their selection process–a mix of automation and human assessment. The company focuses on assessing if an author will be a good fit for the Booktrope platform. In other words, they are not self-appointed enforcers of literary quality, because they believe even poorly written books can do well when they’re discovered by their audience.
Once accepted into the system, you can then post your completed manuscript. Here’s where “Team Publishing” comes in–the idea is to attract interested collaborators with a promise of sharing royalties with them. That’s a great incentive right there for the team to make the book a success and it’s also less of a risk for the author since he doesn’t have to shell out his cash. Fresh, right?
Booktrope distributes both digital and print formats through the usual channels like Amazon etc and through subscription services like Scribd. Of the profits, Booktrope takes 30 percent and the team gets the remaining 70 percent, split according to their agreements.
It’s interesting so far, isn’t it? It is sort of a mix of a small publisher aided publishing with a bit of intellectual crowdfunding and profit-sharing thrown in.
And how have they done so far?
Until now (they’ve started a couple years ago), they’ve published nearly 400 titles and distributed 2.5 million copies of those books.