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Review of APE: How to Publish a Book

Review of APE: How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch

When Sarah suggested reviewing an advanced copy of APE, I jumped at the chance. Like many of you, I’ve had ideas for ebooks and books, and even partly written some, but I’m daunted by the publishing process and I need information and guidance in order to actually begin to get something properly written and published. I found everything I need in APE and a very short, but not really very helpful, review from me would be something along the lines of “It’s an excellent read – buy it!”

Why APE?

APE stands for Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur – the three roles you need to know about and fill in order to self-publish your book. The book is divided into three main sections covering each of these areas, and is a very thorough and detailed guide to artisanal publishing that takes you through the whole self-publishing process from the very beginning, Should You Write a Book?, to marketing and selling your finished book. It doesn’t just cover the benefits of self-publishing; the potential problems are covered too so that authors can avoid many of the mistakes they might otherwise make without the guidance shared in this book.

APE is very well written and formatted, with useful illustrative images where needed, making it a pleasure to read. And although this is a co-authored book, it’s written in Guy Kawasaki’s usual engaging style. The book is based on the authors’ considerable experience and expertise and they have shared this generously and with great detail.

There are three stages of writing a book: starting, continuing, and finishing. They all require a combination of determination, desperation, and denial that all writers, at some stage, detest. Force yourself to make a little progress every day and, after a year or so, you’ll have a book and you’ll say, “that wasn’t so bad after all.”


This section helps you understand the process of writing a book, from your ‘elevator pitch’ to your outline; doing your research; ‘vomiting’ – writing as much as possible as quickly as possible before losing your train of thought – the editing process, and how to keep going when inspiration and motivation fails.

You’ll also learn about recommended tools for getting and being organized e.g. Evernote, Dropbox and YouSendIt; and tools for writing e.g. Microsoft Word and Scrivener.


This is the longest section of the book and is an extremely detailed guide to transforming your self-edited manuscript into a finished manuscript, and to producing a book that looks and feels as good as anything from a big-time, traditional publisher. Amongst other things, this section teaches you about:

  • content editing and copy editing
  • how to edit  – including the costs of professional editing and finding niche communities to help with editing on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and etc.

There are four methods to obtain both kinds of editing: enlisting friends, family, and coworkers; tapping niche communities; crowdsourcing;and hiring professionals. I do all four for every book! You can never get too much editing and feedback.

  • how to convert files to the formats of different ebook resellers
  • book covers
  • book distribution
  • selling through Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Google and Kobo
  • selling ebooks directly to readers
  • how to price your book
  • copyright issues
  • how to avoid getting ripped off


This section is basically marketing and sales, where you learn how to take your pet project and turn it onto a viable project.

Marketing and selling is something that many of us find difficult so the authors have included plenty of tips, from building an enchanting brand (some readers will recognize much of this from Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment); to choosing a platform (e.g. email, newsletter, website, blog, social media, social networks); to creating a social media profile; to pitching to bloggers and reviewers, and writing a good press release.


In my opinion, APE really is an excellent and very practical and detailed guide to self publishing; and if you already have a book written or partly written, or simply have an idea that you know will make a good book, it’s a must-read. I highly recommend it – it’s certainly motivated me to get those ideas out of my head and onto ‘paper’.

APE is available from tomorrow (10th December). Details below:

Title: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur–How to Publish a Book (ISBN 978-0-9885231-1-1)

Price: $10.28 or £6.42 Kindle ebook and

APE Website

APE community on Google+

Later this week we’ll be publishing a new interview with Guy Kawasaki so keep a look out for that 🙂

Angela Boothroyd

I'm a teacher and linguist who specializes in helping non-native English speakers speak English more fluently. I review books and interview authors for the Birds on the Blog Book Club - if you have any suggestions for reviews or interviews please let us know 🙂