Here is my review of the book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur–How to Publish a Book (ISBN 978-0-9885231-1-1) by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch.
I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of this new book and can say that it does deliver in bucket loads. It truly does cover the big 3’s of being Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur, if not in mind boggling detail. If ever I thought that self-publishing was possible and even fleetingly within reach, I now have it confirmed that it certainly is.
The Reading Audience
- The new writer, yet to be published and wondering which way to go – traditional publishing or self-publishing.
- The already published author, either through a bricks and mortar publisher or self-published.
- The self-published author who wants to improve the book’s marketability.
- To anyone who has a bricks and mortar publishing service – to know that the times, they are a-changing!
What I particularly like about APE
I savoured (UK English!) every word and was hooked from the start. I really enjoyed the use of quotes at the beginning of each chapter, such as “The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it” – Benjamin Disraeli. After reading the book cover to cover, I will now treasure it as a reference text for my current as well as future writing and publishing projects. This is indeed what Guy suggests, likening it to using The Chicago Manual of Style.
The Contents section provides a detailed outline of the book, with lots of practical information – most chapters start with ‘How to….’. The POV is unmistakably Guy’s. It leads me to assume that Shawn Welch’s authorship relates predominantly to the technical side of the enterprise, such as setting up the e-book files, albeit a most critical phase of producing an e-book!
APE is a book I would like to have with me whenever I travel, especially on longer overseas trips. Given that 300 pages of an e-book equal zero weight ( the only excess baggage will be my own! ) The perfect argument to having the e-book. The other great thing about APE’s e-book version is that it allows immediate access to over 400 hyperlinks on the go (I trust the authors to count!). If you have the print version, however, the authors provide a link that gives you access to them. (Please refer to the end of this article).
Love the humour (UK English)! This often saw me laugh out loud right from early on, together with the matter of fact and conversational style of writing, all of which helped me plough through the more complex, technical sections. A bit heavy going (unavoidably) in parts so I skimmed through these sections, knowing that the details are there as a reference for when I need it.
Make no mistake – APE is not for the half-hearted (or even faint hearted!) author/publisher. The reason is that it really does embody the essence of what it means to be an artisan – to love and be passionate about your craft: Quoting the authors, “Publishing is a parallel, not serial, process that requires simultaneous progress along multiple fronts”. Put simply, there is tons of work ahead!
The hard slog aside, APE leaves me with a sense of optimism, though definitely not a blind one. With time, effort, much patience and unleashing a bit (OK, a lot!) of the APE in you, your e-book and/or printed book, can certainly become a reality. Best of all, the e-book and print on demand methods make self-publishing more of an affordable option today.
Be cautioned: Apparently, the formatting for both the e-book as well as printed version of a fiction work such as novel, is fairly straight forward as compared to say, a non-fiction book filled with indenting and bullet points (which is why the Shawns of this world become extra precious!) Unless you write a book of your memoirs meant only for family and close friends, chances are you want the world to know about and buy, your book. APE provides countless strategies and tools to help you in all facets of writing right through to the marketing phase.
Minor suggestions for revisions
(Very minor but my eyes demand that I point this out) – The small font within the quadrants on pg 108 of the pdf copy, which relate to the ‘Distribution Channel decision matrix’, appears way too small for my ailing eyesight when viewed on my netbook, while the rest of the text was well enlarged.
While there is mention of juvenile fiction within the statistics quoted for e-books, it would be useful for an author of children’s books to have some strategies and tools specific to this genre. A great link to include is the Bologna Children’s Book Fair that I stumbled upon earlier this year: http://www.bolognachildrensbookfair.com/en/ (As a recent convert to writing for young people, I would love to be able to attend). An exciting new children’s book publishing tool will be unveiled at their next Fair in March 2013. (I digress)…I was sent the test beta version but darn it, I need a Mac to download it! (I know, I know, Guy – you do suggest (strongly!) that we buy a Macbook Air!)
A big thank you to Guy and Shawn for your enormously hard work that has short circuited this process for other authors. Also, for being so generous in sharing so much information. A book that will serve as a practical and key reference text for years to come. I have already put a few suggestions into place.
Well, now it’s off to garner a global internet following to rival Messiah status, especially on Google+ (then of-course, I will be catapulted into the New York Times best seller list – ok, I can dream!) then finally, to find myself a Shawn Welch clone!
APE’s Ship date: 12/10/12
Price: $9.99 for the Kindle ebook http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AGFU5VS
Bios, picture, and cover: http://apethebook.com/bookassets/
The APE Website: http://apethebook.com/
SPIT (Self-Publishing Intelligence test): http://electricpulp.com/guykawasaki/ape/
Downloads: http://apethebook.com/downloads/ (various files including a test for screening copyeditors, Word template, InDesign template, and contract for hiring consultants)
Note: To read a Kindle e-book, you don’t need to have a Kindle itself, you just need a Kindle App, free from Amazon so you can download it straight onto your PC. I tried it with my netbook – it works a charm. You even receive a few free e-books.
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