Maggie Lynch is the author of 20+ published books, as well as numerous short stories and non-fiction articles. Her fiction tells stories of men and women making heroic choices one messy moment at a time. Her nonfiction focuses on helping indie authors be successful in their careers.

After careers in counseling, the software industry, academia, and worldwide educational consulting, Maggie chose to devote her time to her career as a full time author. Her fiction spans romance, suspense, fantasy and science fiction titles. Her non-fiction focuses on guiding authors to business success in their career through planning, distributing, and marketing their completed work.

Secrets Every Author Should Know by Maggie McVay Lynch

Frustrated with the plethora of conflicting information on how to self-publish? Wouldn't it be wonderful to sit down with someone who has already made the mistakes, done the analysis, and will provide you the short cuts—the secrets about the things that work? Now you have that chance with the Career Author Secrets series. Indie Publishing (Self Publishing) has changed dramatically in the past five years. There are now new, easier tools to use for every part of the process—editing, formatting, distribution, sales, and analysis. This first book in the Career Author Secrets series provides a foundation for navigating the indie publishing process and staying away from the scammers. It breaks down the requirements for self-publishing successfully, protecting your rights for the future, and YES I do share all the secrets I've learned.

This book contains everything a DIY author needs to get her book from manuscript to professional publication in both ebook and print, including:

  • Why books don’t sell
  • Options for DIY or contracting professionals
  • The truth about ISBNs & Copyright Registration
  • Secrets for formatting your book the easy way
  • Creating book covers that sell
  • Making decisions about distribution

This book is especially valuable for those with limited technical skills who want to produce a quality professional book for the least amount of cost. Learn the secrets to easier implementation and how to make good decisions on what is worth your time and money.


Maggie McVay Lynch's writing career has lasted for more than two decades now. She writes under a variety of names and in a variety of genres. When the indie publishing revolution started (what some people now call self-publishing), Maggie jumped in with both feet. She's been at the forefront of this new movement almost since it began and has learned the ins, outs, dos and don'ts of the indie career. She calls these things "secrets." I call them "essentials." – Kristine Kathryn Rusch



  • "A Must Have for All Indie Authors…and Hybrid and Trads too!
    Maggie Lynch knows computer technology from the inside. She understands WHY keywords, metadata and all the rest work, and HOW computer language and formatting does its job for us.
Fortunately, she teaches in a clear, concise way that brings it to the amateur or lay level for those of us who don't know why and how, but just want to get the job done.
I highly recommend this book as a guide for those venturing into self-publishing for the first time, or those of us repeating the process of formatting and uploading a book for the umpteenth time. The first version of this book has been my 'bible' for the process, and I'm happy to see an updated version."

    – Amazon Review
  • "Great resource for authors and aspiring authors!
    This brand new book is packed with current information, well written, conversational, and best of all, not intimidating—just what any aspiring author needs. The publishing world is confusing, ever evolving, and the author keeps up to date with the changes and shares information in an easy-to-understand manner. If you've ever wanted to write a book, or have written a book, and don't know what to do next, this is the perfect book for you. Seasoned authors will also find useful information here."

    – Amazon Review
  • "Excellent Roadmap
    I am a professional content editor and 'literary midwife' who works with a lot of new authors who plan to self publish. Maggie's book is a solid, straightforward roadmap to help the aspiring author navigate his or her path to publication. Very well done and well worth buying! I recommend it to my writer clients all the time."

    – Amazon Review



Introduction to Indie Publishing

"Write, write, and write some more." If content is king in developing a publishing strategy then a connected series is queen, and quality is the foundation for that empire. One repeated mantra is that Self Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint."

– Dianna Love, NYT and USA TODAY Bestselling Author

If you have come to this book with the idea that you can write a manuscript over a few months, share it with your closest friends, get someone with an English degree to check grammar, and then put it up on Amazon and sell millions, I'm afraid you will be sorely disappointed. Yes, you can put up anything you've written on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, Google Play, iBooks, and many more places with relative ease. You can announce it to the world on social media, and even go on blog tours to let everyone know how wonderful it is. But selling beyond your friends and family is NOT likely.

In the early days of self-publishing (2010-2012) there were a number of books that were poorly executed, but with good stories, that sold well. But those days are long gone. With over half a million indie books being put up every year, readers have become wary of trying new authors. They have formed mental checklists that help them determine if a new book is going to be worth their time. This list includes evaluating the cover, reading the blurb, checking the sample or "Look Inside" feature, checking the reviews, and looking at the author page to see what else he/she has written. To sell well today, you need to pass all those tests.

That is what this book is about—how to make your book the best it can be, how to package it so that people will at least click on the cover to learn more, and how to write descriptions that draw readers in and want to take a chance on an unknown author. Then once the reader takes a chance on you, you must deliver to their expectations—expectations for story, formatting, and navigation. AND, if the reader likes your book, they will want to immediately buy another book from you. If you don't have another book now, or coming soon, you will quickly be forgotten.

This first chapter will provide a quick overview of the entire publishing process to give you the scope of requirements. Subsequent chapters will then go into much more detail to ensure you can do this on your own and create/package the best book possible.

But before we get into that let's make sure we are on the same page in terms of understanding what indie publishing is all about and how it differs from traditional publishing.

Self-Publishing – This is a process by which an individual handles all the aspects of publishing his/her book. It does not necessarily mean she does it all herself. She may have a team of people she contracts. The key is she is the publisher.

Indie Publishing – This has become synonymous with "self-publishing." Over the past three years or so, this term is preferred by most people who self-publish. Anyone who takes on the tasks of publishing is an indie publisher.

This also applies to a person or group of people who form a publishing company outside of the major publishers and acquire books. Independent publishing is nothing new. From Virginia and Leonard Woolf starting up Hogarth Press to the early days of Farrar, Straus and Giroux championing now-iconic authors that other publishers wouldn't touch, DIY publishing has long been responsible for some of our best literature. Today, you often see "indie presses" or "indie publishers" who represent poetry or certain niche markets not embraced by big publishers, like narrative history, memoirs, spiritual self-help, and niche markets for fiction.

Today, most small presses or niche presses call themselves "indie" publishers. This includes well-known literary publishers like Tin House, Melville House, and Coffee House Press to new presses that grew out of online zines, such as Ugly Duckling Press in Oregon now with over 200 titles. Also, genre presses such as Entangled, Aberdeen, Poisoned Pen, any many others.

Let's Break Down These Steps to the Key Components

They key to indie publishing, just as in traditional publishing, is developing a team that you trust to do the jobs you can't or are not willing to do yourself. Although all the above items are handled in-house with traditional publishers and small presses, each person has a set of skills and things they know how to do. You need to develop that same approach.

For example, if you are a graphic designer in your day job and you know Adobe Photoshop inside and out, then you might feel comfortable taking on cover design yourself. Even if you are comfortable with the tools, you will still need to invest some time in learning how the design impacts your genre, your branding, if you are doing series etc. Designing book covers is a different knowledge base than designing a commercial brochure for a business.

If you have a good marketing background, you may be fine with developing a marketing plan and implementing it yourself. Again, you need to find out what works for selling books vs cars or houses or refrigerators.

For every aspect of the publishing process there are people available to help you implement it. The key is determining who they are, what you can afford, and whom you can trust. There are plenty of people out there who offer services not worth your time or money.