Having recently read What the Plus! by Guy Kawasaki, when I saw the offer to review his new book, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book , I thought to myself “why not?” I was thinking of buying a different book by a lesser known author about self publishing ebooks on Amazon, so I reckon, to see what this book is about. I’ll surely compare notes in these 2 books since Guy has written 12 books and have done well as an author.
He has some very good advice too. Among them, before writing a new book, create an outline, read and research as many books in your related topic. Even though I’ve not written a book, I can see where this is helpful. Instead of thinking competitively, your book ought to fill in the gaps that were left from other authors.
Having read most of this book, here are my thoughts.
Who should consider this new book? Any first time author or even previous author who wants to have a better idea for their next book on how to write, publish and market their book. If you have written books before but they didn’t get very far as number of sales in concerned, then it is also a good read. Besides marketing which is important, you do really need a good and interesting book.
If you have good stuff to share, a book plus a host of other things that you do, has the potential to get you far financially.
Why should you get this book? This book covers a lot of ground. From a mile high big picture view, down to the nitty gritty 10 foot view of writing a book. Included in the early chapters is asking yourself why you should even write a book in the first place. Inside there are both good and bad reasons to write a book.
This book is divided into 3 parts. This equates the 3 roles that anyone who want to publish a book must play in order to publish a book i.e. the author, the publisher and the entrepreneur. It talks in detail what you need to do in the different aspects and how to go about finding the right resources in order to give your book a good chance of success. By success, I mean by reaching to and helping as many people as possible with your ideas.
Before we go further, let’s talks about money first since this is a blog on personal finance. I’m sure you have read that many authors say they don’t really earn that much royalty from writing a book. The authors in APE enforces this point however a successful book can open you to other financial opportunities. Let’s be clear about one thing, making money should not be your primary motivation for writing a book.
In the first section (Author) the section about writing a book, talks about the tools, traditional publishing, self publishing and off course financing yourself while you write as well as the book when you want to publish it. Included in the 2 section are cost estimates for copywriters, artwork, cover etc.
The advise given in the book is really useful for any first time author. From small details like the type of word processor to use and not to use, something which most first time author think is not important. That is until you send it to publish either to traditional publisher or even self publish. How to format your text, so that when you edit it later you won’t need to pull your hair out. I’m serious. Details that you don’t think that matters like double spacing, creating all sorts of weird style on your document will come back to haunt you edit. I’ve read first time authors spend days removing things like tabs and spacing, so I can vouch that it is no small matter.
In this section, the book covers distribution, publishing, putting the polish into your book, where can sell an reach your audience. While many people will think one or the other (ebook vs traditional), Guy and Shawn talks about the pros and cons of each. Better If you can do both.
In here, Guy talks about having his previous book edited, proofed through crowd sourcing before letting professional editors have a final go at it. It will save you from factual errors, find spelling and grammatical errors and get ideas to support your point, not to mention save you a bit of money for editors.
How to make sure your book have the greatest chance of success – getting a properly designed cover, how to make your book polished and not a poorly written self publish book. All these thing matters and can make or break your book sales.
Then, there is also a chapter about publishing on Amazon, the ins and outs. Amazon is great. It makes buying so easy in fact I accidentally ordered my first ebook that way. I could ask for a refund but that’s another story.
The last section deals with the person writing a book as an entrepreneur. Yes, you really need to be an entrepreneur to hustle and market your book. In the past, the publisher takes care of that somewhat (not really) but in the era of social media, really, there are good ideas and tips how to guerrilla market your book i.e. market your book with minimal amounts of money.
In the section, you can learn how to create an online profile, how to engage and pitch bloggers. The task of writing a book is not something you do in sequence but in parallel. You need to market your book from the onset and you do so by building a suitable platform. There are multiple platforms i.e. from good old email, blogs, Youtube, Facebook etc. I’d say the this book just introduces these platform but did not go deeper on it. Whole books have been written on social media marketing.
I guess, many people think writing a book is a difficult endeavor and it is true. However, most people don’t think it will be that difficult to deal with the ins and outs of the publishing industry.
With changes happening to this industry and more author or author wannabes, the book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch is really a helpful guide. Having never published a book, I’d say APE gives a good insight to the world of publishing. At the very least, you won’t start from zero and stumble your way through the publishing minefield .
Guy Kawasaki is great at marketing being an Apple evangelist back in the days when only a small minority recognized the potential of the Apple platform.
Shawn Welch – is the author of From Idea to App, iOS 5 Core Frameworks, and iOS 6 for Developers as well as the developer of several iOS apps. He worked as a senior media-editor for Pearson Education.
P.S. having read most of the book, I’d have to agree with what Guy Kawasaki wrote in the Preface of this book. “Self-publishing is akin to launching a start-up. Entrepreneurs must create a product, test it, raise money, recruit talent, and find customers at the same time.” He has advised and being involved in many start-ups. He knows what he is talking about.
If you are an aspiring author, I think this is good book to read.