APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book

The first good reason to write a book is to add value to people’s lives.

- APE: Hot to Publish a Book, page 4

Everybody’s doing it.

At least that’s what it seems like. The publishing industry has been turned on its head. The tools to produce, market, and distribute a book are free and open to anyone, so of course more people are doing it.

There’s now a whole new industry of options for authors to utilize in their self-publishing journey. And that is precisely why having a comprehensive guide for the entire process is so useful. APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book is that guide.

Covering details of the whole self-publishing gamut from why you should even write a book to how to do the actual writing, to uploading it to the various systems, to marketing and creating a platform for exposure, APE is the complete nuts and bolts textbook. It’s even written like a textbook with lots of bullet points, lists, and sub-headings. As every chapter title starts with “How to…”, it’s the ultimate ‘how to’ book on self-publishing.

And since Gary Kawasaki and Shawn Welch have written quite a few bestselling books—both traditionally and self-published—you can trust that they know the ropes.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

Execute the Entire Package

"In this sea of choices, why should anyone give a shiitake about your book?"
- APE: How to Publish a Book, page 4

There’s more to self-publishing a book that just creating the content inside it. Even though the tools make it easy enough for your content to be public, there’s a lot more work to do if you want your book to get the exposure it deserves. And it does deserve exposure, doesn’t it? That’s why the keyword is ‘publish’. Otherwise, you can write it in your personal journal and fulfill some other purpose.

Some of the other parts to publishing a book besides just writing it include editing, getting an effective book cover, distribution channels, selling it in the eBook format, pricing, audio and foreign language editions, marketing, building a personal brand, using social media, and pitching to bloggers and reviewers. Overlooking the details in some of these areas can cause a poor outcome.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Sell an eBook… everywhere

"Many self-publishers only need to use the online reseller channel."
- APE: How to Publish a Book, page 145

Gary and Shawn provide in-depth information about the five major online reseller channels: Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Google, and Kobo.

Amazon is the gorilla in the market with its Kindle Direct Publishing, but knowing the benefits and limits of the other options will help you make a more informed decision about which service to use, if you decide to make a choice. You’ll get more exposure if you use multiple resellers, so there’s not much reason to limit yourself to one.

Amazon royalty rates are 35% and 70%, depending on how you price your book, but there are other fine print details that I wasn’t aware of, like a ‘delivery charge’ based on the file size of your book, and how they’ll automatically match the price of your book on other resellers if it is lower (at the 35% royalty rate).

Apple has a 70% royalty rate but you need to make sure you’re using their formatting system. Barnes and Noble uploads to the Nook and their royalty rates are 40% and 65% depending on the pricing. Google Play uses a 52% royalty no matter what your book price. Kobo uses 70% and 45% royalty depending on price.

With e-readers and phones becoming ubiquitous, it almost doesn’t make sense to not have your book readable in multiple options.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Launch Guerilla Marketing

"When people have too much money they throw launch parties, hire marketing and social media ‘experts,’ buy advertising, and fly around the country on book tours. None of this will help you sell books in a cost-effective way."
- APE: How to Publish a Book, page 255

One of the key aspects of self-publishing a book is that you get to do your own marketing. Notice I said ‘get to’. Some people think it’s a hassle, but I think if you create something, you should be the one who tells the world about it (or does the work so others will tell the world).

Gary and Shawn list many great ideas for marketing your book at very low costs. They first suggest to ‘cover the earth’. That means sending a free eBook copy to anyone who is willing to write review for it because when people find your book, they’ll first look at the reviews. Start with your email address book, social media acquaintances, and anyone you think would provide a review. Then they suggest approaching some of the top reviewers on Amazon. You can find them by looking at reviews of similar books in your genre and finding reviewers with “Hall of Fame” or “Top 50 Reviewer” badges. These lists are also published.

Included in APE is a guest published section by Dr. Bojan Tunguz, a top Amazon reviewer, who shares the best way to approach an Amazon reviewer with a request to review your book.

Other marketing tactics include joining HARO (Help a Reporter Out) where you might get selected for an interview as an expert on your subject, using Google Hangouts on air to broadcast video webinars on your subject, or doing something fun like creating stickers, running a contest, and creating infographics.

Guerilla marketing is not only fun, but an inexpensive strategy for getting the word out about your book. And you just never know, one or more of those people you reach could have a huge audience themselves and decide to tell them about your book. I’m hoping that’s what’ll happen with mine.


You know you can do it too… self-publish a book. Get APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur and you’ll have all the info you need.

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Rex Williams

ABOUT Rex Williams

I'm a curious connector of people and ideas. I crave learning new things and invoking a creative twist to my methods. By day, I work as an engineer, general problem solver (and recently video producer) at the Boeing company as I fight the status quo and start movements, but after work I hang out with entrepreneur and rabble-rouser types online (like this group...
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