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Interview with Guy Kawasaki, author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How To Publish A Book

Guy Kawasaki APE

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Tell us about APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book

APE is a book that I co-authored with Shawn Welch. The genesis of APE is my experience with self-publishing a book called What the Plus!. During this process I learned what a complex, idiosyncratic, and confusing process self-publishing is, so I decided to write a book to help fellow authors. I divided it into three parts: author, publisher, and entrepreneur because those are the three functions that a self-publisher must fulfill. 

A reasonable proportion of our readers are indie authors with a book already under their belt. Is there anything in APE for them or is it aimed only at those about to set out on the journey?
I promise you that third part of the book, Entrepreneur, will help even experienced authors. It explains how to act as an entrepreneur in order to control your fate in terms of sales and marketing. Even authors who are working with a traditional publisher should read this section because let’s be honest, publishers do so little marketing for authors. 

That’s true, but given the choice between being traditionally or independently published, most authors will still choose the former.  That is still the right choice in most circumstances, isn’t it?
First of all, few people will have the choice to make. Most people get rejected by traditional publishers, so there is no other choice but to self-publish or to give up. But let’s say that someone has the choice. Then the question comes down to three issues: size of the advance, control of content and design, and timing. 

At an extreme, if a traditional publisher offers you $5 million but grants no control of content and design and says that it will take twelve to eighteen months to get the book on shelves, I suppose most people will take the money. But the average advance is reputed to be $5,000. So for $5,000, are you willing to deal with a traditional publisher? 

Let’s be even more accurate. Let’s say it could be $9,000 because if you reject the deal, you’ll probably spend $4,000 of your own money to publish your book. This is a $9,000 swing if you were offered a $5,000 advance. For $4,000 or even $9,000, self-publishing is a viable alternative because you can control your own fate and make more money per copy of your book. 

What would you say is the number one mistake most indie authors make?
The number-one mistake is assuming that just because you wrote and published a book means that it will also sell. This is a bad assumption. The hardest part of self-publishing is being responsible for the sales and marketing of your book. 

Some might say that that’s easy for you to say, after all you are the famous Guy Kawasaki. Is it even possible for Peggy-Jo from Ohio to make a dent marketing her book with her fifteen Twitter followers?
Anything is possible. How many followers do you think Amanda Hocking started with? Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started in a garage with a few hundred bucks. They didn’t start a division of IBM. 

Sure, I have an advantage, but I don’t assume that my readers have 4 million followers. I can’t promise that you’ll have 4 million followers after reading the Entrepreneur section of APE, but you have to start somewhere. Also, would you prefer to read the advice of someone who had fifteen followers? What does that say about his expertise?

That’s a very fair point. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I am the author of twelve books including APE, What the Plus!, Enchantment , and nine other books. I am also the co-founder of, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web. Previously, I was the chief evangelist of Apple. I have a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College. 

What are the best ways to follow what you do on the internet?
By far, the best way is my Google+ account.

Where can we buy APE?
Right now, the only place is Amazon ( US , UK )

What’s next for you?
I just gave birth the APE three weeks ago. I have months of work to do with the sales and marketing of the book. Think of a book as a newborn baby: you don’t push it out and start trying to get pregnant again. 

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  1. Pingback: Interview with Claire Ridgway, author of Interviews with Indie Authors | Indie Author Land

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