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11 Things you Must Know to Publish a Book - How To Quit Working
11 Things you Must Know to Publish a Book

11 Things you Must Know to Publish a Book

APE: How to Publish a Book

Jeff Steinmann Review of APE – How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch

I was thrilled to get the opportunity to review an advance copy of Guy Kawasaki’s brand new book, “APE, How to Publish a Book”, which he co-authored with Shawn Welch. I’ve been staying closely in touch with the publishing industry and all of the radical changes it has been going through the past several years and this book is an incredibly concise (even at 313 pages) overview of the industry and literally EVERYTHING you need to know about writing a book.

I decided rather than writing a fourth-grade book report, I would summarize the most important points for anyone who wants to use a book to establish themselves as an expert in a particular niche.

So, here it goes, these are the 11 most important points I captured from the book:

  1. Write a book for the right reasons. Write it because you have a message inside you that you MUST get out! It’s just too much work to do for any other reason. Whatever you do, DO NOT write it to make money from sales of the book.
  2. Traditional Publishers vs. Self-Publishing: In general, traditional publishers get you one thing: The “clout” of being published by a big publishing house. In order to be published by one of those houses, you need to have a platform, or a way to reach a large number of your followers. If you have that platform, traditional publishing with a major publisher may work well for you. If you don’t, self publish, but you will STILL need the platform in order to promote your book. So, start building a platform, if you aren’t already.
  3. Ebooks are gaining in popularity, but there is still nothing like holding a physical book in your hand. And printed books are still outselling eBooks by a large margin. At the end of the day, it’s easy to have your book in print these days with print on demand technology, so have it in print, have it on the Kindle, iPad, Nook and every format you can reasonably support. Guy explains exactly how in the book.
  4. Tools matter. The tools you use, word processor, conversion tools, file sharing, etc. will make your work easier or harder. Guy tells you exactly what to use for best results.
  5. How much does it cost to self-publish your book? 4300 bucks. You have to do the math and decide if this expense is worth it and guy walks you through that. You can also barter and cut corners to get that cost much lower, which will come at the cost of time and quality, but may make sense on a limited budget.
  6. Hire an Editor. Hire someone who edits books for a living. You simply can’t get out of your own mind enough to look at your book objectively.
  7. Don’t let it look like crap. Guy calls it the “self-published look.” Get a professional cover design, interior design and use an imprint (publisher name) that is not your own name or company name.
  8. Distribution options are almost unlimited. There are companies that will do this for you, or you can work directly with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc and their respective self-publishing programs. This is great, because there are a multitude of different ways to get your book distributed. You can choose the method (or more likely, methods) that work best for you. Guy outlines your options very thoroughly.
  9. File formats can be tricky. But, it’s not rocket science, you just need to understand the ins and outs of each format and which ones you need for what you are doing. He explains them very simply and clearly in the book.
  10. Pricing. If you are just getting started and building a platform, start low and go up if you can. You are never going to get rich off the book sales themselves (the money is in the credibility a book brings!), so the better route is to keep the price low so you can get it into more people’s hands and build your credibility.
  11. Platform, Platform, Platform. That’s what promoting and selling a book is all about. You must focus on creating a following of people who know you, love you and are ready and eager to buy from you. Wait, isn’t that MY area of expertise? Good, your in the right place. Click here for more information (from me) on how to get known as an expert and build a life of FREEDOM and FLEXIBILITY with your knowledge and expertise. OK, I had to get a little plug in for myself. :-)

If you are considering writing a book, you definitely want to read APE. There simply is no other book that so thoroughly, yet concisely wraps up all you need to know about this complex and still changing topic.

You can purchase APE from Amazon.com by clicking here. If you follow this link, I will be compensated an extremely small amount (nowhere near enough to buy a cup of coffee) by Amazon for referring you there.

Best Always

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About Jeff Steinmann

Jeff wants to help you Live More. He is the author of How to Quit Working, A Simple Plan to Quit Your Job for a Life of Freedom. He hosts a weekly show called The How to Quit Working Show that features lessons from Freedom Fanatics who quit their soul-sucking 9-5 job and created a business that lets them live a passionate life of freedom. Jeff also writes for several media outlets, including The Huffington Post, Lifehack and Elite Daily. Most of all, Jeff is a Freedom Fanatic, fiercely devoted to finding a better way to “do life”.

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  • Waystation49

    Jeff, puzzled by #3 and #5. What are your opinions? According to Brendon Burchard – and I think Amazon also mentioned it in an article, eBooks surpassed printed books last year in sales for the first time ever. I don’t know whether this is just US, North America, or globally. Then #5 – where did he say he got the figure $4300 to self-publish? Other than our time invested, which has been substantial, and using design sources and expert author and design friends to assist with interior design and proofing, out the door I think we will be done for $25….other than buying the proof copies, and any other extras we want. What am I missing – or – is that I am from an author / editor/ publicist background? Thanks.

    • http://jeffsteinmann.com Jeff Steinmann

      Guy breaks down the 4300 bucks in the book, and he discusses your very point, which is that you can get that WAY lower if you are creative, as you mentioned. One of Guy’s key points (and I agree whole-heartedly) is that it’s very important to have a third-party editor, and if you have an editor friend, i’m jealous :), but there is definitely a lot of cost savings that can be had there.
      The stats he cites in APE are based on revenue, not units, and in the US. Since eBooks tend to cost considerably less, I can see where revenue may be a very different picture than units, and as you said, you can slice and dice those stats many different ways.
      I believe that the important point is that physical books are still viable and with print on demand being what it is today (low cost, ease of implementation), to me, it’s a no-brainer to “go physical”. Frankly, I want to be able to MAIL a physical, autographed copy of my book to my clients, peers, and other folks (and my mom :). It’s so easy to get lost in the sea of “free ebooks” these days.
      Guy also expects the gap between electronic and physical to close, but not quickly. Thanks for your insightful comments!