Book Review: “APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book”

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur--How to Publish a Book

“APE is 300 pages of step-by-step, tactical advice and practical inspiration. If you want a hype-filled, get-rich-quick book, you should look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you want a comprehensive and realistic guide to self-publishing, APE is the answer.” Amazon UK

Anyone interested in writing a book (fiction or non-fiction) needs to take note of what Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch have to say in this excellent new book: “APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book”. If nothing else, learn from their experiences.

Why am I reviewing a book about self-publishing? Well, publishing your own text is a phenomenon that I think, within academic circles, will grow as the process becomes easier and more people understand the ease and the benefits – and I don’t just mean the financial benefits either. This book from Guy and Shawn is just such a good place to start!

Whether you’re thinking of writing your own course text, writing an in-depth technical guide based on experience/training/teaching, or writing that novel that’s been on your mind for years, now is the time to seriously think about it.

The eBook, for that is what I have,  is 300+ pages of advice, information, details, anecdotal evidence, stories, links, quotes, tables, facts & figures, and entrepreneurial  ‘genius’ … all asking you the same question(s): are you ready to self-publish, do you have what it takes, and do you know your market? Re-read the title and you’ll understand this … “Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur”. You need to be all three if you are to make a reasonable attempt and (hopefully) success of your book idea.

With quotes like these, who could not want to read the book then go and write their own?

“Stop reading and answer this question: Will your book add value to people’s lives? This is a severe test, but if your answer is affirmative, there’s no doubt that you should write a book. ”

“For readers and writers, the democratization of publishing wrought good news and, typically, denial by traditional publishers. Readers gained access to more books at lower costs and now have the ability to make instant purchases, sync across devices, and carry thousands of titles on their tablets. Writers gained control of their own fate. They did not have to kowtow to publishers and then wait a year before their works hit bookstore shelves.”

The book is structured in such a way that you can easily read from start to finish or use as a reference, looking into the chapters in the well-defined three sections: “Author”, “Publisher”, and “Entrepreneur”.

So, what can you expect?

  • For Authors there is plenty of experience and advice on ‘should you write a book’ as well as information on the background to eBooks and the non-traditional/self-publishing ‘revolution’. More importantly there’s a whole chapter on ‘how to write your book’ and another on ‘how to finance your book’. The background to traditional publishing methods and new self-publishing is interesting and well balanced, and enough to inspire the thought of “why didn’t I start writing sooner?”
  • As Publisher you need to perform a role you don’t know, and probably don’t understand. Chapters on editing, book distribution, platforms and formats, etc. help you understand this stage.
  • To get the best results you also need to be an Entrepreneur, and this book has enough information to help even the most unlikely ‘entrepreneur’ discover their potential. With the ability to be in control of marketing, finance, content, cover design, etc., is a good thing, but it is also where many perish if it’s done badly.

For me the one questions still remains unanswered: “What format is best?” I guess it’s still unanswered simply because each book (textbook, fiction, biography, etc.)  has it’s own place, it has it’s own ‘style’ and it’s own readership, and not one format (EPUB, MOBI, hardback, paperback, etc) will work in every case, so you have to make up your own mind about which route to take, which royalty payment scheme works for you, etc., and go with it. Guy and Shawns book goes into detail about the different ‘services’ that are available and where you can sell: from the basic eBook / digital download through to on-demand printing for those times when a physical copy is what your audience wants. And that’s key to books book and the journey of self-publishing … “what your audience wants”.

Here are the important details you need if you’re interested in this:

Part of the resources available on the website is the Self-Publishing Intelligence Test – go on, take it see how you do? I got 19 out of 27 which seems a reasonable score, the feedback saying I’ve a good enough understanding to get started, but best to read the book to be better at it. Gotta love those guys ;-)

Here are some links in support (or not) of academic self-publishing:

I have a few books and texts in mind already, even my wife is thinking about some childrens books based on characters shes created for our own two boys, and have been toying with the idea of self-publishing for far too long now. The biggest problem I’ve encountered is procrastination, just plain and simple laziness or ‘fear’ of putting my ideas and thoughts in a format that will then invite purchasing (or downloads if I decide to produce it for free) and ‘comments’ and ridicule, or fame and fortune.

For more information on self-publishing you could do with reading a few of these resources: