Page IV: DIY vs Assisted Self-Publishing

Many aspects of self-publishing can be done directly by a savvy author, but it requires time and knowledge of the publishing industry. Some of the more detailed steps in the publishing process include:

  • Finding and selecting an editor
  • Selecting a designer, ensuring they provide design files in the proper format
  • Getting ISBN numbers, classifying the book using BISAC codes
  • Pricing the book
  • Choosing a print-on-demand service
  • Creating print-ready and ebook files (.pub, .mobi)
  • Getting your book into the major ebook retailers
  • Creating metadata, choosing keywords for search engines
  • Creating and executing a marketing plan

Many authors can easily become overwhelmed with all of the steps and the decisions that need to be made. They want guidance through the process.

Enter self-publishing companies, or “assisted self-publishing” companies.

“Assisted self-publishing companies,” such as Tellwell, basically act as a one-stop-shop to help with the entire publishing process, with guidance from the author. It is a team approach, usually involving an editor, designer, marketing consultant, plus somebody to take care of getting the book into the various sales channels.

With a do-it-yourself versus the assisted approach, it is not entirely one or the other. It is a continuum.

You may decide that you need a designer, and some help getting the book formatted properly and into the best sales channels. But to save on costs, you may decide to do most of the promoting yourself and take advantage of a family member who is a qualified editor.

Do-it-Yourself Approach Assisted Approach


  • Potentially low cost if you are literally doing everything yourself rather than hiring contractors
  • Complete control over every aspect


  • One-stop solution
  • Expertise in each area of publishing
  • Guidance through process


  • Requires high degree of knowledge, expertise, and talent
  • Time intensive
  • Quality may suffer if professionals not involved
  • Trial-and-error process of hiring editor or designer may be costly


  • The more help you need, the more it costs
  • Reputation of companies varies