APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book
by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welsh (Nononina Press, 2012) http://apethebook.com/
The publishing industry is changing almost as fast as our technology these days. The birth of Amazon’s Kindle has revolutionized the way the world reads books. Today books are available instantly anywhere in the world for nominal sums. The publishing industry, that staid bastion of the well educated and powerful, is scrambling to adjust or die.
The good news for writers is that now they don’t have to get an agent to sell an editor, who in turn must sell an editorial board, let alone the marketing guys who eventually sell it to the brick and mortar bookstores around the country. Now the author who has the next bestseller need only hit the send key to have his or her brainchild available for all the world to read.
Ironically, that’s also the bad news.
Guy Kawasaki is the author of ten books and an early champion of Apple (see his book The Mackintosh Way). In 2011, he discovered his publisher could not fill an order for 500 copies of his New York Times bestseller, Enchantment. Frustrated with the limitations of traditional publishing, he published his next book What the Plus+ (about Facebook competitor Google+) and learned first-hand that self-publishing is a complex, confusing, and idiosyncratic process. As Steve Jobs said, “There must be a better way.”
The result is APE, a thorough, easy to read guide to anyone thinking of self publishing. Written with tech wizard and fellow author Shawn Welch, APE takes the writer through the basics of writing, publishing and then marketing their work, a process they call “artisanal publishing.”
Kawasaki can be faulted for pushing (he’s a super salesman at heart) the latest Apple products, but the 300 pages a full of tactical and practical instruction. Everything from getting the cover right, selling your book directly to readers or using author-service companies, it’s all here. To my delight there’s also a chapter on financing – yes, publishing costs money. Pricing, marketing, even creating audio and foreign language versions of your book; it’s all here.
People who want a hype-filled, get-rich-quick book should look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you want a comprehensive and realistic guide to self-publishing, APE is for you.