Guy Kawasaki is Exhibit A for the power of personal branding. So when after writing best-sellers for traditional publishers he began to self-publish books, lots of people were likely to have taken a more favorable view of this burgeoning end of publishing. Now, along with co-author Shawn Welch, he has written a comprehensive guide to the process: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book. Guy, whom I also wrote about last July when we were at the SLA Annual Conference in Chicago for different reasons, is well-connected because he works hard at it. He produces quality products and wants to help others succeed. A key additional success factor is the positive force of his personality.
It’s not surprising that the book has drawn lots of favorable coverage. In particular, see recent posts by three business-oriented authors: Matthew E. May’s “Guy Kawasaki Removes The Middleman, Goes APE”; Debbie Weil’s “Top 10 Questions on APE: the new best-seller on self-publishing by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch”; and, on Forbes.com, Roger Dooley’s “How to Publish Your Book: Guy Kawasaki’s Blueprint.”
APE presents lots of options for self-publishing, yet it is also relevant and useful for authors working with traditional publishers. The tone is similar to Guy’s other books: friendly yet realistic. The process is presented in a clear-eyed way; he is open about the difficulties and pitfalls but stresses how doable it is and how successful it can be with the proper care, time and effort. I enjoyed the quotations and references to other books and his reminder that writing and publishing a book should have a high and noble purpose. A major takeaway is that for any book, self-published or not, the best situation is when the author’s and reader’s interests intersect.