View Full Version : [Publisher] Casperian Books

The Otter
01-12-2012, 09:04 AM
I haven't seen this publisher discussed anywhere in the AW forum, so I thought I'd start a thread:


Any thoughts? Looks like they have an interesting variety of books, but seeing the "we expect authors to have a detailed marketing plan" gives me pause. Maybe it's standard for small pubs these days, I don't know, but personally I'd prefer a publisher with the skill and resources to market their books themselves.

01-12-2012, 04:08 PM
From the Casperian website: http://www.casperianbooks.com/about.html

Casperian was founded by Lily Richards:

Casperian Books LLC is a single-member limited liability company that publishes fiction and operates out of a chaotic home office with some help from the other occupants of the house and a few hearty volunteers. Realistically, that means that Constance reads manuscripts and writes copy, Nic keeps the network and computers in shape, fills orders, and reads manuscripts, Dad keeps links and Internet tools up-to-date, Tenant B provides valuable criticism and order fulfillment services when Nic and I both travel, and Nathan volunteers as an occasional project editor.

Chaotic home office? That wouldn't fill me with confidence.

What qualifications do you have for publishing books?

I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography and spent several years working as a freelance artist and designer, during which time I had a variety of contracts that resulted in books or other printed publications. These days, I work in procurement, and doing complex cost analyses and calculations is my zen space. Everbody else is pretty good at following written instructions of Things to Do While I Am Away.

Casperian books has been in operation for five years so they must be doing something right, but I can't see any evidence of publishing experience before founding the company.

I had just started looking for an agent/publisher for my novel Mouth of the Lion (http://www.casperianbooks.com/catalog/1-934081-00-0.html), which was never going to be an easy sell, when the general brouhaha over a certain Oprah-featured "memoir" started. With so much negative publicity surrounding a book about addiction, I figured it would be even more difficult to find a publisher willing to pick up a novel that has addiction as one of its central themes and started considering different approaches.

A few weeks later, I read this article about self-publishing (http://books.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1710311,00.html) in the Guardian, started poking around on one or two of the websites mentioned, and reacquainted myself with digital printing technology after a lengthy absence from the print production world.
In the process of doing so, I realized two things: firstly, digital printing has come a long way and is finally in a position where it is both economically and aesthetically feasible as an alternative to offset printing. Secondly, while on a conceptual level I am a great proponent of any kind of guerilla movement amongst creative types, none of the sites I visited presented a business model that truly merged the best features of digital on-demand printing and independent publishing into a package that appealed to me. So I decided that the world really needed yet another small press.

I remember the Oprah brouhaha, but I don't understand why it would have made publishers as a whole wary of accepting books dealing with addiction. And digital on-demand printing surely isn't an economically feasible alternative to offset printing unless it's a fairly short print run.

What author royalties do you pay?

We pay two thirds of net receipts as author royalties. The exact amount varies depending on printing cost, mode of distribution, and cover price. Royalty payments can be estimated using the following formulas:

Usual Printing Cost:Page count x $0.015 + $0.90
Royalties generated by third-party sales
Cover price x 0.65 - printing cost) x 0.66

Royalties generated through this site
Sales price - (printing cost + direct sale costs)) x 0.66

Direct sale costs include packaging and PayPal fees.

I'll let the experts comment on this.

How do Casperian Books' royalties differ from royalties paid by other publishers?

They are probably higher. Standard royalty rates from most publishers (POD houses excluded) are in the range of 5-15% of either the retail price, the wholesale price, or the net receipts of a book. So, for example, a trade paperback that carries a retail price of $15, sold to the trade at a 55% discount, would generate author royalties of about $0.80 per copy sold at a royalty rate of 12% of wholesale price.

Why do so may small presses claim to offer higher royalties than anyone else? And I don't understand why POD houses are excluded from this calculation. Isn't Casperian a POD house?

Do you offer an author discount?

Sure do. Authors may order up to 25 copies at printing cost plus sales tax (if applicable) plus shipping/packaging plus a small order processing fee of either 10% of the order value or $10, whichever is less. Unlimited additional author copies may be purchased at wholesale price plus sales tax (if applicable) plus shipping/packaging plus a small order processing fee of either 10% of the order value or $10, whichever is less.

