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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take Charge of your Inner APE
Electronic publishing has been the latest revolution in publishing, and it's another step in direction of democratizing and making more accessible all kinds of printed text. Unfortunately, despite many great strides forward, the actual publishing process still remains arcane and complex. However, over the past few years many new tools and services have sprung up that...
Published on 10 Dec 2012 by Dr. Bojan Tunguz

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but slanted at non-fiction
Aimed very much at non-fiction, so any fiction writers *note*. Having said which, it was still informative and I have put into practice some of what it suggested I do.
A good start point if, as myself, you're new to the whole circus.
I imagine in the end though, ones book will stand or fall on its own merits...
Published 11 months ago by Lava


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take Charge of your Inner APE, 10 Dec 2012
By 
Dr. Bojan Tunguz (Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Electronic publishing has been the latest revolution in publishing, and it's another step in direction of democratizing and making more accessible all kinds of printed text. Unfortunately, despite many great strides forward, the actual publishing process still remains arcane and complex. However, over the past few years many new tools and services have sprung up that greatly simplify electronic publishing. They make it more possible then ever before for authors to control the entire publishing process - from book's conception to the final distribution and marketing. Becoming a self-published author is now not only relatively easy to accomplish, but it has increasingly less of a stigma than in days past. There are several good resources for potential self-publishers, and "APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur - How to Publish a Book" is probably the most comprehensive and informative introduction to this subject that I've come across.

APE has come about out of Guy Kawasaki's frustration with traditional publishing. Even though he is a well known and influential public intellectual and author, Kawasaki decided to go the self-publishing route out of desire to have more control over the entire publishing process. The traditional publishing houses, despite their immense clout, are not the most flexible and up-to-date venues for getting your work written, published, and promoted in the way that you would like. Self-publishing can go a long way towards helping you achieve the goal of "artisan publishing," as the authors of APE like to refer to the kind of publishing that creates unique high-quality books.

Unlike many similar books, APE doesn't waste much time on philosophizing and rhapsodizing on the virtues of self-publishing. This is not a book filled with the authors' musings on the subject and rehashing of war stories. It's a no-nonsense book that is filled with straightforward, actionable and most current information and advice available. Having said that, each one of the chapters in the book could in principle be made into a book in its own right - there is just too much information out there and no single book will every be comprehensive enough to include everything that you as an author (or an aspiring APE) might wish for. The book is aimed at beginners, and can serve both as a textbook and a reference. I suggest that you read though it once cover to cover to get the ide of the big picture, but come later to individual chapters and topics as you go though your own publishing process.

APE makes many good points and suggestions, and it's impossible to list them all. Bellow you'll find my own main takeaways from each of the three main sections of the book.

*** Author ***

Authoring seems to be the easiest and most straightforward of the three parts, but it's here that most of us will probably need the most help. The reason for this is can be summed up with one simple word: copyediting. I've been aware of the importance of copyediting (as well as content editing) for the purposes of serious publishing, but APE really drove home the message that this is one professional service that you MUST spend some money on.

*** Publisher ***

This is probably the part of the book that most aspiring authors will be least familiar with. The kinds of services that are available out there for various aspects and approaches to publishing is staggering, and it's good idea to get some insight into the pros and cons of various options. APE does a great job of weaving though various options, and gives you an idea of what to look for depending on what your interests and aspirations are. I have used some of the online publishing services that are suggested in this book (I've self-published my Ph.D. thesis with CreateSpace) so can vouch that information about them is accurate and informative. Again, you will have to decide for yourself what works the best for you, but APE will help you make very informed decisions.

*** Entrepreneur ***

The term "entrepreneur" has come to mean many different things, but for the purposes of this book and self-publishing it primarily means that you and you alone are responsible for your book's marketing. Fortunately, thanks to various social media and online forums it's become easier than ever to launch a grassroots marketing campaign with various online influencers and trendsetters. The use of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ is a must. The book gives several useful tactics and ideas on how to approach potential reviewers. This is a good general advice, but like most of the material in APE an entire book could be written on how to approach individual reviewers. (I myself could write a whole chapter, if not a short book, on what to do and what not to do when approaching Amazon reviewers.)

*** General Points ***

The big point, and the one that APE explicitly makes, is that when it comes to publishing Amazon is king. You should familiarize yourself with Amazon and all its services and idiosyncrasies. You should almost definitely promote and maybe even publish your book though Amazon affiliated services and sites. This doesn't mean that you should avoid other options, but as an aspiring self-published author you cannot avoid Amazon. This point cannot be stressed strongly enough.

