The following is a list of frequently asked questions from readers and authors.  Please review this list for any questions you might have before reaching out.  If you do not see your question listed here, feel free to contact us.

Q: What does TANSTAAFL mean?

A: If you didn’t notice elsewhere in these pages, TANSTAAFL is an acronym popularized by Robert Heinlein in the novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It is short for “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” indicating that anything you get for “free” you probably paid too much for. Or one could generalize this even more saying “Value for value.” You must give value to get value.

Q: Why do you use a teddy bear with an M16 as your symbol?

A: For our first three years we used a brass cannon as another tip of the hat to our favorite author, Robert Heinlein. Over the years we’ve brought the bright purple bear, with the M16, as our mascot to shows to promote Toy Wars, by Thomas Gondolfi. This has prompted TG to be given the nickname of teddy bear man. People know we are at a show by finding the purple bear. It makes a great rallying point and EVERYONE looks for it (even if they might not yet be true believers of our writing). We can’t fight the tides, cats, or spouses so we gave in. The purple teddy with the assault rifle now represents us more obviously than did the obscure brass cannon.

Q: I submitted an excerpt of my work to you for review and haven’t yet heard back.  How soon should I expect a response?

A: If you have not heard back within the month, you may not hear a response back.  We receive many submissions of work from prospective authors and currently our editors are very busy.  If your work does not meet the qualifications of our genres, or your submission failed to comply with our submission guidelines, the work would automatically be rejected and no notice would be provided to you.

Q: I have published works in my name.  What is the submission process for me?

A: Your mother must be very pleased.  However, unless you have been published by TANSTAAFL Press, the same submission guidelines still apply.

Q: Can I order a trade paper back through your website directly, or do I need to go to my local book store?

A: At this time we are still in the process of publishing our upcoming releases.  Once our books are released, however, you will be able to purchase from our website directly, through our Amazon store or select local booksellers which we will list on this website with each owner’s permission.

Q: Who do you work with for your editing? …typesetting? …printing?

A: We have started the page Professionals. With each professional’s approval we will add contact information for them on that page

Q: Your retail price seems high. Why do you charge the price you do for your books?

A: We are not gouging you the paying public. It goes back to our company name, TANSTAAFL Press – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

Roughly any book requires the following costs. We’ve shown the approximate costs assuming printing 1000 books. If that cost is a one time cost or variable we’ve estimated its cost spread across the 1000.

TANSTAAFL Press doesn’t use the cheapest bid for any job, as you get what you pay for, but rather journeyman quality (eg someone who is good at their job but who isn’t so good that they command top dollar).

Cost Amount
Editing $1.00
Typesetting $0.50
Cover Illustration $1.00
Cover Layout $0.25
Review Copies $0.60
Physical Printing of the book $5.00
Storage $0.05
Shipping $2.00
Distribution / Retail Mark Up / None $9.50 or $ 6.90 or $0
Marketing $2.00
Author Payments $1.00
Total Costs $22.70 or 20.10 or 13.20

Note: The three costs in order are Box Bookstore, Independent Bookstore, and Publisher’s Website. As such full distribution to big box stores is unlikely for any TANSTAAFL Press product.

As bleak as these numbers seem, it shows that the first 1000 print books are at a loss, but when you factor out the one-time costs for a second print run you start showing a profit. Even this wouldn’t be good enough at our stated retail price were it not for the income of E-books. This allows us to hold down the cost of the print book.

Adding up all these costs will give you a quick look into the reality of print books. While some authors go electronic versions only, many readers are still traditional enough to want to hold a book in their hands and we cater to both traditional and E-book readers.