The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine

 

Nonfiction

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark LevineReview is by Molly

Mark Levine has written a work devoted to the growing number of Self Publishing book publishers. The Fine Print of Self Publishing: The Contracts & Services of 45 Self-Publishing Companies-Analyzed Ranked & Exposed is presented as an aid to those writers who may be considering using one of the Self Publishing book publishers rather than languishing while waiting for a major publisher to notice their work.

Levine points out in his Introduction “the publishing world is changing, thanks to advances in digital printing and the Internet, new authors are realizing they don’t really need traditional publishers.”

From presenting advice on how to make your own big break in Chapter 1 in which he explains that whether a new, unknown author decides to self publish, or is so fortunate as to be offered a contract from one of the major publishers, readers discover the author is likely the one who will be doing most if not all marketing of the finished product.

And, Levine points out that should the book actually do well, sell many copies, become well accepted, and appear on a best seller list; then the large publisher will take most of the credit and most of the profit leaving the writer with perhaps 10% royalties at best. Levine says bluntly, “If you believe in your book, then publish it.”

As a reviewer I frequently receive a query from a writer who hesitantly tells me that they are self pubbed and will understand if I choose not to read or review. I point out that Hemingway, Twain and Dickens all self published their work at some time in their careers.

Chapter 2 details why the hopeful writer needs to read this book: one big idea offered by Levine is that by reading The Fine Print of Self Publishing authors will discover what is needed to avoid many of the pitfalls which may be waiting if Self Publishing is the method used for getting the manuscript into print. That is valuable information.

I found Chapter 3 to be especially interesting. Levine details what he views as nine qualities of a good Self Publishing Company. Some of the qualities he lists includes: a good reputation among writers, fair publishing fees, low printing costs, ISBN as part of the basic package. Levine goes on to explain fully what he means regarding each of the qualities he feels are essential.

Chapters 4 and 5 are filled with a good bit of information regarding publishing contracts and how to understand the fine print of various publisher contracts and service.

Chapters 6 – 9 then list a number of publishers in categories ranging from excellent Self Publishing Companies to the Publishers to Avoid. The various publishers listed in each category are detailed as to what is good, bad or just plain outrageous regarding fees, what to expect and the books themselves plus much more valuable information which will serve to help the writer get a book printed and hopefully launch a career as a writer.

Levine rounds out the book in the conclusion in which he discusses marketing the book and making it sell; he makes no bones about the fact that for every book printed there are many which are little known, little read “there is no guarantee that if a book is published it will sell. Writers must be ready to get out and market their work.” Levine points out that one big help to writers today is the Internet itself, and he explains how he himself uses the Internet to his advantage to sell his books.

I enjoyed reading The Fine Print of Self Publishing, the book is filled with many helpful suggestions, hints and ideas for writers who may have decided to Self Publish, but have no idea regarding how to go about locating a publisher. Publishing a book yourself can be very expensive, The Fine Print of Self Publishing provides information regarding a number of the best known names in the business, those who are reputable, and those who while not totally dishonest are going to do little more than publish the work and wait for the author to get it sold, or not.

Because I review I am often asked about Self Publishing, whether or not I know anything about one or another of the various publishers. So, I sent off two manuscripts; one each to the two about which I am most often queried, and which happen to be in the list of to avoid. Both companies were pleasant to work with, in due time I received my package copies, I am not a marketer, neither publisher did much to provide any marketing and on a rare occasion someone actually buys one or the other of the books.

If I should get the yen to self publish another work I’ll check Writer Levine’s The Fine Print of Self Publishing: The Contracts & Services of 45 Self-Publishing Companies-Analyzed Ranked & Exposed to find a publisher who may charge a bit more, but with whom I may have more success in seeing the books actually moved into the hands of readers.

Filled with information about how to go about locating a publisher and what to expect; The Fine Print of Self Publishing is reader friendly, detailed and filled with valuable information which can help direct a hopeful author to the perfect, for him/her, Self Publishing house. Levine’s writing style is very readable, he guides the reader into an understanding regarding which of the well known houses are perhaps not the best and lists exactly why in an instructive manner that is not preachy or authoritarian. He also lists which of the houses may be the best, and again lists exactly why.

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