Frequently Asked Questions
What type of organization is Asphodel Press?
We are a team of Pagan authors who work together to publish Pagan religious books via a print-on-demand book printing service. Technically we are a writer's cooperative, not a publisher. We screen books for the quality of the writing, the quality of the material presented, and the relevance of the writing to our audience, and we assure a professional finished product. Our printing and distribution is provided by Lulu.com. We have been very pleased with the quality of their books, and our authors appreciate their flexibility in publishing options and low up front cost.
Do bookstores carry these books?
The books which have ISBNs are available through the major retail book distributors and can be ordered through any online retail chain bookstore (such as Amazon.com). Unfortunately physical bookstores are often reluctant to take the risk on an obscure book by an unknown author, because print-on-demand does not allow for the generous return policies bookstores are accustomed to, but we are often contacted by specialty occult stores and festival vendors who are interested in carrying Asphodel Press books. We can offer a wholesale discount for most orders over ten books. If you want your local bookstore to carry an Asphodel Press book, order the book through them and encourage others to do the same. If they see a market for it, they'll carry it. Because of distribution fees, books sold through retail distribution have substantially lower royalties than books purchased directly from Asphodel Press or from Lulu, but the publicity may be worth it.
How does Asphodel Press pay their authors?
Authors are paid directly by the distributor, and 100% of royalties go directly to the authors or the charities they specify. The books are branded under the Asphodel Press logo, but they are essentially self-published. Unlike working with a traditional publisher, our authors retain all the rights to their books and Asphodel Press does not take any portion of the profits. Asphodel Press simply assures quality Pagan writing and a professional product, while maintaining a central site for people to find these books. There is no contract obligating the author to Asphodel Press, and the author may distribute or reprint their work as they wish.
Do authors have to pay money to publish with Asphodel Press?
Occasionally Asphodel Press authors will pay each other for assistance in formatting and editing, but there is no up-front fee for basic publishing services, and there is no minimum order of books. We only require that authors buy two test copies of their book (one for us, one for themselves), so we can assure everything is correct before offering the book for sale. These test copies are purchased directly from Lulu, at cost, generally $5-$10 per book. If revisions need to be made, an additional pair of books will have to be ordered. Additionally, some authors choose to register an ISBN for the book and get it listed on Amazon.com and the like. This varies between $50-$100, and is entirely optional.
Is this really a sustainable business model?
We think so. Five years and forty books suggests that it is. Self-publishing and online distribution is incredibly well-suited to niche-market non-fiction, but producing a professional-quality product requires experience and technical skills that many authors don't have. In Asphodel Press, we work together as a team to achieve our goal, which is to get as many high-quality Pagan books out into the community as possible. There is a real need in the Pagan community for books which go into greater depth on specific topics, and many of these don't have a large enough market to be taken by traditional publishers. In addition to putting out our own books, part of our mission in Asphodel Press is to inspire and educate other individuals and organization to put out books themselves. We are delighted to see other independent Pagan presses (like Gullinbursti Press and Bibliotheca Alexandrina), as well as Pagan authors who choose to self-publish. We are always happy to help authors and organizations navigate the self-publishing process, whether they choose to publish with us or not.
What if I need help formatting my book?
Formatting your own manuscript for printing is challenging and we insist on professional-quality layout. If you are familiar with using styles in Microsoft Word, you should be able to do most of the formatting yourself. We can send you a template to use, and we will help guide you through the process. Our volunteers will format devotionals under 100 pages at no charge, as an offering to the God(s) honored in them. Unfortunately, we cannot generally find volunteers for books that are substantially larger than that, or have complex formatting (such as recipes). Some of the folks with Asphodel Press (mostly Joshua) can help authors format these manuscripts for a small fee. Please contact us for more information.
Will you design artwork for my book?
We can design a simple cover for you, or make one from artwork you provide. Many of our authors have commissioned covers from professional artists. One of our favorite artists is Abby Helasdottir, who created the covers for the Northern Tradition Shamanism books and Love and Shadows. Unlike nearly all traditional publishers, we promise we will not put a cover (or title) on your book that you aren't happy with.
We can add black-and-white stock illustrations to devotionals, as well as artwork you provide. Dreamstime and stock.xchng and Wikimedia Commons offer large collections of artwork which may be freely used with few restrictions. You might want to look on Deviant Art for images related to your topic, and contact the artists for permission. (We will not reprint images without permission of the artist.) Due to the cost, we are not able to include color illustrations inside our books at this time, except in exceptional circumstances.
We can also put simple devotional songs into sheet music at no charge, and can outsource longer or more complex pieces at a modest rate.
Do you publish e-books?
We can make any book available as an PDF e-book, in addition to a printed book. We will seriously consider making your manuscript available in other e-book formats (such as EPUB), if you find someone to convert the manuscript. Unlike PDFs, which are essentially the same file used for the print book, most other e-book formats require substantial reformatting to produce an acceptable quality product. We do not publish audio books at this time, but text-to-speech software will generally read our PDF e-books without trouble. We can also make a large-print version available, on request.
If my book has already been published, but is now out of print, can I reprint it with Asphodel Press?
If you have something in writing from the publisher saying the rights have reverted to you, we will consider publishing the book under the same criteria as we consider previously unpublished manuscripts. Your publishing contract should specify when the rights will revert back to the author. Usually this will happen if the book has been officially "out of print" for more than a year, but what counts as officially "out of print" varies.
Will you publish English translations of foreign books? Will you publish foreign-language translations of English books?
We are happy to consider publishing English translations of books previously published in another language, provided you own the foreign-language rights and you have it translated into English. We will also consider publishing books in other languages, but we would need some kind of English language translation so we can approve the content. We would also need for you to arrange for a native speaker of that language who can work with us directly and can do professional-quality editing and copy-editing. We have published one bilingual book of poetry (German/English), and we are working with a translator to publish the Northern Tradition Shamanism books in Russian.
Will publishing with Asphodel Press hurt my chances at eventually finding a “real” publisher?
That is incredibly unlikely, especially if you intend to write more than one book. We have a very good reputation among the Pagan/Occult/New Age publishers for publishing quality material, and we have every reason to believe that they would be significantly more likely to consider a manuscript by an author who'd published with us, compared to one who was unpublished or otherwise self-published. Also, establishing an audience for your writing can help your chances of being picked up by a mainstream publisher later, because you have proven there is a market for your work and that you know how to reach that market. Your book can be removed from circulation through Asphodel Press at any time, if you get picked up by a traditional publisher.
Have you considered using Lightning Source (or BookSurge, or...) instead of Lulu?
Yes. We have looked into many POD options, and we continue to prefer Lulu. If you would like to send us information about other POD options, we will consider them, but Lulu is very well suited to our business model.
Will you be reprinting In Natural Light, by Michael Anania?
No. This was published by a different "Asphodel Press", which went out of business before we began publishing in 2006. Please see: Inquiries about Asphodel Press of Wakefield Rhode Island.