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.”
-Seth Godin
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 since the last update of APE please visit apethebook.com/updates. This is version 1.2 (Baldacci).

In 2011 the publisher of one of my books, Enchantment, could not fill an order for 500 ebook copies of the book. Because of this experience, I self-published my next book, What the Plus!, and learned first-hand that self-publishing is a complex, confusing, and idiosyncratic process. As Steve Jobs said, “There must be a better way.”

With Shawn Welch, a tech wizard, I wrote APE to help people take control of their writing careers. APE’s thesis is powerful yet simple: filling the roles of Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur yields results that rival traditional publishing. We call this “artisanal publishing”–that is, when writers who love their craft control the publishing process and produce high-quality books.

APE is 300 pages of step-by-step, tactical advice and practical inspiration. If you want a hype-filled, get-rich-quick book, you should look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you want a comprehensive and realistic guide to self-publishing, APE is the answer.

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3 Responses to APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book

  1. Chanticleer Book Reviews

    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.

  2. Alain B. Burrese "Author, Speaker, Mediator, ...

    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”

  3. J. Dougherty Jr. "Jim Dougherty"

    An inspiring resource for writers Google Plus may have inadvertently changed publishing forever.The self-publishing process for Guy Kawasaki’s What the Plus? created such a disruption in Kawasaki’s life that he wrote his newest book, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book to share all of the lessons that he learned by self-publishing. It’s probably one of the most important books in recent memory for aspiring writers or frustrated scribes.The beauty of APE is that Guy Kawasaki doesn’t show people how to self-publish a book. He gives them the tools and insight to publish a good book. Being an occasional reader of printed schizophrenia, I appreciate the distinction.I’m skeptical of pretty much everything and I had few expectations of APE going in. I read What the Plus? and appreciated Kawasaki’s enthusiasm despite the fact he might have been overstating the case for G+ a little. I enjoyed Enchantment very much, though it left me with the impression that Kawasaki was a rose-colored glasses sort of guy. When I was offered an advance copy of the APE book, I expected a feel-good collection of stories.When I learned that the topic of the book was self-publishing, my expectations plummeted. After all, how would the guy whose advocacy for the concept of “enchantment” tackle self-publishing? Would he write a book of affirmations about self-publishing and tenacity, maybe including an inspiring story about how some ambitious blogger compiled all of her posts into a best-selling book (which is a colossally bad idea by the way). APE could have been a rah-rah book to further the blogosphere’s self-esteem movement. But thankfully this isn’t THAT book. Quite the contrary, actually.It turns out Guy Kawasaki is a pragmatist. Not only that, he’s willing to call you out on your stuff. You may want to write a published book for profit, esteem or to prestige – and G.K. writes about how ill-conceived those motivations are. An affirmation by a publishing house isn’t necessary if you have a message that people want to hear. And self-publishing gives authors agility and freedom that traditional publishers cannot mimic.He is brutally honest about the corporate publishing process, and uses author-publisher-entrepreneur as a framework to describe (in astonishing detail) the painstaking work that must be done to bring a big idea to fruition. You need an editor. You need a copy-editor You need a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style. Not only did I learn an extraordinary amount about publishing and writing, but as a begrudging reader of haphazardly written books I frequently nodded “Amen.”And if you still doubt G.K.’s pragmatism, he even advises using Microsoft Word to write your manuscript. Quite an admission from the former Chief Evangelist for Apple.There are people out there who have interesting and insightful things to share, but because of the traditional publishing machinery never try. When I think of how excited I get to read books by authors like Ellen Bremen, Ted Rubin, and Crystal Washington, I can’t help but wonder how exciting it would be to have an outlet for other people to create “artisanal” books of similar quality and substance. I also can’t help but think about how many valuable ideas and insights go to waste because of the reliance on traditional publishers to validate long-form content.Maybe I’m the one wearing rose-colored glasses, but Guy Kawasaki’s Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur made me realize how accessible the technology for self-publishing is. As someone who publishes short-form essays by Beth McShane, Erin Feldman, Margie Clayman and Pete Trapasso every month, the thought that they could elaborate their insights for mass-consumption is pretty special.APE may not change the world. But it’s honest, it’s inspiring and it’s accessible. If the world were a meritocracy, it would be Guy Kawasaki’s best selling book and it would spawn a litany of great books written by people who otherwise would have never considered writing them.

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