Do I hear alarm bells ringing? Because the only reason authors would want to buy so many copies is to re-sell them.

How will my book be distributed?

Your book will be listed in Books in Print and the catalogs of various major book wholesalers and will be available for order to the trade through wholesalers or directly from the printer.
Where will people be able to buy my book?

All titles will be available for purchase through the major online book retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.) within six weeks of publication, Casperian Books' website, as well as any retailers who choose to order it.
Will my book be sold in bookstores?

Once published, your book is available for order by bookstores through several wholesalers. Whether or not bookstores actually choose to order your book to keep in stock is something Casperian Books has very little influence over, as such decisions are usually based on name recognition and demand. However, all bookstores should be able to order the book for customers when requested.

Casperian Books have 'very little influence' over whether your books are stocked in bookstores, so you're on your own apart from the extremely basic marketing tools provided to each author:

The following limited marketing/promotional assistance is extended to each author published through Casperian Books:

A catalog page for the book is added to Casperian Books' website. You are welcome to register domain names and forward them to this page. (Please be advised that domain name registration should not cost you more than about $10/year at the most and that some domain registrars do not provide free domain forwarding. If you require assistance, please ask.)
Casperian Books will upload cover art, book descriptions, excerpts (if applicable), author information, etc. to the major online retailers and feature the same information on its own website.
Casperian Books will create a press kit for the book and provide a print-ready high-resolution PDF file to the author. Individual arrangements will also be made to send out a limited number of review copies and press kits on the author's behalf. At our own discretion, we will enter novels in book awards at no cost to the author.
Upon request, Casperian Books can provide a poster-size print file of the book's cover to the author.
Casperian Books operates a restricted-access website for its authors, which includes marketing information and resources, book award info, links of interest, and the like. All Casperian Books authors are provided with a login name for this website.
It would be helpful to know where the 'limited number of review copies and press kits' are sent - many positive reviews are quoted on the website but I didn't see any from major publications.

The extracts from Casperian's books don't send up any red flags editorial-wise, but most of their covers are horrendous.

01-12-2012, 05:29 PM
I remember the Oprah brouhaha, but I don't understand why it would have made publishers as a whole wary of accepting books dealing with addiction.

That's because it didn't.

It's made publishers wary of accepting memoirs that might be made up though.

01-12-2012, 06:12 PM
Yes, it sounds to me like an excuse for the writer to abandon the agent/publisher route.

01-12-2012, 06:17 PM
That's because it didn't.

It's made publishers wary of accepting memoirs that might be made up though.

Yep. The memoir I co-ghostwrote was in the pipeline when the James Frey thing blew up, and the subject had to produce more evidence to back up her story than had previously been required.

01-12-2012, 07:32 PM
The name Casperian sounded familiar to me, but it wasn't until I read the 'chaotic' family affair-run part that I remembered why I passed on this publisher, found via Duotrope. I don't want 'cutesy' in my publisher. I want the utmost professionalism -- no editing from tenant B, please.

What I'd like to know is when, exactly, will the "new and innovative" publishing statement rolled out time and again by small presses be as outdated as they claim traditional publishing is? As I read (new and old) small publishers' mission statements, it's like they're all cut 'n pasted. The new and innovative part of their business plan is no longer new and innovative, if it ever was.

01-12-2012, 08:37 PM
They list Lightning Source as their "distributor," which is shorthand for a POD outfit. PODs don't have any distribution other than what the publisher can do. If they're a one-person outfit, I would wager there is no way they can adequately promote and market their titles. Saying that the author needs to have a comprehensive marketing plan is shorthand for "It's all on your shoulders."

The Otter
01-13-2012, 09:05 AM
That confirms my gut feeling about them. Thanks, guys.

01-05-2014, 08:00 AM
They rejected me, but it wasn't a form and overall very nice, saying it was interesting. It was really nice to know they actually took the time to write me a short letter.