I work for a publisher, but often question whether I want to self-publish my first book, for reasons this article makes clear:

Should you follow the traditional or self publishing path? Numbers ..., By Stephen Spatz on The BookBaby Blog, March 19, 2015.

Can we hear from some among us who have self-published, chosen not to, or are weighing it? 

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The three books I had published are described at http://ethericstudies.org/writing.htm. The two novels are available as a free download.

The Handbook of Metaphysics was actually shipped to a few stores and the Monroe Institute even recommended it on their website for a few months. Otherwise, it was a disaster. For the two novels, the agent I found only wanted to do vanity press deals. She also found new publishers: one went out of business before my printed book was shipped because they could not get into the Engram catalog. The other went to jail for fraud before my printed book was shipped.

All together, the three books cost me over $10K in the 1990s.

The publisher for the Handbook was my first experience and he was before I had the agent. He turned out to be more of a textbook publisher and never gave me the advice I needed such as helping me with a proofreader. Bad experiences all around.

Lisa and I are AA-EVP Publishing by way of the Association TransCommunication. (atransc.org). We wrote a book for our members as an EVP primer and self published it via Lightning Source. To date, it  has earned the Association over $37K. Other than print on demand, part of that is earned as an ePub book via Lightning Source and a Kindle eBook via Amazon.

My current book will be published in the same way, but this time, I expect to do a 30%-70% deal all around.

But here is the deal. We have between 500 and 800 unique website visitors every day. There is over 400 pages of information on the website which is there for the taking. We are widely known amongst paranormalists. In short, we have a platform from which to show our work.

We see a lot of book from other paranormalists. from my experience of reading many, the kindest thing this form could do is provide a peer-panel to evaluate books in the raw before and provide practical (aka: pragmatic) guidance.. One of the important bits of advice would be that it takes a lot of time to develop a following.

A good example is Sandra Champlain at http://sandrachamplain.com/. She has probably logged thousands of hours promoting herself.

In my opinion, traditional book publishers and agents are a thing of the past. Today, I would look for a good book packager to help me prep for print on demand, and maybe a marketing firm to help sell the book and promote the author. Laying out a book is a craft that is not always intuitive, and a book packager can help with that.


Just a shout out to Tom - I knew Sarah Estep, she was a wonderful lady. And the recordings she made were just mind-boggling. Congrats to you and your partner for continuing these investigations.


Yes, she was a true pioneer for our field.

The way people communicate has changed since she began the AA-EVP in 1982. EVP has become more of a tool, instead of discovery.


Tom, I first heard the term "EVP" on Ghosthunters, like most of the current world population, I imagine. I would guess that was EVP as a tool. Can you tell us what EVP as discovery was about?

It was mostly unheard of before 1959. At first, it was all about discovering the limits of how to record the voices, what recorders and sound sources worked and trying to eliminate mundane explanations such as stray radio signals.

Today, it is mostly used for ghost hunting and there is little effort to establish the necessary controls to avoid false positives. There are a few people using it for contacting loved ones, but it is very unreliable for that and wishful thinking can too easily lead to delusion.

Two important social phenomena came along the set back prior gains. One is social media such as FaceBook. it is useless for the exchange of ideas, yet its "cozy being with other people" effect has drawn people away from the more useful discussion boards.

The second is radio-sweep (ghost box, Frank's Box, Spirit Box.) All of our research shows that it probably does not produce EVP yet it is seen as a "silver bullet" for most would be practitioners The noise resulting from a very rapid radio sweep does produce the kind of noise useful for transform EVP, but most radio-sweep are just noise and fortuitous sounds made to seem like meaningful comments with clever story telling. It is very much as how a sham medium makes "messages" seem meaningful.

As you can probably tell, I am a little disheartened by the evolution of EVP brought by ghost hunting TV shows and the lack of guidance from parapsychologists. With that said, with the help of one, we have succeeded in having EVP included in the upcoming Parapsychological Association handbook. That gives me hope that more academically considered research will follow.

