APE: How To Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki & Shawn Welsh

The Down Side

  • The downside of self-publishing is that you won’t get an advance payment and won’t have the services of editorial assistants, technical editors, copyeditors, art directors, publicists, or a sales force. As a self-publisher, you’ll still need to do what they would have done, or hire independent contractors. Your book will also lack the prestige of a big-name publishing house, and is not likely to show up in the airport bookstore.
  • A third approach is to self-publish a book, and after a brief effort to sell your work you connect with an agent who lands a deal from a traditional publishing house. You will give up control but may enjoy greater sales and income.

The Ascent of eBooks

  • The success of electronic tablets like the iPad created yet another revolution. You don’t have to go to a store and people can’t tell if you are reading adult material like 50 Shades of Grey.You are not limited to a store’s physical inventory. You can read in the dark, and access a dictionary or other online information if you don’t understand what you read. You can change the text size, copy and paste selections, listen while the tablet reads the book to you, or listen to music while you read. Your book can contain links, endless color graphics and videos, and the price is usually a lot less. At this time they only represent 10% of the market, but watch out.

Tools for Writers

  • Start with a lightweight laptop with a long battery life that you won’t hesitate to take anywhere you go. These guys prefer the MacBook Air. (Full disclosure: I have been using Macs ever since I bought the first one in 1984.) They also prefer Microsoft Word as it is an industry standard. It can track changes made by people who help edit your work. You should also use the Styles feature for each paragraph rather than making formatting changes in a particular paragraph. They mention other word processing systems with warnings and suggest a number of utility programs that can help you stay organized and backed up.

How to Write Your Book

  • You need to start with a story and from it develop a pitch that you can give to someone in thirty seconds or so. Next, you need to make an outline and expect this to take some time. Don’t start writing until it’s finished even though it may change along the way. Read other books from the same genre as part of the research process. When the research is finished, try to knock out your first draft as fast as possible. As you work on revising your work, be sure to satisfy yourself rather than second guess what others want.
  • Guy shares his outlines on Google Docs to get feedback and pump up anticipation for the book. People who give you advice will feel some shared ownership and probably help you market the book. Also, share your ideas with your social network for feedback. Your network will encourage you to finish. View this process as a marathon and don’t let your self-doubts stop the process. Write or edit portions every day, and when it seems finished, read it in hardcopy and tablet formats to catch more errors. Also read it out loud.

How to Finance Your Book

  • This chapter starts with an estimation of the costs of publication and goes on to suggest ways to cover the cost. Foremost is to use sites like Indiegogo, Unbound, Pubslush, or Kickstarter to generate sales revenue before you ship the book. This can involve pre-sales along with other goodies depending on the commitment. Once you are famous, this crowdfunding approach can raise lots of money. Look for sponsors who are in businesses associated with your book’s content and consider the possibility of other products you can offer your readers. If all goes well you should be able to make money doing speeches and consulting.

[Publisher Section] How to Edit Your Book

  • You cannot eliminate the need for a copyeditor! There are four methods to obtain content and copy editing. Start with enlisting any friends, family, and coworkers who are willing to murder your book. Then tap niche communities by doing searches for people with common interests in places like Google+ and Facebook. Guy offers many other options here, but expect to help others if you want help.
  • Similar to the niche community effort is the crowdsourcing approach. The difference is that you cast your net to your entire social network, not just those with close common interests. Finally, Guy strongly suggests that you hire a professional copy editor. This may cost between $1,000 and $1,500 for a 300-page manuscript, but this is a dumb place to save money. Guy gives suggestions for how to find a pro. He uses all four methods for every book and believes that you can never get too much editing and feedback.
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