APE – Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – A Must Have Book for Self-Publishing

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self-publishingLearn what you need to know about self-publishing.

I should have known I’d like Guy Kawasaki’s book, APE – Author | Publisher | Entrepreneur.  And yes, he wrote it with Shawn Welch.

Like many, I know Guy, or feel like I do through his tweets, his Holy Kaw site which links to almost everything and through another big book,  Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.  If you’re an Apple fan you may recognize him as a truly successful evanglist for that company.

APE is, step by step, Guy’s experience with writing and self-publishing. The emphasis is on self-publishing, which he and Shawn call Artisanal Publishing a lovely term that makes me think of warm, yeasty bread.

That’s exactly the kind of care the two have put into this book. It’s a great, even grand textbook on self-publishing with all its joys and all it’s problem. Plus it’s a fun read. At least most of is. They have little reverence for publishing which is downright refreshing.

It’s a big book, is almost 400 pages according to the book’s website – I first read it on my Kindle which doesn’t give me page numbers.

The only problem I have with the book is the number of step-by-step instructions on how to prepare and upload manuscript to various publisher’s sites. This is incredibly boring when you’re reading the book (and easy to skip until you need it) and hugely helpful when you’re actually trying to get your manuscript loaded. Or, it may be completely out of date by the time you read APE. Skip that stuff and inhale the rest is my suggestion.

But there’s plenty of interesting and juicy stiff even if you skip every single technical detail.

The realities of self-publishing

They start with a question few dare to ask: Should you write a book? Carefully read, this chapter alone can save you from all sorts of agony. A truth is not everyone who thinks they should write a book really should.

The chapter on traditional publishing is almost as good as the one Peter Bowerman wrote in the Well-Fed Self-Publisher and is a bit more current.

Kawasaki and Welch bring the reality of self-publishing clearly to the fore. It’s true almost anyone who can get a book manuscript more or less together can afford to get it printed. They make it clear that even if you write a great book and get it published and easy to distribute, your book can be a miserable financial failure if you don’t understand what’s needed regarding marketing. They carefully and fairly explain how the sales pitches of many of the self-publishing service companies are darn close to scams.

Far from naysayers, however, the two tell you exactly what to look for and how to avoid problems. They then go on to outline what you’ll need to do to market your self-published book. Their advice on using social media and contacting bloggers and even crowdsourcing is actually pretty amazing. If you’re like me, some of this you will recognize; much of it will be at least a new approach if not new information altogether.

Tools offered

.Not content to tell it all in their book, the book’s website has tools and downloads you can use. That’s where I got the picture of the cover of the book. And I’ll be using their calculators and templates as I develop at least a couple more self-published books. I’ll also lean heavily on their marketing advice.

This is absolutely the book I wish I’d had when I first got into self-publishing and will act as my guide from here on out.

If you’re even thinking about writing a book you should buy this one a paper version you can make notes in and dog ear certain pages.  It will not only tell you what you’re getting into with both trade and self-publishing. It will also almost take you by the hand and teach you how to do it well.

(In the interest of full disclosure, the links to the books here are affiliate links which means I get a commission if you buy through those links.)

What do you say? Are you considering self-publishing? What questions do you have? Ask them in comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.


Anne Wayman, Ghostwriter and Writing Coach

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John Soares June 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Very interesting review Anne. You are right: not everyone should put out a book. There is so much work involved in writing, editing, publishing, and marketing. People need to be very clear on why they are publishing and what they are willing to do to make it successful.


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