To succeed in the brave new worlds of self- and e-publishing, according to Kawasaki and Welch’s indispensable guide, one must be an author/publisher with an entrepreneurial bent.
It’s hard to believe in our advanced stage of Kindles and iPads, but in 2011, Kawasaki’s publisher, Penguin, encountered difficulties trying to electronically distribute his New York Times best-seller for a promotional effort. After reading a book called Be the Monkey, which explains the advantages of self publishing, Kawasaki and Welch developed “APE,” a concept they unveil as The Chicago Manual of Style for authors interested in controlling their own fate and getting their words to the reading public. The authors demonstrate how the days of “vanity publishing” are gone; from plotting and pricing to pitching and press releases, determined authors are now doing it for themselves. Before breaking down the self-publishing revolution, or “democratization,” the authors examine traditional publishing, including “fantasy” versus “reality” scenarios. By illustrating the archaic processes of the old model and revealing the precarious hierarchy of redundant players—such as agents, who should be very nervous about this book—the authors herald the paradigm shift that has led to the renaissance of entrepreneurial writers. The result is a clean, concise “model for the future” of publishing’s “new electronic realities.” The authors shatter the myth that e-books currently outsell printed ones, and their book has the foresight to provide information on numerous “tools,” computer programs, online author-service providers and reviewing websites, including a four-page list of “things nobody tells you.” With hundreds of hyperlinks accessible to print readers through the book’s website, the diligent duo covers how to avoid “looking self-published,” how to upload your work without glitches or “gaffes,” and the game-changing nature of print on demand, which will make being out of print “more of an oxymoron.” Encouraging writers to pitch their self-pubbed work to clout-carrying ventures, such as Amazon Encore and Kindle Direct, seems to play against the book’s buck-the-system attitude, but it does reflect the text’s inspiring tone.
Essential reading (and reference) for modern authors, regardless of experience.