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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 13 July 2014
This book is a realistic and thorough "how-to" guide, which essentially takes budding authors step-by-step through the self-publishing process. It covers paper books as well as ebooks. The authors are both successful authors and entrepreneurs and APE is basically the guide they would have liked to have had when they moved into self-publishing. When I wrote "deserves the effort" I meant that there is a lot of content in this book and therefore most people are going to need to read it several times. Thankfully the writing itself is clear and completely understandable. I'd say this book was cheap at twice the price!
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on 6 April 2014
This book has really helped me in my effort to become an indie author. There is so much to figure out when you are trying to learn how to self-publish and this book has been one of my important guides to the process. I found out what to do, and what not to do, and I do wish I had read it earlier in my process of self-publishing, as I made some mistakes that could have been avoided from reading this book. It is packed with information, and I don't think that I am going to apply everything suggested in this book, but I have picked up many tips that I can use. I did mostly skip over the section about formatting, as this is a task that I decided to turn to an expert for.
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on 30 August 2014
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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on 11 March 2015
Very impressed. The most comprehensive self-publishing manual I've read. Even better that it is 'versioned', and updated. Only lacking in terms of some technical descriptions/hacks to get the most out of Kindle formatting.

This, along with the free resources on the site, is all you need you start publishing.
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on 31 January 2014
Most people think of publishing as one of two paths: the DIY self-publishing independent, or the big-publisher compromising 'sellout' route. This book advocates a Plan C in which you use both - starting with a self-publishing route to gain momentum, before getting the interest of a traditional publisher to take what you've done and run with it. It makes a lot of sense and it just one of the great things I took away from this - including practical tips on a good social media profile pic, great ways to engage with an audience and plenty more besides :) Highly recommended!
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on 11 August 2013
There is a lot of good information in this book. But there are also many unequivocal advocacies that a little bit of internet research easily undermines. Likewise, an over reliance on his personal experience as authoritative narrows the real relevance of some of the book toward people who have a similar profile of inclinations, goals, and capabilities. For example, he touts specific proprietary platforms and technologies in the absence of a clear explanation of what the underlying objectives are in preparing a text, and why those can be attained with different advantages and disadvantages in different ways. I think perhaps the book may be more generally useful about marketing and distributing ebooks than about making them.
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on 22 January 2013
I wish I'd had APE before setting out to write my own book. If I had, it would've saved me thousands of hours of work and seriously improved my book sales. Even now with a couple of books (and much pain) under my belt, it's a great source of information, direction and inspiration.

APE brings together all the ingredients you need to be a best-seller in a single volume. It covers everything you need to know with enough detail to get you underway.

APE bucks the trend of cynically splitting books on publishing into a number of very short ebooks that require you to buy 5 or 6 books and run the risk of starting in the wrong place!

It feels refreshing to have a book from two established best-selling authors that want to genuinely help their readers.

Last but not least, this book is a keeper. In fact, it's so good I had to get a paper copy from the US to go with my Kindle edition!
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on 13 April 2013
APE is a whistle stop tour of all the places you need to be aware of and/or visit at least once to take your words to the masses, by yourself. Before reading APE I had a vague idea of the writing and publishing landscape. Now APE'd, I have a much better understanding of the size and shape of the iceberg I was standing on before. It's big.

APE is pragmatic, clear and concise in delivering real actionable insights for authors. It says it like it is and equips you with a process for self-publishing. It's jammed packed with tools, tips and techniques to get your house in order and the means to get your book out there. It's hard work being a self-publisher but at least you'll know what you're getting yourself into.

I'd recommend this to anyone thinking of writing a book in the near future.
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