The ‘No B.S. Guide’ to Self-Publishing — Part Four — One Honest Indie

Debbi Mack
4 min readNov 8, 2022

Picking up from where we left off at the end of Part Three.

Indie Publishing is Project Management

Becoming an indie author means you become an indie publisher, which means you’re taking on the responsibilities a publisher would perform for you. Essentially, to do this successfully requires a certain amount of organizational skill. Anyone who’s successfully run any kind of project can do this. Anything at all, whether it be in a corporate setting or at home. Even if you just organized a book club or local charity drive.

You’ll be responsible for finding someone to format your book (as a PDF file) to meet the publication requirements. Unless you choose to go DIY on that, which totally can be done. If you don’t want to, it’s easy enough to use or another service like to hire a freelancer to provide the following services:

  • develop the cover art;
  • format the print and ebook versions
  • edit the book’s content; and
  • copyedit and/or proofread the book.

Keep in mind, your mileage with freelancers found through Fiverr or UpWork may vary widely. For instance, be prepared to spend more for a well-designed book cover and good editing. I have used these services occasionally, but as a general rule,I hire freelancers I’ve found through networking to work on my fiction.

I can’t speak to how “hybrid publishers” or whatever they’re called handle business transactions with their authors, but I can tell you what Lulu used to do when I was with them. Lulu paid for my ISBN and was the publisher of record. But they published on a non-exclusive basis, i.e., the rights were still mine. I received some royalties from sales, just like under a traditional publishing contract.

Essentially, if you’re only planning to publish one or two titles or you feel like you need help with price setting and getting an ISBN, an author services company like Lulu could be the right option for you. I’ll add here that I haven’t done business with Lulu for years, so things there may have changed.

However, if you publish directly through a POD publisher like IngramSpark, you are entirely your own…



Debbi Mack

New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including the Sam McRae Mystery series. Screenwriter, podcaster, and blogger. My website: