Booktrope’s Katherine Sears on The Elevator Pitch

We’re back for another episode of The Elevator Pitch, the show where entrepreneurs pitch their business plans in the 43 seconds it takes to ride to the top of Seattle’s iconic Space Needle.

In this episode, we hear from Katherine Sears of Booktrope, a Seattle startup that’s attempting to transform the way authors publish books.

Did we like it? Well, let’s just say the judges, once again, were split. Find out in the show below whether we kept Sears around for the final rounds, or sent her to the ground to work on the business so more.

Joining me on the judging panel: GeekWire Chief Business Officer Rebecca Lovell and Madrona Venture Group’s Greg Gottesman. Enjoy!!

So, what do you think? Did we make the right choice? Cast your ballot here:

Here are the first installments of the Elevator Pitch, featuring PetHub founder Tom ArnoldMannequin founder Prashant Sridharan; Frameable founder Nick White and Pikaba founder Dmitry Balin.

Stay tuned for more episodes of the Elevator Pitch. A big thanks to Lift Digital and the Space Needle for helping to make the show possible.

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  • Bryan Brewer

    Great pitch, Katherine! Glad to hear about the traction you’ve gotten since winning First Look Forum this past spring. — Bryan Brewer, Funding Quest

  • Author Gale Martin

    The judges (or perhaps only one of them) doesn’t realize that not all authors are primarily motivated by financial gain. He stated that he believes that the Amazon model can’t be improved on. Most self-respecting authors, myself included, would much prefer to have 35% of the profits on a quality book than 70% of the revenue from something that screams self-published, that makes people wince or that may only sell a handful of copies. 35% of thousands of copies or 70% of 10 books? That’s why the Booktrope model has so much appeal to writers like me.

    • D Savannah George

      Authors want to WRITE, not do all the other things that go along with getting a book out into the world, as Katherine said, such as cover design, layout, editing, marketing. And the “team publishing” is an important component – every person working on a book WANTS to be working on that book, and are invested in making sure it’s the best it can be. Traditional publishing doesn’t necessarily mean best seller, or marketing support. Self-publishing means the author has to do it all themselves, plus, if the first book they publish is bad, or needs polishing, or has typos, likely no one will buy a second. But if it’s presented professionally, then they can garner fans and continue writing! I really think the Booktrope model is the way of the future.

  • Robbin Block

    There’s a lot to Booktrope that makes it a worthy startup, as evidenced by the traction they’ve gained so far. However, a description is not a pitch. A pitch needs to be compelling. As the judges said, it needs to clearly articulate the pain points of key stakeholders, explain why and how your solution solves the problem, and how it’s different than the other options available. It has to be better, faster and/or cheaper. It’s so much more than what Amazon (the gorilla in the room) can offer, but that wasn’t made clear. The post-pitch was more compelling than the actual elevator pitch, and much of that material could be written into a revised and much more exciting pitch.

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