Mailvox: Castalia House questions

Some of you had questions, so here are the answers:

As opportunities become available will you be posting them here?

Initially, yes. As Castalia House develops its own readership, we will tend to gradually move more CH-related communication there. We will ALWAYS be looking for more translators and it’s hard to imagine a time when we would not be on the lookout for more excellent authors. We intend to be considerably more picky than what one tends to see from the likes of Tor and the other genre publishers. We’re not at all interested in the shotgun approach that many other small publishers take and we fully support those who elect the self-publishing approach.

The inclusion of the “obscure ancient military text” hints that Castalia
House may not limit its focus to the science fiction and epic fantasy
genres. Is this a fair assumption? 

This is correct. In fact, one author has already produced an intriguing proposal that combines those elements. We intend to experiment and try different things that have not necessarily been done before. Some of these experiments will work, some of them won’t, and some of them will be done simply because we think it is worth doing. That being said, SF/F has the best chance of being accepted for publication as it stands closest to the heart of what we are doing.

Can I be Wheeler’s editor?

No. Wheeler is the perfect example of the ideal self-publisher. We will, at some point, be offering various pointers to aid self-publishing on the CH blog. We can’t publish everything. We don’t want to publish everything. But we don’t see any reason why people shouldn’t publish themselves.

Will Castalia House make certain its books qualify the authors for SFWA membership, and possible future expulsion?

It will take at least one year before Castalia House could possibly become a qualifying venue. So, it’s not what we would consider a priority. We do expect to have the necessary 10 authors as well as meeting the minimum print run and revenue requirements.

What is the Italian conceptualization of the differences between
National Socialism and proper Italian Fascism beyond the obvious
racialist accretions?

Non credo questa domanda era proprio per noi. In ogni caso, posso raccomandare il Fascisti di Giordano Bruno Guerri per un esaminazione cosi.

Will there be dead tree versions?


Will you be limiting Castalia House or eventually allowing for fiction as neither fantasy or SF? 

Our fictional focus will be on SF/F. But we will certainly consider works outside the genre if they are exceptional.

Any chance there might be music?

Only if it is recorded by a certain award-winning techno band.

What type of submission is required, Just summary, cover letter-summary- and manuscript (Double space or single).

We’re still working this out. On the one hand, it’s faster to be able to simply scan an epub on your reader. On the other, most authors don’t know how to produce epubs. But in general, a one-page synopsis, a one-page author bio, and a single-spaced manuscript all in a single Word-formatted file will suffice. As for the bio, we are less interested in credentials than learning who you are and what you stand for.

Do you have any insights on how you will be able to avoid the fate of other publishers? 

We have zero overhead and zero salaries. We’re already profitable. And we already sell more books than many small publishing houses. Thanks primarily to the support of the readers here, we’re on a path to sell more than 10,000 books this year, not counting free downloads, in-game sales, or other authors. From a time and labor perspective, publishing is absolutely trivial in comparison with game development and we had to do 80 percent of this stuff in order to handle the in-game publishing anyhow. We are a lean, mean, disruptive machine.

I would like to submit a story or two, written with the blood of my enemies. 

Go for it. Just make sure you get them tested before utilizing your “special ink”. (Note to self: THIS is why we utilize slush readers as “the first line of defense”.)

What would be involved in being a slush reader?

Reading submitted manuscripts and rendering your opinion on them in a timely manner. We want to feature very fast turnaround times. If we’re going to say no, we’re going to do it very quickly. And if we’re going to say yes, we want to do that almost as quickly. Also, risking the acquisition of various tropical diseases from manuscripts written in the blood of the author’s enemies.

Why is there no Kickstarter for Castalia House?

We don’t need one. If you would like to support Castalia House, we would encourage you to buy our books or to join our growing list of translators.

What better protagonist than a half-savage shitlord in a douche canoe?

Nothing, obviously. Please to accept a 10-book contract at your earliest convenience.

Can I submit works for consideration that I’ve already self-published online?


How much experience with sci-fi or fantasy do you want your slush
readers to have? And do you even WANT a woman’s opinion on these

A reasonable amount would be desirable. If you haven’t read Tolkien, Lewis, Asimov, Heinlein, and Bradbury, at a bare minimum, you probably don’t have a sufficient grasp of the field to read for us. If, on the other hand, you are familiar with Stephenson, Gibson, Shikibu and Hesse, so much the better. We already have female readers. What we do not have, and do not need, are feminist, equalitarian, and left-wing readers.

Can you shed light on why an author should consider Castalia rather than self-publishing?

There are four primary reasons. First, it is a non-trivial pain in the posterior to go through the process of creating and administering a book. I’m not going to exaggerate the difficulty as it is perfectly doable by anyone who is computer literate, but there are certain economies of scale there and we’re already stuck doing it due to our other commitments. Few authors want to spend their time dealing with these things and we offer sufficiently high royalties that most authors will be happy to off-load the administrative work on us.

Second, there is the issue of credibility and exposure. I may be notorious throughout the genre, but even some of my worst enemies have freely admitted that I have pretty good taste in literature. Not even the SFWA members who purged me from its ranks had anything negative to say about my performance on the three Nebula Award juries upon which I sat. If Castalia House publishes a book, there are thousands of people, perhaps tens of thousands, who will recognize that it very likely contains something worth reading. These days, that is considerably more than one can say of Tor or most publishing houses in SF/F.

Third, our growing ranks of translators means that there is a reasonable chance that your novel will be translated into another language, thereby increasing your prospective royalties. The growing gap between traditional translation expenses and average expected ebook revenues means that other publishers are going to have to adopt our translation model or simply give up on translating anything but the biggest selling novels.

And fourth, we have better cover artists than most of the established publishing houses. You will get a good cover. You will have considerable input into that cover. Having been victimized by a major New York publisher that threw out a beautiful Rowena work-in-progress in favor of an ineptly imitated Left Behind  look, I fully understand the significance of cover to the author.

It’s possible you might exclude me. I’m a libertarian and a federalist,
and I expect my work to appeal to traditionalists. However, I’m also an
atheist, and while I respect and write about people of faith, that’s
bound to turn off some blog visitors.

We are perfectly willing to publish atheist authors. We will not publish evangelical atheists or atheists whose work denigrates Christianity, advocates secular humanism, or wallows in nihilism.

Is this a compliment to, or an integral part of, the First Sword concept? Is that a picture of Markku’s house?

It is an integral part of it. That is not a picture of Markku’s dwelling.

Would love to submit something for a cover. Can you give some parameters. 

The minimum resolution is 1667×2500. We are always looking for good artists, so feel free to submit something for review. However, our cover work is all custom and we expect the artist to read the book before producing the cover.

What is Castalia House’s policy towards publishing under pseudonyms?

Fine by us. If you’re an established author concerned about retribution from the Pink SF gatekeepers due to public association with us, we would even encourage it.