The world of publishing is changing. Granted, I believe that it’s changing for the better, but it is changing nonetheless. Traditional publishers are having to make room for independents in ways they never thought they would have to because of this marvel known as the internet and the freight train that is the “self-publishing revolution” we’re witnessing today. More so than ever, people are downloading eBooks and iBooks and many other forms of digital media that simply don’t go through the traditional distribution channels anymore. I see this as a huge win for those of us who want to get our message out in front of the world, but up until now have had no way of doing so.
The tough part, though, is learning just how to get started publishing your own materials. How do I publish a book? How do I market a book? How do I get my book on Amazon, iTunes, and other eBook retailers? These are all questions that potential self-publishers (like myself) have been asking for some time now. Lucky for us, there are a couple of guys that know a thing or two about this sort of thing, and they published a book on how to do it! The guys I’m referring to are none other than business guru and social media marvel Guy Kawasaki, and iOS developer/ninja Shawn Welch. I’ve been following both of these guys for a while now, and I’m amazed and inspired by what they create.
The book itself is called APE, which stands for Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur and it takes you step-by-step through everything you need to know about publishing your own book. This isn’t just your average “step one, step two, step three” kind of book though. APE is loaded with personal experiences and insight from both Guy and Shawn and really gives you a better understanding for the trials and tribulations that you can expect to encounter whilst you’re going through the self-publishing process. What really struck me though was the extras that came along with the book. The book website is full of useful information, articles, and downloads pertaining to the self-publishing process, and they even give you an online quiz to see if you’ve got what it takes to become an APE.
This was a very easy read at just under 400 pages. In fact, I knocked it out in less than 3 days. Guy’s no-nonsense approach to this book is great and he does a really good job of illustrating both the joys and pains of the whole process. I enjoyed getting both sides of the argument, personally. This allowed me to make an educated decision on whether or not I should even attempt to enter this game. Most people will just tell you that publishing book is super easy, and here’s how they did it. Shawn and Guy are real in their approach to explaining this process and it paints the perfect picture of what lies ahead of you if you choose to go down this road.
The first part of the book, called Author, focuses on the writing aspect of the process. This is where Kawasaki gives you a list of tools that you’ll need and a boat-load of valuable advice for writing your first book. I was really enchanted by these chapters because I had no idea so much work went into writing a book. My idea of writing was just that I would sit down, map it out, and the pound away on my keyboard for a few days. Guy quickly rids you of such notions and lets you know that this is an investment of both time and money that you need to be completely on board with. The best part about this section of the book is the fact that Guy both motivates you to start writing and then spells out in plain English how you can get started.
Part two is the Publisher portion of the book. This is where, initially, the book lost me a little bit. The authors do recommend that you skim through these and come back later for reference, and it’s easy to see why. At first glance, it’s almost like information overload, but everything you need to know about putting your book out there including pricing, file preparation, and a whole lot more. In addition to what’s in the book they also give you links and resources to further your knowledge on the publishing process which just adds to the value of this package.
Part three is the Entrepreneur section, and it’s by far the most fun to read. This is where they walk you through selling & marketing your book. I love the idea of creating something and then putting everything I have behind it to build a community around it, and that’s really what these guys have done with APE and what they teach you to do with your own books. Guy explains how to build your personal brand and cultivate a community around your book using social media platforms. I find this to be fascinating and I’m always looking for ways to improve this aspect of my business, so needless to say, I was all-ears during this portion of the book.
Overall, I’d say this is the definitive guide for anyone who is looking to learn all that they can about self-publishing in the modern era of the web. This book has well-sourced facts and a ton of first-hand knowledge from two very talented authors that will really help you learn how you should and shouldn’t publish your book.
Let’s face it, the traditional markets are drying up and we content creators need to know what the next step is. APE clears up a lot of myths and misconceptions about the publishing process that I had previously been carrying around, and it convinced me that while it might not be the easiest way to go about publishing a book, it is by far the best way to get your message out to people without worrying about the bureaucracy that is a traditional publishing house. Whether you’re thinking about writing a book or if you’ve already written one and you’re looking to just get it out there, APE will help you bring your dream to fruition. The only problem is that once you read this book, you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself if you don’t ever write & publish that first book! Therefore, I’m officially declaring 2013 as the “Year of the APE”.