Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

It’s happening.

Well, it’s a new day.

Castalia House grew from 37 titles, including 5 in print and 1 in audiobook, to 65, with 19 titles in print and 8 in audiobook. Book sales increased 54 percent, with print now accounting for 21 percent of the total. The three new editors made a big difference, although we did not get three of the books out that I anticipated releasing this time last year. This year, we’re looking forward to publishing new fiction from John C. Wright, Nick Cole, B.V. Larson and David VanDyke, Peter Grant, Mojo Mori, Stefan Molyneux, and Martin van Creveld, as well as non-fiction from Jerry Pournelle, Jeffro Johnson, Mike Cernovich, Vox Day, and Martin van Creveld.

You know, I look at that list of names and it’s kind of nuts seeing mine in there. On the other hand, I’m already in the “six of five” club with Jerry Pournelle. So maybe it’s not that crazy…? Gripping hand is, the history role-playing games and pulp fiction are insanely interesting topics. They matter. And the dinosaur publishing houses have no idea how to cover them. They really don’t.

Just look at what the top rated Amazon reviews say about the guys that wrote books that come the closest to tackling the niche I fill:

“I’m not certain how much value experienced gamers will get out of this, other than a ‘Hey, I know those guys!’ But it’s definitely a perfect gift for befuddled significant others.”

“This book is perfect for someone who’s son/husband/granddaughter etc is into D&D and who wants to know more about what they are so into and why.”

“If you have played for any length of time however, it comes off as that guy at the gaming convention that has to share tales of his last game he played to everyone at the table even though you had to be there to really enjoy it.”

“What works well for, say, the read-aloud text for a D&D campaign is tiresome in a non-fiction book.”

“In the place of 25 years of D&D history, Ewalt instead writes about a series of random events undertaken as part of his reawakening to role-playing/’research’ for the book – LARPing, a trip to Wizards of the Coast, his introduction to D&D Next, a visit to Lake Geneva, WI for Gary Con, etc. There is nothing historical, investigative, or journalistic about any of this – its a gamer writing about some stuff he did these past couple of years.”

“It’s still worth reading the book, as he has a lot of enjoyable stories along the way…just don’t hold your breath for any deep revelation at the end.”

“I felt the angst that Ethan dealt with as he slipped back into gaming and fantasy after years of self-denial”

“The book confused me a little and like a previous reviewer mentioned, you read and are left with ‘….well, and now what – what did I learn?'”

“The narrative begins strongly, connected through Tolkien to the world of fantasy fandom at large, but steadily slowing down and dwindling in energy and enthusiasm to the end, by which time we’re left with the unfortunate impression of a grown man playing with toys in the woods and growing continuously more pissed off that he can’t get a decent girlfriend who shares his interests.”

It’s a little early to be spiking the football, sure. And granted, this is a niche topic. Looking at this, though, I can’t help but think that Big Publishing is about to get scooped.


4 responses to “It’s happening.

  1. JonM January 1, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Those look like books written to appeal to the, “look at how funny those nerds are,” crowd. How many people out there want to pay money for something like that?

  2. John E. Boyle January 1, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Not me. Jeffro’s right, the big publishing houses have no idea how to cover this. People who are into war gaming and pulp fiction are almost by definition avid book buyers with disposable income. The dinosaurs should be putting time and effort into finding out what we want and trying to lock us in as customers.

    Instead, they publish dreck like this, and wonder why sales are down.

    • JonM January 2, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      “Everyone at the NPR Supporter mixer loved these books!”

      They have no idea how few of them there are compared to how many genuine nerds.

  3. Brian Niemeier February 1, 2017 at 6:19 am

    You’re definitely filling an underserved need. Keep it up!

    NB: 5/6 Club members unite! (We should have monogrammed smoking jackets.)

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