Has anyone written a solid book (recently) on the subject that we could promote for the ASCS? Having worked for 12 years in a haunted house on the University of Alabama campus, frequent site of ghosthunting crews, I've watched the Ghost Box in action and been unimpressed. We did capture many impressive EVPs and many that were questionable. But I have never thought of using EVP to capture communications from family beyond. I'd love to know more (about doing it right).

There is No Death and There are No Dead is a 2004 book Lisa and I wrote as an introduction to the subject but it is a little out of date. The history, stories and technique are all good, but the theory is old.

I just started formatting and proofreading a new book that covers the community, theory and kinds of transcommunication. It is mainly intended for the reader who wants to understand the concepts and is a little complex.

We have a paper on transcommunication intended to be an up-to-date primer which I have attached here. It has everything you need.

My objective with the new book is in three parts. First an attempt to describe our community and the dynamics which are keeping us from making progress, then a comprehensive remake of the survival hypothesis. Typically, people just say "the survival hypothesis" without actually explaining it or discussing the implications. Parapsychologists virtually never consider ITC  and for the most part, prefer the super-psi hypotheses (survival is only residual memory). To avoid confusion about what academia calls survival, I refer to the one in the book as the trans-survival hypothesis. There are sixteen or so essays exploring the implications of it in what I refer to as the implicit cosmology.

The rest of the book is a survey of ITC related phenomena along with healing intention and mediumship. You can read the first draft of these essays at http://ethericstudies.org/concepts.htm ... save the money you would spend on the book.

The whole thing is a result of over fifty years of seeking and fifteen years of co-directing the ATransC. Perhaps when it is finished, I will be able to return to my own research without being nagged by my inner thoughts to write this book.


Thanks so much, Tom! Let me know when you have the book ready for review--perhaps even ahead of its formal release. We'll make sure we have a review in an upcoming Searchlight.

This reinforces what I have suspected. Publishers are having to overprice books and give skinny royalties to survive in today's market. It has been my observation that the real key to a book's success is the degree to which the author is willing to get it out there. The following you have is ideal to promote a book.

The other thing that could sink a book, I think, is poor editing. If a person isn't strong as a writer, they need to get a good editor, to make sure the book will be reviewed well.

I think your idea for a forum for our members to edit or review each other's work is a great idea.

One of the issues I have in my study is that there is an academic-layperson partition that keeps me (technically a layperson) from being published by one of the more credible publishers. With that in mind, there is no likelihood that I will ever achieve any respect by being "published."

A second problem is that, in the study of transcommunication, anything more than ten-to-twelve years old is out of date. As such, books are notoriously out of date as references. (This is an important point when thinking of Wikipedia as a reference. Everything must be referenced and books are the primary source.)

POD books hit the market sooner and can be easily updated. For instance, we made a couple of major corrections in the No Dead book. Also, people with a bright idea, special insight or just an urge to be heard can more easily produce a book but it makes the job bigger for you.

Yes, an editor! Editors need to be paid. Authors need to factor in the cost of a good editor. Perhaps a list of people here who have time and ability to read manuscripts for content, grammar and/or layout and their fees.

I've worked professionally as a writer-editor for decades (see my LinkedIn profile), and am now semi-retired. My rates are the best you'll find for a top-notch editor. If you need a word herder, let's talk. Thank you.

That's great to know, Rick. I wish I had the time to edit books in our field. Someday when I don't have four jobs, perhaps I will.

And Tom, I agree about the problem finding a credible publishing venue in our field and particularly if you don't have academic credentials. But as we all know, some very brilliant people in our field don't have PhDs or MDs. Perhaps someday the ASCS will consider becoming a book publisher, setting a high standard for quality but with a broader conception of "credentials" than many publishers have. AND with a fair split of proceeds with the authors.


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