How To Avoid The Pitfalls of Self-Publishing

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As self-publishing becomes a viable and respected book publishing option, a comparison of the major self-publishing companies arms authors with information about how choosing the right self-publishing company can mean the difference between success and failure. Readers learn how much each company marks up printing, makes in royalties, and what specific contract terms of a particular publisher that should be seen as a red flag.

Choosing the right self-publishing company comes down to finding one that offers the best mix of price, low printing markups, high royalties and favorable contract terms

This May, publishing industry research firm Bowker found that while traditional publishing numbers held steady in 2007, "on demand" and short-run titles skyrocketed. As new technology and vanity presses make self-publishing more accessible than ever, it's clear that many hopeful authors are turning to self-publishing to fulfill their literary aspirations.

But with thousands of self-publishing companies to choose from, how does an author determine which is right for them and which ones to avoid?

In his new book, The Fine Print of Self-Publishing(Bascom Hill Publishng Group, September 2008), self-publishing industry watchdog Mark Levine lays out the nine essential qualities to consider when selecting a self-publishing company. Through extensive research and personal expertise from his career in corporate law, he analyzes and critiques the contracts and services offered by the top 45 self-publishing companies.

"Choosing the right self-publishing company comes down to finding one that offers the best mix of price, low printing markups, high royalties and favorable contract terms," says Levine, who was inspired to write the book after a fellow author was led astray by a dishonest self-publishing company. "I hope to educate people so they can avoid getting ripped off by unethical self-publishing companies, and hopefully even negotiate a better deal for themselves in the process."

Now in its third edition, Levine wrote The Fine Print of Self-Publishing to help simplify the confusing and potentially treacherous worlds of self-publishing, cutting through the industry jargon and confusing contract terms. With the advice found in this book, anyone can arm themselves with the information to choose the right self-publisher, for the right price.

In an interview, Levine can discuss topics such as:

  •     The nine qualities of a good self-publishing company
  •     The author's "Bill of Rights": A code of ethics for the self-publishing industry
  •     Legal issues to consider before self-publishing your book
  •     How to choose a self-publisher that's right for you
  •     Myths and misconceptions of self-publishing
  •     How to decipher self-publishing contracts
  •     How to negotiate better terms with a self-publisher

Levine resides in Minneapolis, Minn., where he is the CEO of Click Industries, Ltd., an e-commerce company that provides small business entrepreneurs and creative individuals affordable products and services to help with the business start-up process and the protection of business assets and intellectual property. Levine is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. For more information about Levine and The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, visit


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