Magick Books: Self-Publish vs Publishing House

by Mike Sententia on February 3, 2012

You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.

I’m writing a book this year. It’s in outline form right now, so I can blog about the topics and figure out how to explain them. Basically the same topics as the blog, but organized to be easier to use, taking you through learning direct magick from the beginning.

I’ve read up on how to contact publishing houses. (Tip: Contact them with an idea for a book, not a written book. They’ll want to shape the presentation). And I know that no one makes money from occult books — my goal is to build a community and establish credentials for teaching, energy healing, etc.

But I need some advice: Self-publish or publishing house? I was leaning toward a publishing house for marketing and credibility, but I just read a great article on TechCrunch that said:

  • Publishers do basically zero to promote most books. In fact, they want to see that you have a blog or other marketing platform before they’ll even talk to you.
  • Publishers introduce a huge lag in getting your book out. You can do it alone in a few months, but it takes 1-2 years or more with a publisher.
  • Direct quote: “Some people want the credibility of saying “Penguin published me”. I can tell you from experience – nobody ever asked me who was my publisher when Penguin was my publisher.”

For authors, does this guy’s experience ring true? Particularly because he’s talking about tech, marketing and business books, and we’re talking about occult and magick.

And for everyone, what do you think about self-publishing vs going with a publishing house?

Thanks!

Other posts in this series: If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Sententia February 3, 2012 at 12:38 PM

As I’m reading more on this, I’ll collect my favorite articles in this comment:

Seth Godin is clearly in favor of self-publishing: http://www.thedominoproject.com/2012/01/advice-for-authors-part-one-and-part-two.html

Another from Godin, laying out the difference between being chosen by a publisher vs building a following: http://www.thedominoproject.com/2011/07/strangers-and-friends-understanding-publishing.html

Cost guides. Summary: For 100 pages (25k words), light editing is around $500, cover + layout is another $750, and printing is a few $ per book:
http://www.go-publish-yourself.com/archive/cost-of-self-publishing.php
http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2009/03/21/self-publishing-costs-nothing/
http://www.the-efa.org/res/rates.php
http://lillieammann.com/2007/02/24/self-publishing-primer-part-11-how-much-does-self-publishing-cost/

Createspace does cover and layout, and puts your book on Amazon. The good: Cover + layout is about $600. The bad: Sell your book for $10, and you make $5.85 through your own website, $3.85 through amazon.
https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/

I’ll write my thoughts as I consider costs and post them soon.

Reply

Andrew February 3, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Gordon White wrote something about this some time ago.
http://runesoup.com/2010/06/how-to-publish-better-than-crowley/
He advocates a self publishing print on demand platform, though I imagine ebooks are just fine too.

Reply

Mike Sententia February 3, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Thanks Andrew. That looks like really helpful, particularly the print on demand resources.

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Taylor Ellwood February 4, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Speaking as someone who is both an author and publisher, I’m going to advocate for the publisher. We send out review copies, we have a publicity person that provides helpful resources to our authors when it comes to marketing and we do our best to promote the author. Additionally, a publisher does the editing and layout of a book so an author doesn’t have to do that work.

I look forward to seeing you publish a book and I’ll just blatantly admit, I’d love if you considered my publishing house Immanion Press. We never approach an author’s book with an agenda of how it should be presented. Our interest is publishing cutting edge occult books and preserving the voice of the author. If you’d like I’d be happy to put you in touch with some of my authors so you can ask them about their experiences with us. Send me an email if interested.

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Mike Sententia February 4, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Thanks Taylor. I was hoping to get your input on this. Let me check out Immanion’s catalog and I’ll be in touch.

Reply

Taylor Ellwood February 4, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Sure thing. Our entire catalog is at http://www.immanion-press.com

Reply

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