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Review-The Fine Print of Self-Publishing

April 20, 2010

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, Mark Levine, 2006, ISBN 9781933538563

As self-publishing, or Print-on-Demand (POD) publishing is becoming more popular, an important question for authors concerns the contract they are about to sign. Are they getting a good deal from the publisher, or are they (figuratively) signing their life away?

The book explores a number of things that the author must consider before signing a contract. Are the publishing fees fairly priced? Does it have a good reputation in the writing community? Does it offer decent royalties without fuzzy math? Can the author easily terminate the contract? Does the contract include the ability to obtain an ISBN or a UPC Bar Code? Never accept a contract whose terms extend for the length of the copyright (the life of the author plus 70 years). What happens to your book if the publisher declares bankruptcy?

Much of the book is taken up with an analysis of the contracts from 48 different self-publishers. The Outstanding publishers include Booklocker, Bookpros, Cold Tree Press, Infinity Publishing and Outskirts Press. The Pretty Good companies include Booksurge Publishing, Echelon Press and Third Millennium Publishing. The Okay publishers include Indy Publish, Llumina Press, Plane Tree Publishing and Publish to Go. The Bad publishers (to be avoided at all costs) include AuthorHouse, Holy Fire Publishing, PageFree Publishing and PublishAmerica. Any author thinking of signing with a "Bad" publisher needs to seriously reconsider if being a writer is really a good idea.

There is a more recent third edition available (this is the first edition). Regardless of the edition, this book needs to be on every budding author's bookshelf. It is full of information on what to consider, and what to avoid, before signing a book contract.

3,696 - 10 - 0 - US
Paul Lappen is a freelance book reviewer from Connecticut whose blog, Dead Trees Review, emphasizes small press and self-published books.