APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book
“Essential reading (and reference) for modern authors, regardless of experience.”- Kirkus Book Reviews ”Nuts, bolts, and inspiration too. Once again, Guy delivers, kicking the shiitake out of anyone who would tell you that you shouldn’t, wouldn’t or couldn’t write a book.”
Author and founder of The Icarus Project. This version of APE was updated with the most recent content, facts, figures, tools, and resources on March 5th, 2013. To see what content has been added si
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THE self-publishing compendium by a Dynamic Duo!,
“APE” is the how-to compendium for today’s self-publishers.
Authors will find APE an indispensable resource. Guy Kawasaki passes along his publishing experience in his “no-s***ake,” but affable manner. Imagine having an extremely successful uncle in the publishing biz who also has a tech-wizard pal (co-author Shawn Welch) of digital publishing magic. Fortunately for us, this dynamic duo decided to share their publishing know-how.
“APE’s” premise is that publishing is a parallel process “that requires simultaneous progress along multiple fronts.” Hence, self-publishers are challenged with how to: market, brand, design, promote, publish, distribute, and finance a book-all at the same time. Oh, and don’t forget the time required for actually writing the book. Indisputably, each self-publisher is an: Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur.
Reading “APE” is like taking a condensed survey course in publishing; it addresses the range of topics that authors must know about self-publishing. “APE” covers aspects from the existential question of “Should I write a book,” to advice on how to create foreign language versions of your book, to guerrilla marketing techniques, and ideas for financing.
Traditional publishers have long prided themselves on their art form and on their discernment abilities. Readers have come to expect and appreciate their expertise. APE’s tactics and techniques will enable self-published authors to deliver to readers books that will meet these time-honored and well-justified expectations.
Kawasaki and Welch challenge self-publishers to take up the mantle of “artisanal publishing”–where authors who love their craft must dedicate the time and resources to “control every aspect of the process of from beginning to end.” If authors engage this philosophy, their books should have a much improved chance on separating themselves apart from the chaff of the expected two million new titles that are expected to hit the English language market in 2013.
“APE” admonishes that self-publishing isn’t easy or a way to get rich quick. But if you want a realistic, tactical, and, relatively, slim (300-pages) self-publishing guide that is profuse with handy resources and links (which actually work–this reviewer checked them) on how to do it right, then APE is the go-to guide for you.
An additional remark from the reviewer:
“APE” should be on every author’s desk or e-reader right along with “The Chicago Manual of Style” and “The Copy-editor’s Handbook.” As with the latter guides, it is one that you will refer to often as you find your way in today’s era of the Wild, Wild West of Publishing. It also addresses the particular formatting hurdles that non-fiction writers must clear when self-publishing.
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Highly recommended for anyone wanting to self-publish,
“APE: How to Publish a Book” by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch is an excellent guide for anyone wanting to self-publish a book. APE stands for Author – Publisher – Entrepreneur. These are the three main focuses these two authors cover in this 300 plus page book.
The Author section contains seven chapters. The authors start with a brief chapter on why you might want to write a book, a review of traditional publishing, how self-publishing has changed, the ascent of eBooks and then the practical chapters on tools for writers, and how to write and finance your book. The first of these chapters will motivate a person to get writing, while the last three will help you actually do it. While there are more complete books on writing a book, this section does a very good job of introducing the basics of what you need to know to get started.
Part two, Publisher, includes chapters eight through twenty-one. There is a lot of information here, and the authors recommend you skim these chapters and then return to them when you need the information. This is great advice because while everyone needs some of this information, such as the chapter on editing your book, not everyone needs all the information presented. For example, the authors cover various ways to get your self-published book into print. If you choose to use Createspace, one of the print-on-demand publishers, you wouldn’t need to read the section on Lightning Source as thoroughly. (Although I recommend reading it to determine which direction you want to go.)
There really is a lot of information here. They address making sure your book doesn’t look self-published; covers; distribution; selling through amazon, B&N, Apple, and others; converting files, alternate ways to sell direct to customers; author service companies; print-on-demand companies; uploading your book; pricing; audio and foreign language editions; various other issues and a chapter on navigating Amazon (because face it, they are the gorilla on the block when it comes to selling books and eBooks.)
The third part of the book, Entrepreneur, has eight chapters that focus on selling your books. These chapters address building your personal brand, platforms, social-media, and more. The last chapter is short and outlines what the authors did for this particular book. There are other books out there that contain more information on marketing books. In fact, while one chapter here is titled “How to Guerrilla-Market Your Book,” you can purchase “Guerrilla Marketing for Writers” by Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman, Maichael Larsen and David Hancock for a complete book on the topic. (And yes, I do recommend this book too.) With that said, the advice Kawasaki and Welch provide in these chapters of “APE” is very good advice and will get the beginning author, and even those with experience, to a higher level. The stuff on building your platform is a must, and I definitely learned some things I want to start implementing better than I have been.
