Book Review: APE – How to publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki

If you are thinking about publishing your own book without a traditional publisher, this book is for you.

Author Publisher Entrepeneur, self publishing book by Guy Kawasaki

Before we get to the content of the book, it is important to know what the background of its author, Guy Kawasaki, is.

Author Publisher Entrepeneur, self publishing book by Guy Kawasaki

About Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki was one of the guys who worked with Steve Jobs while he was at Apple, developing the Mac. He says that he was the chief evangelist for their department at that time and it shows, if you watch one of his speeches on youtube: He really knows how to capture an audience. What an evangelist is? Mainly somebody who tells others, how cool a toy, a gimmick, a product or – in his case – an apple computer is. 🙂

Guy Kawasaki also wrote a lot of books about entrepeneurship, like The Art of the Start and What the plus!

Author Publisher Entrepeneur, self publishing book by Guy Kawasaki

Author Publisher Entrepeneur, self publishing book by Guy Kawasaki

In APE, Kawasaki writes that once a client wanted to order five hundred copies of one of his books and give it away to his employees as a gift. Kawasaki’s publisher was unable to deliver and so Kawasaki had to order five hundred gift cards, typing in the gift codes of each of one of them. He writes that this was the moment when he decided that there had to be a better way of publishing and distributing a book. And this is how the idea for APE was born. Surely, you might think now something like:

Hey, so that’s a book about how a guy publishes his book?

Ehm, yes, you are right.
But by doing so he gives a lot of very helpful advice.

Author Publisher Entrepeneur, self publishing book by Guy Kawasaki

Book Design Advice

Kawasaki looks at the self publishing process from a very technical point of view. This is no wonder, considering his background. But that is not a bad thing. In this book, Kawasaki writes about how to format a book, including things like:

  • which margins he chose,
  • how to place the book titles you see on every page,
  • how to start a new chapter (layout-wise),
  • a ton of other little details (like book page numbers for example)
  • and how to avoid the self publishing look – meaning: which mistakes you should avoid

He also writes about how to structure the editing process:

  • the importance of pre-publish reviewers,
  • what an editor does,
  • why a line editor is important for the reading experience,
  • and how immanent proof reading, or copy editing is.

If you are a returning reader to my blog and this sounds familiar to you, you are right. I followed this advice when I was planning the creation of my fairytale book, Below the Floor.

Ebook Creation and Distribution

APE gives a lot of attention to ebooks. It covers the different ebook formats that exist out there and how to convert and upload your file to different platforms. Kawasaki also writes about the different channels via which you can distribute your ebook-like Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, and Kobo. It focuses, of course, on the ebook distributors in the American market, but you get an idea about the overall process (in case you live in Germany and want to work with Weltbild for example).

Author Publisher Entrepeneur, self publishing book by Guy Kawasaki

There is also a section about marketing your book, which has its focus on social media marketing efforts. He is a big fan of google+ and shows in great detail how to work with this platform. The core idea is that somebody who wants to be perceived as an expert in his niche should deliver valuable content to  his followers, thus hunting for interesting articles and sharing them (if necessary) several times throughout the day. By being a valuable content curator you earn the right to put your advertising message (about your book for example) out there. I am not sure if that is a good idea. But take my opinion with caution here. I really suck at social media. 🙂

Author Publisher Entrepeneur, self publishing book by Guy Kawasaki


On the whole, the book is really worth reading if you are starting out your journey as an independent publisher.

And please excuse that my posts are coming a little bit irregular at the moment. I am working on getting more structured here again. So… thank you for your patience. 🙂

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