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APE, Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch: a must-read

December 10th, 2012 · No Comments · Book Review

APEAPE, Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch is an absolute must-read for anyone who wants to write a book and self-publish. It’s packed with information, advice, tips and resources.

Even if you still dream of finding the ideal agent and the most prestigious publisher on the planet, chances are that you will be ignored. So don’t waste your time: take your fate into your own hands and go for self-publishing. This book tells you how to make it right.

Is it easy? No…

Self-publishing is not easy — but certainly easier than waiting for miracles. Guy warns you: “I thought self-publishing would be easy: write in Microsoft Word, upload to Amazon, and cash checks.” Now, his book tells you what it actually takes, and what you need to do. It’s hard work, but you will make it if you are equipped. First, make sure that:

1) You want to become an author for the right reason — be of interest to real readers out in the wild (and not just to please yourself or your friends).

2) You understand that the self-publishing revolution is only starting: “only about 10% of publishing revenue comes from ebooks.” But that shouldn’t detract you, especially if you don’t stand a chance contributing to the 90% of the print books of the US publishing industry. Think of the opportunity: you are part of a new movement.

So start… Use the right tools. Read this book starting from page 1. Get Word. Create your template or leverage the work of others, such as Guy’s APE or Adam Shepherd’s Perfect Pages: Self Publishing with Microsoft Word. Don’t waste time doubting yourself and turn into a daring entrepreneur.

Is it possible? Yes. Start now!

Finance your book. You are not paid to write your book and it’s going to cost you some money. Not a fortune, but as in any business, check what you are ready to spend based on how many books you might be able to sell. Leverage existing organizations such as the Independent Book Publishers Association or crowdfund your efforts using Indiegogo, Unbound, Pubslush, or Kickstarter. Self-publishing is business with real upside potential. Yet, do not underestimate your costs and price your book accordingly — albeit reasonably.

Offer a clean product: Self-publishing requires a DIY mindset. This doesn’t mean that you will get away with an amateurish product: “Your goal is a book that looks and feels as good as any book from a big-time, traditional publisher [...] The whole point of self-publishing is to produce a book faster, better, and cheaper than a traditional publisher.” So take the time to understand the authors’ recommendations, from “how to convert a file” to leveraging a new trend of “Author Services.”

Think “Distribution:” The self-publishing ecosystem is fragmented and messy. Just as any entrepreneur, analyze what it is about and choose your distribution channel (eBook resellers or direct) based on your goals. Take some time to learn from others. The simplest path is Kindle Direct Publishing, but also look into Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, and Kobo; compare, and still consider selling directly to readers! Remember also that self-publishing doesn’t prevent you from using Print-on- Demand companies for printed versions. An important detail: Every format of a book needs a unique ISBN (although all ebook platforms count as one format).

Be smart: Throughout the book, Guy and Shawn give you the tools and advice you need successfully to self-publish your book. Look at them as your mentors. Listen to them. Do not overlook any chapter, even though you can read this book in whatever order you want. It’s part of your roadmap as an entrepreneur to keep your enthusiasm while remaining vigilant (and using common sense). In the end, success depends on you: market your book like crazy using any guerrilla tactics that come your way and build an enchanting brand: “the quality of your book and the quantity of your moxie are more important than the amount of money you’ve spent.”

Like Guy’s first book, The Macintosh Way, of which I had the privilege of being one of the very first readers, this book ”celebrates passion, competition, excellence, and hard work. The basic premise is that David can defeat Goliath, that a teenager can fly into Red Square, and that an ex-jewelry schlepper from Hawaii can eat pate with a French philosopher at Jacques Cagna in Paris.” Become a self-published author the “Macintosh Way,” which entails “doing the right thing and doing things right,” and ”competing on execution.” Become part of the APEcommunity: join the movement on Google+.

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