I just finished reading APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist at Apple, and Shawn Welch, an app developer. I heard Guy give an inspirational talk many years ago at a national conference and it was memorable. He is still on the cutting edge of entrepreneurship. Shawn Welch is a skilled technician/developer providing the explanations of how to convert files to the varied specific formats required for electronic sales at Amazon, Apple, Nook, etc.
If you are writing a book or have written one, you may already know the frustrations of trying to find a publisher and an agent. Kawasaki has written more than a dozen books and has had many of them published by mainstream publishers. He explains why that is not the most viable option these days. Even major publishers often will not promote your book to get sales. Unless you are already a well-known name, your mainstream book can still languish without readers. And even if you are well known, publishers may not find your book to be a priority. In that case there is little you can do except promote it yourself.
Many writers have observed that the creative act of writing a book, designing the cover, and going to print can be more rewarding when they do it all themselves or at least oversee it all. Kawasaki refers to this as “artisanal” publishing, rather than self-publishing. He points out that writers such as Walt Whitman and John James Audubon have done this in the past. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that publishing became the province of large companies or corporations.
I have read half a dozen books about self-publishing this past year. I am aware that we learned much of this the hard way by trial and error. APE is the best of those I have read in terms of being readable, comprehensive and great advice. Guy’s portion was the most useful to me. I imagine that the technical advice from Shawn Welch on formatting and related matters is good, but we have preferred to contract with others to do the technical work. I am fine with the “Do it yourself” business when it comes to website design, merchant services and fulfillment, but the more technical application of Indesign software is still somewhat mystifying to me and not what I want to spend time learning. Others might enjoy this portion of the book.
The authors point out the varied ways to work with diverse electronic publishing platforms but land where I have landed. The Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) by Amazon is probably the right starting place for a person publishing her or his own E-book or printed book. You can upload your own Word file on the site and preview it to make certain it looks like what you expect. It can even have color photos, since many of the new E-reader devices can handle color. If you place your book in the KDP Select program, you must exclusively keep your e-book at Amazon and not place it with Apple or other options. They give you five free days every three months to give away your book as a promotion and this really builds reviews, if you promote the book well through the many sites that keep readers informed of free books.
Dan Poynter’s book, KDP Select: Navigating Kindle’s Freebie Day has also been helpful. It explains the ways that “free days” can be effective in putting your new book in front of lots of readers. He also explains how to get promotion on varied free day websites. Author Marketing Club has made that even easier. They provide one page with all of the best connections to having your free book day listed.
Even if you are fairly experienced at publishing your own book, you may read APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book and still garner some new ideas. It is rich with suggestions that will make you more successful as an author, publisher and entrepreneur. It is good to read as many resources as you can find, but I can highly recommend APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book.