Guy Kawasaki knows how to enchant, there’s no doubt about it. That’s why he was able to write a business book called “Enchantment” and get away with it. I managed to catch an online interview with him talking about his last book, APE, where he not only explained very clearly the advantages of self-publishing over publishing, but also highlighted that you should write a book because you want to write a book and not any other reason.
He got me. I had to read his book.
So I went to the APE the book’s website and found the area where they offered to send you a PDF copy in exchange for a review. So here I am, ready to tell you how much I loved the book. Of course I will also let the authors know (the book is co-authored with Shawn Welch), following my own advice from a previous post.
APE: Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur – the review.
****As an Author, I loved it.****
I’ve never been “properly” published and the only contact I’ve had with publishers was when I tried to get my translation of When Five Years Pass to market in 1998. I got great feedback from editors and theatres’ literary managers. However, they all said the same thing: Lorca, beyond his three tragedies, doesn’t really sell. And maybe they were right, as When Five Years Pass has indeed not sold very well (you can still buy it though!). So when self-publishing became a (cheap) reality, I decided to go for it and forget about traditional publishing.
Which is one of the reasons why I liked this book. It goes into some detail to explain the traditional publishing process, so that as an author you can make an informed decision of where you want to put your efforts. The detail continues when the authors lay out a series of writing tools, including the different word processors available.
It also has valuable advice about writing the book per se and my favourite quote has to be:
“Your first and most important reader is YOU.”
Enough to keep me motivated.
****As a Publisher, it made me re-think about how I’m writing my book.****
Now here is where you might notice that I don’t know much about publishing a book. I didn’t realise that there were two types of editing: content editing and copyediting.
As I have written my books, I have passed them around a few friendly hands to correct my spelling, grammar, tell me where I’d lost the plot and other general thoughts. What I hadn’t realised was that the job of the editor starts before the book is written and they can help you to structure your book. In fiction, they might even suggest scrapping a character or changing “your voice”.
Now, with three books in the writing, I’m taking my time to decide how the book should be structured, what kind of tone it should have etc etc. I even asked my friend Tomás to help me find the structure for one of them.
The book also has plenty of advice and tips to make the book as professional as possible.
“These ways of avoiding the “self-published” look are simple and easy, and they increase the attractiveness, professionalism and marketability of your book.”
****As an Entrepreneur, it’s made my life easier!****
The good thing about self-publishing is that you can spend your time writing your next book instead of trying to pitch your current one to an editor or agent. The bad thing about self-publishing is that because you don’t have an editor or an agent, you have to spend your writing time promoting your book.
This is where APE: Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur comes in sooo handy. As well as plenty of links to platforms where you can promote your book, it has some detailed advice on how to build your personal brand. I love the way it dissects “trust” (something I’m a bit obsessed with myself), “likeability” and “competence”. This way of promotion is not necessarily new (if you read enough blogs and books on using social media for your business you will be already very familiar with the concept) but here the concepts are explained beautifully, and illustrated by the story of how the authors met.
A word of warning: if you are reading this on a device connected to the internet, you will go MAD if you follow all the links the book contains. So make sure you make plenty of notes and don’t use the links as an excuse for putting off the real work!
That’s it. I have other thoughts, but I will leave them for my APE review on Amazon.
This is probably one of the longest and most detailed reviews I have ever written, but that is because this is one of the most detailed guides to self-publishing I have ever read. Even the summaries add value!
(PS If you want to buy the book, click on the image in this post and I will take a miniscule percentage of your Amazon purchase. That can be your way of letting me know you liked this post.)