The book also contains around four hundred links to other resources, as well as the resources at the book’s website. This is just another reason this book and related material is such a good reference for anyone wanting to self-publish to have handy.
I’ve had a book and DVDs published by a small traditional publisher, and I’ve self-published a number of books and DVDs. I wish I had this book when I first started. The information here is invaluable for anyone starting out. For those with a little experience like I’ve had, this book will make future projects less burdensome and higher quality. I strongly recommend this book to any author looking to journey down the self-publishing path. It will definitely make the journey a lot easier and more rewarding.
Reviewed by Alain Burrese, J.D., author of “Lost Conscience: A Ben Baker Sniper Novel”
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How to Publish When You Have A Million Twitter Followers,
It’s hard not to like Guy Kawasaki. I enjoyed reading APE. I enjoyed reading The Art of the Start and Enchantment. They made me feel good. He writes well, adopts a conversational tone like he’s your equal — like he’s right there with you, a friend struggling right along side you.
I like that he’s promised to continually update APE. I like his commitment to quality; the book reads well and the copy is clean. His books sure go down easy — a mixture of a little unique information, tons of generalities, a lot of platitudes and a healthy shot of “you can do it!” attitude simmering right beneath the surface.
The problem, then? He’s out of touch. Kawasaki produces a nice book. But it’s written from where he’s sitting. This is a man who has published numerous bestsellers, has over a million Twitter followers, has given a TED talk and enjoys lucrative speaking engagements at top-tier companies and universities. All of this is impressive.
That’s not where most self-published authors are coming from, though.
The first few chapters are spent on throat clearing and general padding such as:
Should You Write a Book?
–>Not a bad question to ask, but seems out of place given the audience — most people who pick this up have probably already started and want help on the back-end production process.
A Review of Traditional Publishing
An Introduction to Self-Publishing
–> Both of these rudimentary, stripped down publishing histories pale in comparison to what’s offered on Wikipedia. More to the point: they are totally unnecessary.
Tools — wherein he states you need a computer and a word processor. This takes about six or seven pages. Seriously. But he does take care to plug Evernote, a company he advises for. Nice.
How to Finance Your Book — he talks about Kickstarter and how Seth Godin raised a ludicrous amount of money on it, financing his own release many times over.
Seth Godin has one of the most trafficked blogs in the world. No one is going to fund an unknown indie author’s Kickstarter. Unless that author gets absurdly lucky and catches lightning in a bottle.
I wouldn’t hold your breath for such miracles.
Some might applaud Kawasaki for starting slow. I don’t mind the beginner’s overview — but if you don’t know that you need a computer to self-publish an eBook, then you’re probably not cut out for this business. The first 10 chapters could be condensed into one. As it stands, it takes about 30 minutes of reading until you’ll hit anything you can even apply. Which is the cover section.
At this point, he suggest crowd-sourcing along with a few designers he’s used. This is fine, but he totally misses out on Fiverr, eLance [e.g. low cost, decent quality options] or various well-known indie freelancers like Damonza (who is expensive, but seems downright cheap compared to some of Kawasaki’s recommendations).
Which is, really, the problem: he gives basically no useful advice on how to promote your book, and suggests that you need to spend thousands to create a professional product. You don’t.
APE sells based on his name recognition and his ridiculously large email/Twitter followings. It was basically a guaranteed money-maker for him, unless he went ape (geddit?) and spent a hundred grand. Kawasaki has no idea how to bootstrap a pro indie book, because he didn’t have to (ironic, given The Art of the Start’s emphasis on this). He didn’t have to sit down, as an unknown author, and figure out how to get noticed on Amazon, B&N, Kobo et al.
He hasn’t achieved his success in self-publishing. He hasn’t lived the hard slog — all the days seeing your book sell 0 copies and flounder on the Amazon ranks. Firing off countless emails to tiny blogs and getting zero responses. Anyone would be hard-pressed to muck up a book release if they had Kawasaki’s extended network. Hats off to him for building his brand, but HE DIDN’T DO IT VIA HIS SELF-PUBLISHING CAREER.
Most of the people reading this, however, will be looking to build an indie career. He’s never done it — therefore he can’t tell you how to do it. It’s very much akin to a famous children’s book author writing a book on how to write slasher screenplays…when their screenplay only got greenlit because of their brand. Their success wasn’t because of that work, but of something they did in the past. Yeah, Kawasaki’s a writer. Yeah, he’s a good businessman. But he doesn’t know jack about the intricacies and specifics of the indie game.
To be clear, this book doesn’t suffer because of his previous…
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