Guy Kawasaki is a no-nonsense, down-to-earth writer. His 2013 book, written with Shawn Welch, doesn’t have a captivating title—APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—or an appealing cover (as you can see). Even so, it’s a goldmine of practical information on writing a book and getting it published. I started at the beginning, intending to read straight through. The writing style kept my attention, but soon I started skipping to later chapters. These promised to tell me how to write a book (I’m still learning), self-publish, sell to Amazon readers, build a personal brand, maximize the impact of social media, or use blogs to promote books.
The authors begin with questions about why anybody would write a book. They discuss the obvious goals of making an impact, sharing a story, or furthering a cause. They dismiss the fantasy that most books are likely to generate a lot of money or fame. Also, they acknowledge that sometimes we write for ourselves, with little expectation that we will ever publish our work. I am writing a book like that now.
Kawasaki and Welch believe that overall the best way to produce a book today is to go the self-publishing route. Consider this:
- The publishing industry is radically changing. Traditional publishing still has a role but a self-publishing revolution is in process. Because of this, authors should evaluate e-books, publishing on demand, and other newer trends before moving too far into the publishing process.
- Consistent with the subtitle of the book, writers should know about three areas. First is how to be a good author. Second concerns the intricacies of producing the book (especially if you are self-publishing and know little about things like editing, cover design, pricing, or dealing with Amazon). Third we need to understand marketing. Even with traditional publishers most marketing falls on the author.
- You may be a good writer with fame and great connections, but the whole world is not panting with anticipation for the opportunity to buy and read your book.
This is a realistic and potentially discouraging look at the realities of book publishing. Nobody asked for my endorsement but if you are passionate about writing and navigating the publishing process, then Kawasaki and Welch’s book could help. Please comment, especially if you are a writer.