*** Few Other Points ***

I have some limited self-publishing experience, based on which I can make an assessment of the advice given in APE. About a year ago I decided to self-publish my Ph.D. thesis. A Ph.D. thesis is the kind of publication that, if you are lucky, your adviser might read and a few other defense committee members might leaf through. So I decided to give self-publishing a try. This was in a way a very low-risk venture, especially with the free or low-cost publishing options that are nowadays available. So I edited the PDF file using InDesign, uploaded it to CreateSpace, and voila, within a couple of weeks my masterpiece was available to the whole world through Amazon and several other online venues. (You can get your own copy [...].) Furthermore, for my own writing (including this review) I almost exclusively use Microsoft Word and I work on my MacBook Air. These are the platforms that APE strongly endorses, and I over the years I've come to the same conclusion: when it comes to serious writing, they are easily the best for the task.

The book includes an extensive glossary at the end that covers most of the publishing and technical terms and topic that were covered. An index would have been even more useful, but this is probably one of the trickier things to pull off. I would have also liked a separate bibliography or a list of useful sites and resources. Most of these are covered throughout the text, but having a single place where to look them up can be very useful.

Unfortunately one thing that I take away from APE is that it's still very hard, if not impossible, to self-publish scientific and technical e-books. It seems that e-book formatting is not very forgiving with even the simple tables, and can wreak havoc with more complicated mathematical formulas and diagrams. Furthermore, the small screen of most e-readers is not exactly conducive to reading of technical documents.

*** Conclusion ***

Once you get into the whole self-publishing process, you will probably need to consult many additional sites and resources. However, as single stepping stone for all of your further self-publishing needs and inquiries APE is probably as good of a resource as you will find. Tis is especially true if you consult the book's website and various online forums to which the authors are actively contributing. This is a 21st century guide for the 21st century publishing.

****** Review copy provided by the APE ******
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff!, 12 Dec 2012
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I bought Kawasaki and Welch's "How To" guide because I needed some advice about how to upgrade my woeful marketing skills. The book has definitely helped me and, for no extra cost, has shown me everything a "How To" guide ought to be.

After labouring over being an author and a publisher with novels and role-playing games I have evolved my own approach to the titular A (Author) and P (Publisher). So being given tips on "How To" by the authors lead me into situations where I felt vindicated and situations where I point blank disagreed with the advice given.

The book is formatted to within an inch of its life with a swish font, nice use of drop caps, stylish bullet lists. This book has had time and attention lavished upon it in terms of making it a product.

The prescription for doing this is that it will drive people nuts if you don't. This is because the display will go wappy on certain devices and you will know nothing about it as you only previewed it on your e-reader and the e-reader of a close personal friend. People will view your completed tome on all manner of inappropriate devices and you need to make sure that you have as much control as possible over the way it will display.

I permitted myself a smirk as I read this advice off the screen of my Galaxy Ace, which rendered all the wise words of quoted sources in thin columns about five characters wide. The fact is that fancy formatting is always going to break something somewhere, so I have always adopted a formatting lite approach to my books. I commit the sin (according to APE) of marking dialogue with "dumb" quotes because in some places "smart" quotes render as little diamonds with query marks embedded in them or hollow rectangles of character doom.

My approach to the smoothest possible read is to make the typography as unfussy as possible while still rendering it readable. Indented paragraphs, font sizes, italics, and ASCII characters only need apply. This is possibly because I write fiction and to me the words are the medium in which the story is contained. If people are reading Chicago Shadows thinking: Hey, I like the way he's starting each section with a weighty drop cap! then, dear reader, I have invoked the wrath of the fail whale.

If I was writing a text book maybe I would need some advanced typographical-fu. I know that in the case of the RPGs I wrestled long and hard with LibreOffice and its PDF exporter. So, the advice to publishers is largely dictated by the needs of the text being published. In other words: sometimes it's different strokes for different folks.

In addition the overview of being an author runs you through the process of deciding whether you should even write a book that did cause my eyebrows to raise. After all, if you didn't even know that you definitely should write a book then why would you pick up a guide telling you how to publish one? Circular, indeed.

I have to confess that I didn't read the Author section in any great depth. It is too late for me. Maybe this volume will help to save a few but I have my corner of Hell pre-booked and warming nicely.

Where APE came into its own for me was in the 'E' section, which stands for Entrepreneur. Essentially I have spent a long time learning to write a book and a long time learning to publish a book but I have, to date, spent no time learning how to market a book.

I am 100% positive that a marketing expert would tell me I didn't necessarily "need" to follow all of Kawasaki and Welch's advice in the Entrepreneur section, much as I would advise authors and publishers that they didn't need some of the advice in the other sections. But the point is I don't have a handy marketing expert to advise me and having a concrete list of things to do is already a great comfort.

