Why Every Self-Published Author Needs to Read “The Fine Print”

With a title like “The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: A Primer on Contracts, Printing Costs, Royalties, Distribution, Ebooks, and Marketing”, Mark Levine’s book isn’t the most sexy-sounding book you’ll ever read, but it might be one of the most influential. In this updated edition, author and book publishing expert Mark Levine shares his wisdom on the legal, publishing, and marketing details self-published authors often miss in the excitement of getting their book published.

If you ever had questions about some aspects of your publishing contracts or the steps in getting a book published, this book might help. The book is filled with checklists, helpful tips, and recommendations for dealing with the sides of publishing that are rarely talked about.

Why Should You Read a Book About Contracts & Printing?

Even if you’re only interested in publishing a 7-page Kindle book, there’s a contract involved. You need to be aware of the limitations and agreements in your contract now because they could become a sticky issue in the future.

The world of publishing has become more crowded with different options:

  • Traditional publishing
  • Self-publishing
  • Hybrid publishing
  • Vanity publishing
  • Agent-assisted publishing

The one thing they have in common is a contract. As an author, you need to be aware of the core issues behind what you’re signing. While “The Fine Print of Self-Publishing” won’t cover every legal issue in a contract (You’ll still need a lawyer for that!), the book identifies potential troubles spots or areas that are open for negotiation.

What about Publishing?

Mark Levine continually reinforces the principle that publishing a book requires more than uploading a PDF or Microsoft Word document. Whether you are publishing an eBook or physical copy of the book, authors have to pay attention to many details that can affect a reader’s experience. These details include font, graphics, cover art, illustrations, etc. This is in addition to other elements such as your budget, editing decisions, getting an ISBN, marketing decisions, and sales strategies.

Publishing a book is a huge investment, which is why publishing companies select only a few potential winners to work with. As a self-published author, you take on all of this responsibility. That’s why it’s important for authors to get prepared, get organized, and remain dedicated. That is how you transform a labor of love into a book others will love.

What Can I Find In the Book?

Mark Levine’s book shares his publishing wisdom in three main broad areas: publishing, legal issues, and marketing. Levine, a self-published author himself and former owner of the publishing company of Hillcrest Media Group, shares the wisdom he gained as an author and publisher.

Some of the information you can find in this book:

  • Difference between self-publishing and other types of publishing (vanity, traditional, etc.)
  • Tips for working with service providers like graphic designers, editors, and publishing companies
  • Steps to get your ISBN
  • Publishing fees & royalties
  • Basics of Publishing contracts
  • Printing & distribution options
  • Marketing options

Be aware that Mark Levine spends the majority of his time talking about publishing print books. If you’re interested in more information from the eBook side of things, you might also want to check out “Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should: Updated Second Edition (Let’s Get Publishing Book 1)” by David Gaughran.

Key Takeaways from the Book

  1. You can’t do self-publishing all by yourself.
  2. Pay attention to the “fine print” of everything you receive from a publisher.
  3. Check out a publishing company for yourself.
  4. Don’t narrow down your options early. Shop around for the service and expertise you need.
  5. Do the best you can with what you have.

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: A Primer on Contracts, Printing Costs, Royalties, Distribution, Ebooks, and Marketing

by Mark Levine

Covering everything from how to determine printing costs and calculate royalties to the most up-to-date marketing strategies, The Fine Print of Self-Publishing has become the go-to book for authors considering self-publishing. Now in its sixth edition, The Fine Print delves into more topics than ever before, including a comparison of the quality of finished books produced by popular DIY service providers and newly expanded sections on printing and distribution options, ebook publishing, and online and traditional marketing ideas. And, like the previous editions, The Fine Print walks readers through the printing markups and royalty payouts of the top publishing service providers.

Whether you’re thinking about hiring a self-publishing company or handling the process on your own, The Fine Print of Self-Publishing will get you one step closer to achieving your publication goals.

About the Author