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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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on 15 December 2012
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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on 14 May 2013
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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VINE VOICEon 15 January 2013
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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on 13 December 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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on 10 May 2013
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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on 5 March 2013
Over the last few months I have published two books on Amazon. It was a huge learning experience. I downloaded several books on releasing books online before getting started. There are some good guides out there, however APE stands above all competition. It is by far the most complete book on book publishing.

In short, it's THE BOOK on publishing, and I have no doubt that in years to come the book will be referred to as the bible of self-publishing.

The book is divided into 29 chapters and spans over 400 pages. As the title suggests, the book is split into 3 sections: Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur. In the early chapters, they give a brief overview of how books are published; past and present. They also talk about writing tools and getting your book financed. I have used OpenOffice and LibreOffice in the past to create ebooks, however they strongly recommend everyone uses Microsoft Word as it's the de facto standard in the publishing world, and converting documents using other formats always creates problems.

The `Author' chapters are the heart of the book. You are walked through how to edit your book, design the cover, convert the book into appropriate formats and distribute the final product. Every step of self-publication is explained within these chapters, including the pros and cons of setting a high or low price. It really demystifies the whole process and shows you how straight forward it is.

In the last part of the book, they explain how you can effectively market your book online using social media, and pitching your book to high profile bloggers to build awareness of your book online. They point out that modern publishers are stuck in their ways and still catching up with how to market books online. As such, it's not worth spending money with these companies.

The book comes with a lot of useful resources for writers too, including the Word template the book was written on, an InDesign template and a contractor template. My latest book was written using the free Word template that they offer with the book. Most of the websites I looked at sold Word templates for around £20+, therefore the book paid for itself on the first day (they offer lots of other resources for authors too).

If you are thinking of releasing an ebook through your website, or through a store such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble or iBookstore; I highly recommend you get this book. I have read dozens of articles on self-publication over the last few months, however all the information was spread across the web and seemed incomplete. To have everything you need in one book is a great time saver.

I encourage you to check out the preview as the first 3 or 4 chapters can be viewed for free. The book will introduce you to a lot of new concepts in book publishing and reinforce the things you already know. If you want to take your book writing seriously, buy this book. You won't be disappointed.

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on 10 February 2013
The energy for revolution is with us, all across the world. A chip of it has lodged in me. Fed up with traditional publishing - my first book's publication having been a less than satisfactory experience - I recently decided to take up a colleague's offer to publish my next two books in electronic form via the upcoming publishing arm of his established Web business.

Right on cue (were you guys spying on me?) an email with a free review copy of this book popped into my box. It is a real gift to any writer embarking on the e-journey. As the authors put it:

" Ebooks and tablets are rearranging the publishing landscape...."

This being the case, writers of all levels of experience need help and guidance in navigating territory with which Kawasaki and Welch are thoroughly familiar. They have brought extensive experience together with considerable expertise, honesty, humour, clarity and practicality, pointing out that
"...a successful self-publisher must fill three roles: Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur--or APE....."

Having done so, they spend twenty-nine easy to read, well laid out chapters covering with great thoroughness and at times brutal honesty (don't flinch! Trust me, we need this at times) the processes of writing a book, editing it (their advice: don't do it yourself alone. Get objective, quality outside help), financing it, distributing, selling, pricing, marketing, and promoting. No stone, as far as I can see, is left unturned.

I followed their advice by doing a fairly quick initial read-through. I then cut and pasted a brief ten-page summary to print out, so that I could see at a glance which chapters are most relevant for future perusal. My colleague will be dealing with the more technical aspects of publishing my books - thank goodness! I would rather boil my brain in turpentine than have anything to do with page dimensions, etc....

The section most immediately useful to me personally is the Entrepreneur section. Although I have happily been running a blog for more than four years, and can see that a wide range of articles continues to be read and commented on favourably, nevertheless I am not much good at bothering to do a great deal of interacting on social media. I know that with a bit more effort I could build a much bigger platform. So - can Kawasaki and Welch turn me into a more socially interactive person than my temperament seems to dictate? That remains to be seen. But they have certainly provided all that is required by way of strong impetus to do so. I cannot in fairness ask any more than that.

And I do LOVE the quotes with which they head up every chapter. The final chapter's quote is this:

"When you've worked hard and done well and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you." Michelle Obama, at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

This is a first rate book which enables and encourages writers to walk through the doorway of opportunity provided by the e-revolution which is already upon us. Do acquire it for your virtual bookshelf!
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on 6 January 2013
Check out APE if you're looking for a clear and well thought out guide to self-publishing. It offers some excellent best practice tips for the three stages that you'll need to go through if you want to self-publish a book: author, publisher, and entrepreneur.

The Author section is not a "how to write a book" guide - it's more of a "why to write a book" guide. It won't give you loads of tips on the craft of writing, but it will make you think long and hard about why you might want to write and what you want to get out of it. In short, don't self-publish a book if you want to get rich! However, Guy makes clear how emotionally challenging and rewarding being an author can be and this encouragement more than makes up for the hard dose of realism about the financial rewards.

The Publisher section is excellent, covering reviewing/editing and then formatting and publishing your book for all the main e-book formats or print-on-demand services. Some of this section is quite technical, but justifiably so as formatting is incredibly important if you want your book to look as good as it possibly can on a range of devices. I assume most people will skim read the formatting information the first time, and then go back to the relevant chapter when they're actually formatting their manuscript.

The Entrepreneur section was the bit of APE that I found most interesting and useful. It deals with all the stuff you need to do if you want to get your book seen, reviewed, and bought. There are some great little tips in there on effective blurb-writing, and how to try to get your book reviewed.

If you are at all interested in self-publishing a book then I would heartily recommend APE. I wish it had been out when I was writing and publishing my first book. Even with the hard lessons I learned during that process, APE will come in incredibly handy for my future efforts.
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on 1 October 2013
I bought the kindle version of this book, even if I got a free pdf copy from the author, Guy Kawasaki. And that's already a proof of the quality of the book. Besides, sharing a free copy of the book with popular influencers is just one of the many tactics explained by the author to promote your e-book.

Still this is not a book about marketing alone. Guy Kawasaki explain every aspect of the e-book publishing, from picking the right format for every distribution channel (hint: Amazon is the biggest but not the only one), to purchasing the isbn number, appoint an agent (or not, if you don't need him), and much more.

There are several resources to publish an ebook, and I have purchased a couple of them here on Amazon. However, this book (APE) is a sort of encyclopaedia on the subject. This year, if you can purchase only one book, pick this one. If you can purchase more than a book, pitch this one and another one.

Many of the chapters are aimed to beginners, and explained trough a step by step process. However, the book could be a good read for veteran publishers as well. enjoy!
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