Once upon a time, “vanity published” books were guaranteed stinkers. Even today, with high quality tools and a plethora of resources to help with every aspect of the publishing process, too many self published books read like poorly edited religious tracts from the 1980s or zines from the 90s.
I am, however, beginning to see exceptions. I’ve seen an explosion in self-published books related to cycling and fitness in 2012, including a handful that are worth recommending beyond our tight circle of true believers, and I expect we’ll see more of that in 2013. Guy Kawasaki’s new book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book guides the prospective artisanal publisher through the pitfalls of writing, publishing and marketing your own book while avoiding the clueless newbie mistakes that have historically stigmatized the vanity press industry.
Guy writes what he knows. After over twenty years working with traditional publishers, he self-published his guide to using Google Plus and learned first-hand that self-publishing is a complex, confusing, and idiosyncratic process. As his mentor Steve Jobs said, “There must be a better way.”
Guy connected with Shawn Welch to discover this better way, and the result is this book on self publishing.
They write candidly on the challenges for the do-it-yourselfer. Although we’re witnessing a complete transformation of the publishing industry, these publishing houses offer tremendous resources for the budding author, including copy editing, cover design, book design, and publicity. All of things are important and difficult, but the authors help you through the steps of filling those multiple roles to successfully write, publish and market your Great American Howto Book.
The first step is the most important — the authors ask you to examine your motives. Think first on why you buy a book? Do you buy a book to further the fame and fortune of Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch? Of course not; you buy a book because you think it will help you. If your book doesn’t meet some kind of need or want for the public — be it for knowledge, understanding or entertainment — your book probably isn’t worth writing. If you like to entertain or inform or educate, however, you might have something worth reading, and Guy’s book will get you there.
Disclosure: I might get a few pennies if you purchase APE via this link on Amazon.com. APE is available for sale in eBook format beginning today, December 10, 2012.