APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur — How to Publish a Book — Book Review
TL;DR: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur — How to Publish a Book is a guide for anyone looking to self-publish their own book.
As an entrepreneur, one of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert in your field is to write a book. But getting the attention of an established publishing house these days is difficult, to say the least. It’s common for disgruntled writers and exasperated unpublished authors to think of giving up and calling it quits.
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur dispels the mystery and mechanics of self-publishing. It also demonstrates that when entrepreneurial authors come across hurdles, especially stonewalling from renowned publishers, they transform their misfortunes in to an advantage.
Instead, it teaches marketing leaders to spread content across untapped channels. For anybody who aspires to see their name in print, this book is a true winner, full of realistic, practical solutions, strategies and tips for self-publishing. In 2011, the publisher of Guy’s New York Times Bestseller, Enchantment, failed to comply with an order of 500 copies of its eBooks and Guy channeled his anger and frustration by launching this masterpiece seller. APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur is easily the most comprehensive, best organized, nuts-and-bolts-useful work on self-publishing. I would even say that it is a bible for aspiring writers! Here’s a breakdown of the inside wisdom of the book:
“First, rejection doesn’t necessarily mean your book isn’t good. Second, rejection doesn’t necessarily mean you should give up. Third, you may have more than one book in you, so you can use each book to build your customer base and get closer to success.” — Guy Kawasaki
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur empowers individuals with ground-breaking ideas to start their journey. According to Guy, “First, rejection doesn’t necessarily mean your book isn’t good. Second, rejection doesn’t necessarily mean you should give up. Third, you may have more than one book in you, so you can use each book to build your customer base and get closer to success.” APE lists a plethora of writers once rejected by publishers including, Stephen King, John Grisham, George Orwell and Jack Kerouac.
Guy emphasizes on the fact that if an author aspires to write as a means to an end, to gain richness and fame, to attract consulting and coaching business by establishing their éclat in their domain or thinking of immortalizing their innate motives in pen and ink, the end result would be a piece of scrap. Guy advices writers to write a book to evangelize a cause, to achieve therapeutic catharsis, add value to people’s lives or because they genuinely have something intellectual to express, such as an inspirational life story, a sudden spark of imagination or a pertinent piece of information which they don’t want to withhold from experts in their forte.
Never rush in to it to enhance your career or augment your bank account. Money should never be a driving force but a probable outcome! As Guy puts it, “A more realistic and healthier approach is to believe that making money is a possible outcome, but not the purpose, of writing a great book. May you be so fortunate as to experience both.” Most books sell only a few hundred copies but some fare far better. Guy’s first book sold only 5 copies per month, whereas his next book sold 3,000. Nevertheless, he claims to love both equally. He says “Even if no one reads your books, you can write for the sake of writing it”.
Using the best tools is also indispensable for procuring a plausible book. Although Kawasaki is a diehard Apple fan, he puts Microsoft Word as the top tool a self-publishing author should employ. He states that as Word is the industry’s standard, there is no getting away from it. He further recommends Adobe In-Design for designing the book layout, Evernote for taking notes, Dropbox for saving manuscript copies and YouSendIt for transmitting large manuscript files.
Many writers have simplistic grandiose visions of writing a book. Getting it published, however, is another matter. Many established publishers are eschewing fresh talent because they are not proven. In the book, Guy talks about the game changing art of “artisanal publishing” where writers who truly love their craft, control every process from scratch. The writers are no longer at the mercy of traditional publishers and are at liberty to take calculated risks. The self-publishing world has eradicated all barriers imposed by conventional publishing.
The imprint of a credited publisher was the proxy of quality in the era gone by. Now the benchmark of excellence is credited by how your book fares in terms of reviews and ratings on Amazon and sales. This books breaks down the publishing process in to discrete functions: agents, editors, editorial assistants, copyeditors, designers and publicists. It is indispensable to employ the services of a professional copy editor to work on your book before publishing it to avert a self-published look.
No matter how diligently a book was written, gleaning constructive criticism shows that there is always room for improvement in the final manuscript. Although we were told never to judge a book by its cover, unfortunately that’s what people are inclined towards. In the digital era, customers can’t pick up a book to read the back blurb. Therefore, it is prudent to find a freelance design professional to craft a public face for your book, which depicts its true character at a glance.
Ideally, the cover should be big, bright and simple so it stands out in a sea of thumbnails. If you employ CreateSpace for author-services, print-on-demand books, and Kindle distribution, you will need another partner, such as BookBaby, Lulu, or SmashWords, to cover the remaining channels and deal with the hassle of individual platforms. Make sure your content is compelling and contributive. The author needs to put himself through a rigorous process of evaluating the book through the eyes of a potential reader.
Guy tells you to honestly ask yourself “Why would somebody give a hoot about my book?”. If you come up with a heartfelt and gripping answer instead of a fabricated shenanigan, you story is worth striving for. To make the story better, Guy proposes actually obtaining feedback from your prospective audience, which he labels as crowd feedback. Although you might glean a host of brutally honest feedback, it also gives you an insight into how your story resonates with the readers.
APE is filled with excellent technical advice for the authors, such as that they need to create several file types of the book depending on where they chose to sell it, e.g. Amazon Kindle uses MOBI format, whereas, Apple iBookstore and Barnes & Noble’s use EPUB. Always avoid cute titles and instead look for keywords your audience would otherwise search for when looking up information in your domain. The book contains extensive information about file formatting, eBook conversion, and upload.
Guy also used Audio Book Creation Exchange (ACX) to hire voice talent and create an audio version of the book. The book also contains ample advice about how and when to register an ISBN for the book, as well as a glossary of every publishing term you will ever need to know.
How you choose to map out you marketing strategy could greatly impact the success of your book. To succeed as an author in the brave new world of self-publishing, you have two options: hustle and market your own book or “hire” someone else to help you hustle. As Guy puts it “Entrepreneuring is the most neglected and hardest of APE’s three roles because it involves marketing and sales, which are foreign concepts to some authors and despised by the rest.” Most writers are great at what they do, which is to produce a great manuscript, but marketing is not their cup of tea. Unfortunately, both go hand in hand!
Guy elucidates that when readers contemplate purchasing a book, they hardly wonder about the producer anymore. What truly matters is the reviews and ratings from other avid readers. Guy suggests extensive guerilla-marketing tactics, such as offering your book for free in exchange for reviews, reaching out to top readers on Amazon and optimizing your title to appear in the top search on Google and Amazon.
Proactively reach out to Amazon reviewers by examining the reviews of books in your genre to find reviewers with Hall of Fame, Top 50 Reviewers, or Voice Badges. Usually, these readers have a good follower base and are heard. Though you may not always the greatest of reviews, this is one of the best strategies to make your book visible amongst avid readers.
Blogging regularly is also a fascinating way to create brand awareness around your book and portray your expertise in your domain. When you glean an adequate fan following, people would be willing to hear more from you and opt for your book. There are a million more gems in the book that would be the saving grace to help many aspiring writers realize their dream!
Grab a copy of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur — How to Publish a Book on Amazon.
* All links are affiliate links
Originally published at Jose Casanova’s Thoughts.