The book is APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book, by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. It is available on Kindle for $9.99. The bottom line is: Get this book if any of the following apply to you:
- You have any interest whatsoever in publishing your own book, print or digital;
- You are an author who wants an overview of best practices in social marketing using the latest tools available, even if you already have a publisher; or
- You want to know what the future of publishing is looking like from the point of view of authors.
In APE, Kawasaki and Welch present about the greatest possible amount of useful information per page. Yet they do it in a style that makes you feel like you are sitting down with Guy over coffee. Much of the information presented is practical and even technical, but it is never dry because every bit is so directly relevant and applicable to the reader who wants to write and publish a book. Also, APE has witty quotes and quick anecdotes scattered throughout, making it nearly as fun as it is informative.
The primary premise of APE is that if you want to write a book, you may be best off publishing it yourself, especially since the authors are going to tell you just what you need to know to pull it off. The key sub-premise is that to pull it off, you will need to wear the hats of author, publisher, and entrepreneur. The book’s title is thus also its table of contents. The first section tells you how to write your book, how to be an author. The second section tells you how to produce and distribute your book, how to be a publisher. The third section tells you how to market your book, how to be an entrepreneur. By “entrepreneur,” they really mean “marketer,” but they probably couldn’t find a picture of an APM for the cover.
APE can be read from cover to cover as an inspirational book (while guiltlessly skimming some of the more specific detail) and then can be used as a reference that you can lean on as you actually go through the process of publishing a book. As an inspirational book, the authors make it clear that publishing your own book is hard work, but they also make you realize that you can do it, and you can do it well. And they include tons of great advice and pearls of wisdom throughout. As a reference book, APE feels comprehensive, but curated; that is, the authors have gathered what they feel are the best resources and methods to help you at every stage of your publishing journey, so you are not overwhelmed with every possible way to do something. In this way, the authors are giving you their advice all along the way and saving you from frustrating dead ends and inferior ways of doing things.
The “Entrepreneur” section of APE is actually a great primer in how to use social marketing to market your book. Most of this section is applicable even if you have a publisher; for that matter, most of it is applicable even if you are selling something besides a book. This section summarizes Kawasaki’s wisdom on social marketing in general—it is a great read and worth the price of admission on its own.
What APE cannot do for you (and does not claim it can): make you a good writer if you are a poor writer; tell you what to write about; make it easy to publish your own book (though it can make it easier); guarantee that you will get rich from your book. As long as you do not have any such unrealistic expectations, if you want to publish your own book or market your own book, you will love APE. It will give you the kick in the pants you need to get started, and it will be your constant companion all along the way.