Sunday , 9, March 2014
The advantages of independent publishing vs traditional publishing are fairly well-known. However, we were asked by an author to compare the differences between self-publishing and independent publishing. While we can’t speak for independent publishing in general, we were able to articulate some of the primary advantages of publishing with Castalia House.
- Keep all the royalty revenues. Amazon takes 30 percent plus a very small delivery fee that usually amounts to about 1.2 percent, so the self-publisher can realistically expect to make 68.5 percent of list. That is twice what our novelists make on our standard agreement, (we offer 50 percent, which works out to 34.5 percent of list) and nearly three times what most writers will make from independent publishers that offer 35 percent. Just for the sake of reference, it’s also 8.5625x what the traditional publishers pay on hardcovers.
- Complete control. The author can decide on his own cover, make his own editorial decisions, price the book as he sees fit, and publish the book whenever he wants.
- Complete information. The author has direct access to the sales data.
CASTALIA HOUSE ADVANTAGES:
- Production values. Castalia’s covers and ebook formatting are considerably better than most traditionally published books, let alone most self-published books. This isn’t merely our opinion, this is what we have been told by many readers and people within the publishing industry. If books are judged by covers, there is a distinct advantage to publishing with an independent publisher with close connections to dozens of experienced game industry artists.
- Awareness.We are fortunate to have a connection to an online readership that chews through an average of 1.1+ million pageviews per month. Some of them are interested in Castalia’s books, others are not, but all of them are at least aware that the books exist. Few self-publishers can expect to achieve that level of instant public awareness; even some traditional publishers can’t. Given that the primary problem most books face is that its prospective readers don’t know it exists, this is perhaps the most important advantage.
- Endorsement. Our Päätoimittaja (Editor-in-Chief) was the first nationally syndicated game reviewer and known throughout the game media for his integrity and impartiality. He served on three Nebula Award juries, and even the people who led the charge to purge him from the SFWA organization didn’t have a single word of criticism for his literary judgment. If a book is deemed worthy of publication by Castalia House, tens of thousands of people will know that it must have at least some redeeming characteristics that make it worth considering.
- Editing. Compare the first Harry Potter book with the last one. That, in a nutshell, is the importance of editing. Castalia’s philosophy is that the editor should edit lightly and always with an eye to improving the author’s story rather than imposing his own vision or interfering with the existing story in any way.
- Print. Castalia works with Lightning Source. Self-publishers can’t, but have to go with either CreateSpace or Ingram Spark. If you don’t understand what that means, you’re not ready to self-publish in print anyhow. Also, see: 1. Production Values.
- Business BS. It took us six weeks to get the books online, then another four weeks to sort out some non-trivial issues with both Amazon and Smashwords. It was not fun.
- Production costs. Between $300 for a cover, $250 for 10 ISBN numbers, the $49 setup fee, and the $12 Ingram global title, a self-publisher is already at least $600 in the hole by the time the book appears on Amazon. That means he has to sell 351 copies at $4.99 just to get to the point where there is an advantage to self-publishing. And this doesn’t account for the fact that self-publishing with Ingram Spark means collecting all of 5.75 percent of list more than one would make publishing with Castalia. In that case, the self-publisher would have to sell 3,000 copies to break even.
- Translations. By the end of April, we expect to have BBDC released in German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Serbian. We won’t translate everything we publish, but if there is a reasonable expectation of a foreign language market for a novel, we can get it translated and released. If the foreign language market for a book is equal to its English language potential, this alone is sufficient to make publishing with Castalia House the preferable option.
We do not pretend to be the optimal publishing solution for all authors. We do not believe that our judgment is definitive. And we encourage those authors whose submissions we reject to try self-publishing rather than giving up. But we also believe that our specific independent publishing solution is a fair one that most successful authors will find more than satisfactory.