About two years ago when I started researching self publishing and subsidy publishers, I came across an interview by Ron Pramschufer with a lawyer called Mark Levine on Global Talk Radio. I think this must have coincided with Levine’s first edition of ‘The Fine Print of Self-Publishing’. I was fascinated at the time that someone had actually bothered to write a whole book on the area I was researching. I think I eventually found a site and downloaded the ebook for about three or four dollars. Reading it was like climbing a ladder and someone shoving you four or five rungs up the ladder after you had only taken a single step yourself. Come to think of it, this was the first ebook I actually bothered to purchase and download!
That says a lot about where POD publishing and Self-publishing actually is. Levine’s book for me is the foremost book in this area because he has done so much of the research which new and unfamiliar authors have to do when they look at the area of self-publishing. I’m not sure that Levine sells many books outside of the captivated audience of alternative publishing (read, I’m sick of bashing my head against the wall with agent and traditional publisher submissions).
I am still currently reading the book and what strikes you is the way Levine has had to constantly re-appraise every publisher all the time, suggesting that the publishers are in a state of flux themselves.
Mark Levine is a maverick. Not because he hasn’t rolled up his sleeves and taken on by letter, email and ‘in your face’ techniques, the POD/subsidy publishers, but because he has not fawned at their doorsteps or taken and regurgitated the political marketing speak of so many companies he has researched for his book. As an example, iUniverse, a publisher he ranked as exceptional, now ranks as a publisher ‘to avoid’. Like all of us following the macinations of AuthorSolutions buying out this publisher, Levine leads with his experience and reputation, rather than pay sop to anyone.
The strength of Levine’s editions of ‘Fine Print of Self-Publishing’ over the past three years is that he has encouraged companies to revise their contracts and make themselves more ‘author friendly’. His book only highlights more the need for a proper POD/Subsidy publishing charter, a code of conduct for these publishers. But then, because the industry does not accept these companies into the ‘publishers family’, they can opperate as they choose.
Mark Levine has his work cut out for the fourth edition. This area of publishing is throwing up new publishers to be appraised by the month, just as the current economic climate is resigning quite a few to the business dustbin. The world of Self/Subsidy publishing is changing. Even writing this article, I struggle with the label we place on the mode of publication and how it should be properly be refered to.
If I have a criticism of Levine’s book, it is that he is not reflecting the changes already apparent in the business. I actually don’t see far beyond a fourth or fifth edition of this book, simply because the ‘model’ for publishing is rapidly changing. I think Mark Levine knows this and something is brewing.
You can purchase/download Mark Levine’s excellent book on Self/Subsidy publishing on the link below.