Don't get me wrong, the authors have managed to break the bad news to me that the release of Chicago Shadows 1-3 has been handled "wrong". I have missed out several things I "should" have done prior to release. What is comforting is the fact that I now know this stuff even if I didn't before I released my heart-pounding gritty cop thriller trilogy. Following up on the tips that I can in APE means I am one step closer to being able to tell people about my books properly in future.

So, if you know all this stuff and are reading APE to feel vindicated you may find that you're not always in agreement with Kawasaki and Welch. If, on the other hand, you are clueless about any of it then APE will give you a good solid wedge of practical advice that will support you through the production of your own self-published marvel. That is all anyone can really ask of a solid "How To" guide.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look no further!, 15 Dec 2012
By 
Marque Pierre Sondergaard (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Want to write a book? Want people to read it?

This is it then.

Guy and Shawn have simply produced a brilliant book. Not only do they manage to relay (at times) fairly technical and conflicting information of the publishing world - but APE is such a delight. Guy's inimitable light and humorous style both makes his books entertaining page-turners as well as giving daunting topics a much more approachable feel.

Without going into great detail on the contents, I will say that the chapter on "Self-Publishing Issues", where all the potential mistakes the rookie self-publisher can make, is well worth the cover price alone.

Ever since discovering the magic of books, I have personally dreamt of writing and publishing my own. I leapt at APE, hoping it could prove to be a major stepping stone to fulfilling this goal. It certainly delivered. I feel fully equipped to confidently take on this challenge in the coming year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE book you need to read, 14 May 2013
This review is from: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book (Paperback)
I asked the authors for a review copy of this book after seeing one of the authors, Guy Kawasaki, give an online interview.

I've self-published a number of books and now I'm ready to take my work up a level with this book to hand.

I've read quite a few books on self-publishing and none of them have had as much detailed information as this one. It's full of links in all three sections, to point you to resources, tools, sites, other books, whatever you need to get you writing and to get your book "out there". Here are some of the other reasons why I loved this book:

- The summaries are not just "summaries". They add value. They include a little story, anecdote or just extra words of wisdom. This takes talent and some caring on the part of the authors.

- The book highlights that THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS TO WRITING A BOOK. As someone who cares about books, I shiver every time I see another "Write your book in two minutes" title.

- The message is clear: write because you want to write. That's it.

- If you are an Amazon fan, then you will love the chapter "How to Navigate Amazon".

- I loved the voice the authors gave the book, with Guy as the main voice and Shawn in the background. A great example on how to give your book a voice.

- There is an in-depth look of the traditional publishing process, so that you can make an informed decision about whether it is something for you. Word of warning: the authors are heavily biased towards self-publishing even though Kawasaki has had most of his books published by traditional publishers.

- The advice is specific and realistic.'"Lots of people tell me I'm a good writer" Let's dissect this. Exactly how many is "lots"?'

- You will find plenty of useful advice with many links to editing your book and finding an editor, book distribution, using print-on-demand, pricing your book, building an author platform, using social media... etc etc.

And on the last page - SPOILER ALERT, LOOK AWAY NOW - the best piece of advice of all:

"Thank you. Now go write a book!"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very helpful resource, 10 May 2013
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I've used this book extensively in preparing my own book and found it pitched at the right level. It does what it says on the cover.

I particularly like the broad reach of coverage that a self-publisher needs to consider: authoring, publishing and marketing. As a reference it really did open my eyes to several approaches, sites and apps. I found it helped confirm some of my own approaches in a non-stuffy treatment.

Finally, it was clear throughout that the authors practised what they preached with matters such as attributions, and the whole workflow through to marketing the finished article. If you expect to find a proven trail through the self-publishing jungle, you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for artisans and those interested in niche publishing, 9 May 2013
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This review is from: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book (Paperback)
Straight talking advice (pros and cons) for those thinking about self-publishing. This really helped to shift my thinking from traditional approaches to figuring out how I could go it alone. It helped me believe small-scale, meaningful artisan publishing could be possible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - holds no punches, 15 Jan 2013
By 
Kev Partner "Writer, geek, dad." (Alton, Hamshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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If only this had been released 6 months ago! I released my first ebook - Your Craft Business: A Step-by-Step Guide - back in October and it's done quite nicely thank you very much. However, many of the lessons I've learned the hard way were contained in this book and I don't doubt it would have done better from the start had I implemented just a fraction of them.

