Navigating the ebook self publishing maize the APE way

A friend of mine has a reasonably well selling self published book in the market and I have been trying to get her to move it as a ebook and sell it on Amazon. I thought it would be a simple task of taking the manuscript and converting it into .mobi format and push it out to Amazon; how wrong was I. To see the madness about the formats and the support on different platforms, you just need to head to this page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_formats; you will get an idea of what I am talking about. Innumerable formats, innumerable platforms and innumerable rules, enough to drown you.  As an author, who isn’t well versed with technology, this is overwhelmingly and daunting. How do you publish an ebook? What does one need to understand from a technology perspective? Which formats to use? How to convert your document to those innumerable formats? Will the images render properly? How does one figure out the pricing of the ebook? Should one opt for a 35% royalty or a 70% royalty on Amazon? What about Apple ecosystem? Which aggregator to use? Isn’t it enough to sell on Amazon? Do I need to create another format for Nook and Kobo? Questions, Questions and more Questions. Enough for one to walk away from this business of self publishing ebooks. And trust me finding answers on the net isn’t easy either.

So when Guy Kawasaki sent me a review copy of his to be released APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a book, I was glad to find a book that can help people understand the complete ecosystem of writing a (e)book, publishing it and lastly marketing it.

If you are an author or about to author a book, I would strongly recommend that you read APE  first before embarking on your journey. APE demystifies the entire process of Authoring, Publishing and Marketing your book. It is divided into three sections – Authoring, Publishing and Marketing (Entrepreneur) and I thought depending on where one is in their current journey, one can focus on that relevant section and get the most from this book. The three sections covers the following topics:

  • Authoring a book: covers topics such as:
    • Should one write a book
    • Tools for writers
    • How to write your book and
    • How to finance it
  • Publishing a book: This section for me was the heart of the book, pretty detailed and exhaustive, this section alone is the reason why one should buy this book
    • Apart from editing, copywriting and how-to’s about turning your manuscript to a book, it covers the entire eco systems of ebooks
    • Selling your ebook through Amazon, Google, Apple, B&N, Kobo etc
    • Using Author Servicing companies
    • Using Print on Demand capabilities
    • How to price your book
    • Issues with Self publications
    • Navigating Amazon.com
  • Entrepreneurship: Last, but not the least, success of a book is judged by how many people read it and find it useful. This section deals with marketing, building an enchanting brand, using social media to get the buzz out and engaging with bloggers and reviewers.

I am delighted Guy and Shawn saw the need for this book and wrote it. I am sure this will very well turn out to be a bible for authors.

Review of Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki

The early copy of Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki does not appear to be a business book on first look. It came to me spiral bound, size of a small notebook, with a red color cover, lacking the seriousness of what a business book ought to be.

Guy set’s out to create enchantment through the cover and the design of the book and it sure is catchy. I can envisage this book on the shelfs of bookstores and attracting people’s attention just based on the cover.

Borrowed from Internet

He set’s the stage by stating that this book is for people who see life for what it can be rather than what it can’t….I am going to take you into a journey to learn how to change the hearts, minds and actions of people and then dives into 12 short chapters – which are a how-to treatise on creating enchantment with your products or service.

The advice in the chapters that talk about creating enchantment through technology using social media blogs etc is solid and but what I really liked is that the Guy devotes substantial space to human values – such as trustworthiness, likeability, acceptance, being a mensch, reciprocity etc. – a trait that seems to be becoming rarer in the business world. There are two chapters out there that are a must read for every boss and every employee.

The book reminded me a lot about Tim Sanders “Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends”. More than Dale Carnegie, I think Tim’s book  sets the standard on creating true influence and I was honestly surprised to see it missing in the bibliography in Enchantment.

Overall Enchantment is a good light read, still doesn’t come close to my other favorite from the same author – The Art of the Start.