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The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Fourth Edition - Everything You Need to Know About the Costs, Contracts, and Process of Self-Publishing Paperback – April 2, 2011

302 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


''If you're considering paying a company to publish your book, don't do anything until you read The Fine Print and consider the alternatives. It will save you a lot of time, money, and heartache.''--Dan Poynter, The Self-Publishing Manual

''Book publishing can be tough business. At SPAWN, we always recommend that anyone even remotely considering using a self-publishing company read Mark Levine's book first. Mark has done an amazing amount of painstaking research, going through contracts and running the numbers. If aspiring authors just spent a few bucks on The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, thousands of dollars and a whole lot of heartache could be avoided.''--Susan Daffron, President, Small Publishers Artists and Writers Network (SPAWN)

''If you are even thinking about self-publishing, you must read this book. The mistakes you can avoid will set the stage for your ultimate book success. You can't afford not to buy this book.''--Jan B. King, Founder, eWomenPublishingNetwork

''The Fine Print is a consumer-friendly guide to choosing your best self-publishing deal. Mark explains the industry's tricky contract language in such clear terms that any lawyer can understand and follow.'' ---Perry Binder, Associate Professor of Legal Studies, Georgia State University

From the Author

I'm thrilled that you're considering ordering this fifth edition of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing.  The format of the book has expanded to cover ebook publishing and book marketing as well as self-publishing in general.  You'll also find charts and graphs that compare 27 self-publishing companies and five ebook-only book publishers in several categories, including royalties, costs, and more.  Enjoy. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Bascom Hill Publishing Group; 4th edition (April 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935098551
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935098553
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (302 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #532,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Levine, Minnesota based author is the CEO of Hillcrest Media Group,Inc., a book publishing technology company based in Minneapolis, MN. Hillcrest Media Group provides book publishing, marketing, printing and distribution services for authors and independent presses in the U.S. and UK.

Since 2013, Hillcrest Media Group has been licensing its patent-pending ebook conversion software and its publishing workflow technology software to other publishers.

Prior to being CEO of Hillcrest Media Group, Mark was the CEO of Click Industries. In addition to The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Mark is the author of two novels.

For more information about Hillcrest Media Group, visit Mark's blog is at is at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Bogart on January 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
The self-publishing industry is growing in leaps and bounds. As a book reviewer I've noticed a sharp increase in self-published, print-on-demand titles coming into the market. With major publishing houses reducing the number of contracts being signed due to recent economic difficulties, the allure of finally getting that novel in print is driving many to sign contracts to pay to have their books published. With the increase in consumer demand, new self-publishing companies are popping up all the time.

In The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Mark Levine -- an experienced self-published author and owner/investor into various e-commerce businesses -- analyzes 45 self-publishing companies. In previous editions Levin reviewed publishing contracts, customer service and other factors to assign publishers with a numeric ranking. In the third edition he has moved to more generalized categories: Outstanding, Pretty Good, Just OK, and To Avoid. Sadly 21 of the 45 companies analyzed fall into the To Avoid category - self-publishing contracts are often author-unfriendly, revealing the clear need for this title.

After introducing readers to the benefits of choosing to print their book with a self-publishing company, Levine discloses that his companies have investments in a self-publishing firm. However, he does not compare or evaluate its services within the book, he just wants to be up-front with that fact, which is commendable. He then guides readers through the main components of having a book published, what needs to be provided, the details they should look for from a publisher, all of the major key points to be aware of.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By S. Maroney on May 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Following is the message I sent to Mark upon reading his book, "The FINE PRINT of Self-publishing."

"You and your staff have done a masterful job of amassing the data contained in FINE PRINT. I am impressed. Your book is not only unique, but you have provided an invaluable service to all aspiring self-publishers. I also greatly appreciate your dedication, imagination, focus, organized M.O., and fine writing style. Amazon does what you said it would do: it led me to you.

"This is the way I approached reading your book: carefully, i.e., I read everything through "Outstanding Publishing Companies" (Chap. 6). Then, I briefly perused "Some Pretty Good Self-publishing Companies" (Chap. 7). I did not consider reading "Publishers Who Are Just OK" (Chap. 8) or "Publishers to Avoid" (Chap. 9), as I aim for perfection in my endeavors. Finally, I read the Conclusion."

Mark has not only written the definitive handbook for the self-publishing neophyte, but his impact extends beyond the written word. He is accessible and sensitive to his readers. Within less than an hour, he responded with a message of appreciation--phone number included, should I desire publishing advice. Again, Bravo, Mark!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Kate on October 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Nothing reinforced the accuracy and credibility of the findings in this book quite like what Mark wrote about iUniverse. Because everything he said mirrored to the letter and spirit the experience I had with this publishing company over the past five years. He is right! Where they were once outstanding, their services and customer care have become so sloppy that they really should be avoided.

This is a critical guide for anyone planning to self-publish! I could not recommend it more highly.
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76 of 88 people found the following review helpful By jj on March 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here's the thing: do you just want a book---for family and friends? Fine, buy this book and look through all the companies listed and choose the best one to meet your needs.

If you want a competitively priced book that can compete with others in the market---this book is a HUGE waste of time. He says as much at the get-go when he is trying to get you to use his publishing company. Why? Why write a whole book that is pointless to most of the people who want to self-publish? he tells you up front---use his company which is so much better. I cannot believe the number of five stars he has unless they are from days gone by when these companies were the only way to pursue getting abook published.

The problem with the companies which he will tell you at the get go is that it costs so much that your book will be priced ridiculously. So, if you want to actually sell your book in the marketplace and compete with others---this book will not help you---at all. The book just goes through all the companies out there who you can pay $1,000 to $10,000 to make you a book with cover and formatting and ISBN. But, who is going to buy a 300 page paperback for $16 when you can get one for $6.99. And don't even think about making money off these books after these companies take their slice.

And the whole distriubtion issue (will someone be able to walk into B&N and see your book) is a whole book unto itself.

As I said, this book is mostly about evaluating all the companies avaialabe that will put your book together for you and your friends. If you want to do better than that and try to make something competitively priced, you need to go to LightningSource or Createspace and learn to do the things this book does not tell you how to do.
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