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

APEAPE, or Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur is a book written by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. The book claims to be a guide for new writers looking to self publish, and while some people may find this book to contain useful information for a new writer, I found it contained a bunch of fluff facts, impractical advice, product placement, and self promotion. I stopped reading this book around 20% of the way through. This will be the second review I have ever written on a book I did not finish. I usually feel wrong writing a review for a book I did not complete, but this book left me so disappointed that I felt it was necessary. While it is very possible that a deluge of useful information is included in the latter 80 percent of the book, I cannot recommend this book for anyone looking into self publishing. The writing is dry, the fifth of the book I read was unhelpful, and there are far better books out there on the subject. (I highly suggest David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Digital!)

The Bad:

1. The book is rife with pointless, fluff information. There is a bullet point that explains that if you’re reading on a tablet, you can listen to music and read a book at the same time. There is another bullet point explaining that many reading devices have backlit screens, and this allows you to read in the dark more easily.  There is yet another bullet point that covers the fact that there are a ton of ebooks out there, literally no further away than your finger tips. All of these bullet points are found in the “Author” section of the book. I fail to see what any of these points have to do with the actual act of writing a book. (Or the publishing of a book for that matter.)

2. The book is full of shameless self promotion and product placement. This is an excerpt directly from the APE. Keep in mind that Guy Kawasaki worked for Macintosh for a number of years.

“No computer makes you more creative and productive, because a Macintosh becomes part of you whereas you need to overcome other operating systems.

In particular, we recommend as MacBook Air, because it’s thin, light, and sexy…”

There is a line of disclosure after this stating that Guy loves Mac stuff and has worked for Apple, and Shawn writes books on i-devices. But if that isn’t advertising/marketing a product, I’ll eat my sandals.

3. A good bit of the advice in the book is impractical for someone just entering the field of self publishing. Is it really a smart decision for me to go out and spend 1000$ on a MacBook Air to write my book on when I already have a perfectly functional laptop, with an operating system I’m familiar with? (Hint: no it isn’t.) Or how about when Guy talks about his crowdsourcing feedback methods where he will write up a brief outline on a book  he plans to write, then share that document with millions of people for their feedback.I don’t know about you but, I don’t have access to 1 million + people who want to give me feedback.

The Meh:

1. The book is full of obvious statements and strategies. I have placed this segment under the Meh section because I’ve done between 30 and 40 hours of research on the subject of self publishing and I have self published a short story (and am currently working on a second, much longer book). Due to this I feel it’s possible that all these suggestions and strategies may seem commonplace to me because I’ve already read about them in another place (Let’s Get Digital!), or because I’ve already thought of them myself and put some of them into practice.

The Good: 

1. I’m SURE there is some bit of useful information buried somewhere in this book, I just didn’t have the patience to sift through all the other fluff to find it.

Synopsis :

There isn’t much point in writing a synopsis this book. I did not finish it, and I would not recommend it to anyone.


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