Monday, December 10, 2012

APE - Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur

Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch have co-authored an ebook entitled APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book. I "beta tested" a draft of the book (for other pertinent disclosures about my involvement and compensation, see HERE), and therefore had some advance familiarity with the book's contents.

The book, of course, is about book publishing. I first became aware of Kawasaki's writing in the 1980s - The Macintosh Way was one of my three favorite books from that decade. Obviously, the climate of book publishing has changed in some significant ways since Kawasaki was an Apple evangelist. Desktop publishing was of course the rage at that time, but we were still over a decade away from online stores from which electronic "books" could be purchased.

After some introductory discussion of how traditional publishing works (and all of the people involved), Kawasaki and Welch present an alternative model that is now available thanks to the new technologies. However, as the title of the book suggests, the person who uses this new model needs to take on additional roles; in the older model, the publishing company itself would fulfill these.

The book is divided into three parts - author, publisher, entrepreneur. Beginning with the "author" section of the book, Kawasaki and Welch discuss topics such as the best word processor for an author to use (and why this particular word processor is preferable); ways to write the book (including "vomiting it out" at an early stage and refining later).

Meanwhile the author also has to work as a self-publisher. The "publisher" section of the book covers those topics that a traditional author doesn't have to worry about, but a self-published author does. How do you get an editor? (Kawasaki and Welch emphasize that you'll need an editor. Yes, you'll need an editor.) How do you create a self-published book that doesn't look like...a self-published book? What is the serial comma? What are your options for distributing your book? Once you've selected a distribution method, how do you sell your book? Detailed analyses of several book distribution and sales methods (for example, Smashwords) are presented.

Once the book is written and published, how do people find out about it? This is discussed in the "entrepreneur" section of the book. One topic is guerrilla marketing - for example, when Guy Kawasaki suggests to his beta testers that they may want to blog about the book. See how this works? And remember that t-shirt that I'll be receiving soon? The authors also discuss the term "personal brand" - and yes, I know that some of my readers hate the term, but Kawasaki and Welch talk about things such as trustworthiness and competence, which are important whether you use the "personal brand" buzzword or not. The use of social media is also discussed in detail.

The paragraphs above are but a brief summary of the material covered in the book - there are a total of 29 chapters that delve into the author, publisher, and entrepreneur roles. I have not self-published a book, so I can't say whether the material is truly comprehensive; however, as a prospective self-publisher, it contains a wealth of information that I can reference during the process.

Oh, and when Guy sent us beta testers an email encouraging us to blog about the book, he also sent us a link which can be used to purchase a copy on Amazon:
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