Updated Jan 6 following several emails from Guy and Shawn as well as over 30 comments on Google+
The Good Bad and Ugly in Kawasaki & Welch’s New Book APE
Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch published their new book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book to Amazon Kindle less than a month ago. Here is my honest review on the good bad and ugly in this supposed self publishing manual.
Kawasaki and Welch provide a comprehensive overview of traditional publishing versus self publishing. Although exhaustive at times, the first part of the book “Author“, does give a good understanding of the difference between the two worlds.
The mid section of the book – “Publisher” is a little thin. If you are brand new to self publishing, you will find this a solid read, however as a veteran self publisher I was disappointed. I found other Kindle books (Books by Steve Weber for example) to provide better resources for both self publishing and marketing your books online than APE.
The third part of the book – “Entrepreneur” covers basic social media. Guy provides a great tutorial on how to create your social media profile for Google+ and Facebook and although some specific book sites are mentioned (GoodReads, KindleBoards) many others are left out. Kawasaki does not detail how to make the most of these sites and chooses to focus on more main stream sites that are not specifically for authors.
One of the points taught in this entrepreneurial guide to self publishing is how to apply cool styles to your Kindle Book using Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign. Unfortunately there is a severe formatting fail in Ape! When viewed in the Kindle Cloud Reader, citations and images are annoyingly small and illegible!
I found it a little ironic for a book that claims to teach you about the best ways to format your Kindle book to have found such a bizarre formatting error in the Kindle Cloud Reader. Of course Shawn Welch was super nice and sent me a PDF version of the book after I sent him a screen shot of how the book appeared in the Kindle Cloud Reader.
Lessons for everyone:
- Many people use the Kindle Cloud Reader to read Kindle books! It is one of the easiest ways for people who do not own Kindle Devices to read these books and should not be discounted!
- Don’t preach formatting if you haven’t tried viewing your Kindle book on all possible devices.
- Always include your email address within the book to receive constructive criticism and feedback from your readers.
Although I was surprised by the answer I received, I was touched Shawn took the time to answer my emails and even sent me a PDF copy of their book:
“I’ve passed this along to our contacts at Amazon. Since this is only happening in Kindle Cloud Reader, and doesn’t happen on any of the Kindle tablets or Kindle Apps, I think it is a bug in how Kindle Cloud renders text. I’m hesitant to change the file since it’s only reproducible in Kindle Cloud. I’d much rather Amazon fix Kindle Cloud, than we lose rich formatting throughout the book!I will let you know if we make any headway on that front.Until then, I’m sorry you had trouble. You can download a PDF of APE from the URL below. I hope this is easier to read!“
The Good And the Bad
Kawasaki and Welch cover most of the major points related to publishing and self publishing. Most of the info is sound and worth reading, although very general.
For example; recommending you pay a copy-editor to go over your book is not really ground-breaking nor an affordable option for many people looking to self publish. On the other hand, Guy provides many great resources and websites for authors, published authors and for hiring editors, designers and supportive tech workers to help you along your self publishing journey. You can find them on the book website.
Surprisingly enough Shawn Welch did not take the time to complete his Amazon Author Central Page – even though the book strongly recommends that you do (as do I!). Update – since I wrote this post, Shawn completed his Author Central Bio and URL! ( I was touched to see how my post had a catalyst effect on the author!)
Perhaps my expectations of the “Guerrilla Marketing section” were unrealistically high. I found it disappointing to read that YouTube is difficult to leverage and other such superficial statements. After seeing some of the creative marketing methods Guy is currently applying to marketing APE, I was disappointed not to see them as part of the book.
The book also highlights a rather confusing conflicting use of terms by Amazon regarding revising Kindle books. Amazon will email your readers to notify them you have made significant changes to your book and not critical changes as Amazon and APE state…
While I like Kawasaki’s writing style, the book contains about 50% fluff – I found the first part of the book too long and the last part too short. Unfortunately I was not able to read the book in the Kindle Cloud Reader.
The authors do not take advantage of internal hyper-linking opportunities within the book, making it rather hard to find things and use it as the manual they had perhaps intended or wished it would become.
Should you get it? If you want to spend $10 on a Kindle version, go right ahead (unless you use the Kindle Cloud Reader), otherwise, just head on to the book website to access most of the resources mentioned in the book which is 90% of the real value within.
If you don’t want a whole song and dance on the history of publishing and just want to make more sales publishing with Kindle you can also check out my short guide 11 Essential Tips to Publishing With Kindle which does not compete with Kawasaki’s book.
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