Review of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur December 11, 2012Posted by Jason in Writing.
Tags: Books, Marketing
Though Guy Kawasaki is a tech celebrity in his own right, he freely admits that there is always something to learn. Even so, I was surprised that his previous book, What the Plus!, was his first self-published work. Based on his experience, especially compared to those of his past conventionally-published books, he has written with co-author Shawn Welch APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book.
APE is structured as a how-to guide and reference book, and packed with a great deal of information. You can read the Author section any time for inspiration, and the Publisher and Entrepreneur sections for a dose of realism if you decide to really get serious about going out on your own. If you do, you’ll have it bookmarked at your right hand as you navigate the maze of editing, distribution, and ISBNs.
If you are already an aspiring author, you will have picked up much of the Author content in other places. It’s always nice to have everything assembled together however, and APE does a good job of keeping your head out of the clouds. Author covers the basics, including word processing tools, background of ebooks, and a great piece on the writing process. It’s also some of the more timeless advice, as the act of sitting down to write hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. What author hasn’t wondered why he’s continuing to abuse himself to produce his work of art?
Similarly, the third section, Entrepreneur, focuses on marketing your new book. Normally, a publicist handles the promotion for the author, who must then attend the book signings and conferences. When you’re on your own, marketing is one of the hardest parts of any business, unless you are in fact a marketer. Social media is Guy Kawasaki’s milieu, so it’s no surprise that he spends most of this section emphasizing the where, how, and why of establishing your online presence using Google+, Facebook, and several lesser-known sites. Again, much of the material can be scavenged from countless online sources, but Guy puts it all together and adds his personal insights about what works and what doesn’t.
This being a book about self-publishing, Publisher is the thickest of the three sections and digs in where many other sources go home. Though this will come at the cost of somewhat out-of-date material if you pick up the book in a couple of years, the concepts will be valid and there is some great guidance for anyone not already a part of the publishing community.
Publisher has great tips on editing, formatting, and converting your book for the various distributors like Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Google. They all have different formatting and DRM options, and you will need to consider the differences between ebooks and printed versions. Alternatively, you can sell ebooks directly to your customers, or use author-services companies, which provide copyediting, design, and distribution assistance. There are also print-on-demand services that allow for small volumes of books that you can use for promotions, personalized copies, or just family and friends (to show that you really are a successful author).
If you’re considering writing a book – even if you go the conventional route – APE is a valuable reference. It provides you with good insights into the publishing world and has some important cautions for any author. Most of all, it’s inspiring to know that you can take on a challenge like this. Despite the term “self-publishing”, it’s not a one-person endeavor. APE shows you how to find the help that you’ll need to get your book out into the light of day.
Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.