Guy Kawasaki Hits a Home Run with His New Book, ‘APE’

APEBefore you say, “But I’m not especially fond of primates,” hang on. APE stands for Author-Publisher-Entrepreneur. And I am going out on a limb here when I say that this is one of the most honest, least hypey, overall best books I have read on self-publishing in a long time.

Kawasaki and his co-author Shawn Welch walk you through the steps of writing and publishing your own book with an even-handed, comprehensive and sequential approach. Instead of falling into the trap of “Write and Publish Your Book in 5 Days!,” they admit that it’s more work self-publishing because many more things can go wrong and it’s up to you to fix them.

This book focuses on e-publishing and, while ebooks are currently no more than 10 percent of the market, it is a quickly growing trend.

At the same time, the authors offer all the resources you will need to succeed. Throughout the book, you get cool tools, including easy-to-read charts that help you digest and apply the information quickly. And, because first-time authors are at the greatest risk of being taken advantage of by unscrupulous companies that promise them the world, the section on avoiding the scams is especially valuable.

A review of APE: Author-Publisher-Entrepreneur

I’m starting you off with this hilarious 4+-minute video, called So You Want to Write a Novel. But you can substitute the word “book” for every time “novel” is used because it applies to authors of all kinds. I guarantee this is worth 4 minutes of your time:

The three parts of APE:

Author

To me, a book is a message from the gods to mankind, or, if not, it should never be published at all.*

Aleister Crowley

This section is all about the actual writing process, starting with the right motive for writing a book. (Hint: It’s not to impress or make boatloads of money.) It ends with great advice on how to finance your book.

Publisher

A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down…If it is a good book, nothing can harm her. If it is a bad book, nothing can help her.*

Edna St. Vincent Millay

This second third of the book shows us how to turn a completed manuscript into a book. All the complexities are covered, from editing to pricing, selling and distributing. The authors’ focus on the importance of investing dollars in professional editing was refreshing. (It is a crucial area that is sometimes glossed over or skipped completely.)

Entrepreneur

Smart writers understand that writing is also a business. Really smart writers see themselves as entrepreneurs.

Barry Eisler

This is perhaps the most important section of all. Because as a self-publishing author, you have no marketing department to prop you up. It all rests on you. The authors share smart ways to “guerilla market” your book, to build your brand and author platform, to leverage the power of social media and more.

Now in describing APE, I won’t use the words awesome or amazing. Those I reserve for things like sunsets and the Grand Canyon. I will say, though, that this book, in my opinion is well worth the $9.99 price it’s going for on Amazon. (If you’d like, you can read more about APE here.)

What about you?

Do you still prefer print books or are you a digital reader?

Have you published or are you considering writing your own book?

Tell us what you think.

* Quotes taken from three of the chapter openings in APE.

* Disclaimer: I did not pay for this review copy, but I don’t write a review of a book  unless I really, really like it. 

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11 Comments

  1. Betsy Talbot December 13, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Hey, Judy. Thanks for the review – I’ve actually been in a cave doing rewrites for the second edition of one of our books and didn’t even know this was out. It is refreshing to see a primer that is not a “get rich quick” or “publish in 3 days” kind of thing. If you’re in it for the long haul, you have to treat writing like a business. Maybe it’s because we write nonfiction, but we have always had a very practical approach to writing, marketing, and selling our books and it shows in our results.

    Do you recommend this book for people already self-publishing, or do you think it is more for beginners?

    Reply

    • Judy Lee Dunn December 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

      Betsy,

      So great to hear from you! Not knowing what you already know (and it’s probably plenty), it’s hard to say. But this is the one of the most comprehensive resources I’ve seen to date.

      It starts out pretty basic (“Should You Write a Book?”, comparisons of traditional vs. self-publishing, etc. Then quickly proceeds to the publishing: everything from avoiding the self-published look, effective book covers and understanding distribution to how to sell through Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Google and Kobo, how to use print-on-demand companies and the best way to create audio and foreign language versions of your book.

      The “Entrepreneur” section is heavy on author platform building, including effective ways to promote with social media and how to pitch to bloggers and reviewers. I liked it that they walked readers through the APE process with this new book to show how it works.

      Can’t say if it’s too basic for you. I think you can see the entire table of contents and a piece of the book on Amazon before you buy. Hope this helps.

      Reply

  2. Isaac h. December 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Judy!

    APE sounds like an amazing introduction to the publishing industry. Thanks for the recommendation! One question, how did you find the “guerilla market” section.. does it include stuff on how to market on Amazon and Goodreads, and how to time the Amazon Kindle Direct feature so as to get the most interest in your book?

    Reply

    • Judy Lee Dunn December 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

      Isaac,

      Yes, he goes into lots of marketing tools and strategies and talks about Amazon, Goodreads, Amazon Kindle Direct, Author Central, Google Hangouts, to name just a few. The “Entrepreneur” section is really quite comprehensive. Just about every possible way to find readers. Hope this helps.

      Reply

  3. Sue Neal December 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    How refreshing – a book on publishing your own eBook that doesn’t guarantee you can write and publish it in two minutes flat.

    Thanks very much for your informative review. I’m considering self-publishing next year, so this is of great interest to me. I must admit, as a reader I’m still pretty old fashioned – I don’t possess an eReader and buy paper books or borrow them from the library – a regular dinosaur,

    Sue

    Reply

    • Judy Lee Dunn December 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      Sue,

      It’s been a process for me as a reader as well. I’d say at this point, I’m about 80 percent digital, ever since I got my Kindle. And living on this ferry-only island, I can just go online, order it and watch it land on my Kindle bookshelf within seconds. I really like that part of it!

      The neat part about Guy’s book is that he can update information easily since it’s in digital form. Like you, I respect his approach. Anyone who tells you it’s easy (writing and publishing a book) is lying. But it is so worth it. : )

      Reply

  4. Bruce Colthart December 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    I’ll have to check it out. But mostly, thanks for that video!

    Reply

    • Judy Lee Dunn December 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

      Hey, Bruce. Haven’t seen you in these parts for quite a while. Welcome back!

      And, yes, the video was just too funny to not include it here. It isn’t just novice writers who think that way. It’s all the people who will never write a book, but who think they could—in their spare time, in a month, in a week. But most of all, it’s serious writers who get the biggest kick out of this video.

      Reply

  5. Josh December 19, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    Hi Judy,

    It is a good thing I wasn’t drinking when I watched the video or I might have spit it out laughing. That was awesome.

    I appreciate the review. It sounds like it is worth the read. I still prefer the feel of a book in my hands but I like my Kindle Fire an awful lot too.

    Reply

    • Judy Lee Dunn December 20, 2012 at 8:45 am #

      Josh,

      Haha. That’s the best kind of laughter, when the liquid either comes out of your mouth or your nose. There was a skit on an old Saturday Night Live, don’t remember which actress, but she played a morning talk show host. Whenever a guest surprised her with a comment or said anything slightly amusing, she would spew coffee out of her mouth and all over the guest. It happened like five of six times in a 2-minute sketch. Funny stuff.

      Reply

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