Self Publishing 101: My honest review

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I bought Self Publishing 101 in 2018 along with two similar courses to compare. Of the three, SP 101 is the clear winner and the only one I recommend.

What does Self Publishing 101 teach?

How to self publish your books. It teaches how to market books, not write them.

Who is it best for?

Someone who wants a proven roadmap to make a healthy living writing, and is willing to skip traditional publishing for full control and higher profits.

You can figure out how to self publish on your own; it will cost you time. Or, pay for this course and save the time. It’s your choice.

What method of making money online does it teach?

Books (digital format).

Are there success stories?

Yes. There are many here.

When is Self Publishing 101 open?

Twice a year in spring and fall. It will open again in fall 2021.

How much does it cost?

Most recently, $597. One-time purchase. Future updates are included.

Are there incidental costs?

Yes. Costs associated with an email list are expected. Other tools and services are recommended, as well as costs associated with running ads, but it seems care has been taken to keep incidental costs down.

How to get a taste

Explore the resources at Self Publishing Formula including the podcast the free books (under the Resources tab).

Who made it & are they qualified to teach it?

Mark Dawson. Yes he’s qualified. He’s made over a million dollars in book sales. (Yes you read that right.)


Solid framework for all genres. Mark’s own success proves his process works. He writes mainly fiction, but his students write in all genres.

Mark’s experience & style. Mark is a former lawyer. He’s also authored many books, and marketed them successfully resulting in millions of dollars in book sales. He’s knowledgeable, thorough, detailed and sensitive to the ethical / legal aspects of the process.

A focus on building your list. Everything Mark does revolves around his email list. This is smart and something a lot of traditionally published find tricky to build because they are several steps removed from their readers.

Community. SP101’s Facebook Group has over 21,000 members at the time of this update. It gives you a chance to ask questions, get ideas, share ideas, ask for advice, get support, provide encouragement and interact with other writers who “get” you.

Success stories. There are many students SP101 has helped.

In-depth information. The course is packed with information.

Packaged well. It’s hosted on the Teachable platform which is easy to navigate and familiar to many.

Lifetime enrollment. You’ll have access to current and future updates of the course.

30-day money back guarantee. That’s just good customer service.


Cost. For some, the cost is prohibitive (although there is a generous payment plan). But again, if you are willing to invest in a college course to further your career, this would be comparable.

Potentially overwhelming for some. There are a lot of moving parts to Mark’s plan. That’s both good and bad. It’s super thorough, but also might be overwhelming for some. The good news is, he offers several timelines, checklists and to-do lists throughout.

An ever-changing landscape. There’s no doubt this course will need updates as online things change (they always do). Mark is committed to keeping things up to date. For anything needed immediate attention, he is very accessible in the Facebook Group.


I’m a huge fan of self publishing. In 2010, a publisher offered me a book deal with a 5-figure advance, but I turned it down. I chose to self publish instead and haven’t regretted it for a second.

Self Publishing 101 is impressive. If you dream of making a living writing, you’ll be hard pressed to find something comparable at this price point.