There is some very specific advice (for example about using a MacBook Air, Word and InDesign) that I don't necessarily agree with (I wrote my book on a desktop PC, in LibreOffice and DTPd using Serif PagePlus - cheapskate that I am) but overall this book is spot on. Far too many people write the book and believe that is the end of the process, as if others will find them amongst the other 400,000 Kindle books. APE offers a process for writing, publishing and marketing your book that will give it the best possible chance of success.

Unusually for a book on this subject, it also covers creating a printed book. I've made more money from paperback sales than ebook sales which surprised me until I read the section in this book that breaks down the statistics.

Overall, this is a must-read for self-publishers. It isn't reassuring if what you're looking for is an easy path to getting rich quick - it's an exercise in realism for someone who's prepared to put in the hard work to create a great product and then market the arse off it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great to see the focus on the entrepreneur, 13 Dec 2012
Most books on self-publishing focus on the publishing side of things, but this book does a great job of explaining the entrepreneurial angle as well, which many authors lack (and often have no desire to investigate!)

I particularly liked:
* "artisanal" publishing as reframing the self-publishing stigma as hand-made carefully, with love, instead of mass-produced
* the positive focus on self-publishers/ indie authors as empowered and steering their own ship, determining their own fate - that's the attitude of a start-up and an entrepreneur
* the open-ness and honesty around how hard it is to self-publish an excellent, quality product - this is not a get-rich-quick scheme
* practical tips for how authors can connect to readers - although I thought the focus was on non-fiction primarily (which the authors specialize in, so fair enough!)

I've been self-publishing for 4 years now and I still learned some things from this book, with 90 highlights in my Kindle copy. It's a great primer for newbies but also a refresher for those of us with some experience. There's always more to learn!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great overview of book publishing for beginners, 30 Aug 2014
By 
Thomas "Amscutellata" (Portlaoise, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Thanks Guy and Shawn. I am about to embark on a self-publishing project. I have already written a draft of my book in Word having started work on it two years ago. After reading your book I now know what I should do next - for example knowing the importance of copy-editing and cover design. Before reading your book I did not know all the steps involved in publishing and was confused what to do next. Your book has given me the confidence to take the next step forward - Thanks!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dire warnings of strife and hardship but made eminently do-able, 15 Dec 2012
By 
A. Shackcloth (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have just had the pleasure of reading the newly released book 'APE: How to Publish a Book', which sets out to acts as a, if not the, definitive guide book for all want-to-be self-publishers. Co-authored by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch the book covers pretty much everything you will need to be aware of when wanting to learn how to successfully self-publish a book.

APE is an acronym for Author - Publisher - Entrepreneur. The book is divided into three separate parts, one for each of these, as Guy believes that to be a successful self-publisher, a writer must not only be an author, but also become a publisher and an entrepreneur.

At over 340 pages, the book is quite hefty. However, since it is a vast subject area that it is attempting to cover, containing a huge range of necessary new skills, then a book needs to be hefty to do it justice.

Guy and Shawn have not tried to dumb down what is involved in a project as large as learning how to self-publish your own book. Nor have they attempted to make it sound easy, indeed they mention many times about daunting issues with editing, media formats, marketing, finance and the authors own commitment. Despite all these they have successfully trodden a difficult line and instead of scaring tentative self-publishers away from the idea, they have made a mammoth task and steep learning curve seem eminently do-able.

They have achieved this by combining easy-to-read explanations, real world examples, generous links to good on-line resources and a judicious dose of humour. The book lays out a clear route through all the tasks of writing, editing, cover design and production, all the way to pricing, selling and marketing.

The book is crammed full of good tips on how to make your publishing life very much easier, and blunt warnings where it is far better to seek (and pay for) expert advice rather than producing a poor performing and inferior product.
Having recommended that you employ a professional it then explains how you may obtain free funding for these services with some good suggestions (hat-tip to Guy) about crowdsourcing some or all of your initial editing, research (non-fiction) and cover design, as well as crowdfunding the necessary professional editing services.

Although this book contains a wealth of information, it is impossible to cover absolutely everything due to the vast amount of individual tasks that are actually required to self-publish a book.
Simply put, all the tasks that are required to author a book, publish a book, and entrepreneurial tasks required to gain sales is beyond a mere 300+ pages. However, having said that, APE gives you all the necessary knowledge to not undertake a folly, to not make hideous mistakes, to not waste a very significant part of your lifetime to only learn how not to do something. Of the rest, the parts it either doesn't cover or only covers lightly, you are directed to external sources and relevant web links are provided.
The book is also supported by the apethebook.com website, which has free additional templates, files, calculators and other useful resources.
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APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book by Shawn Welch (Paperback - 30 Dec 2012)
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