APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur–How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki & Shawn Welch – a book review

In 2011, the publisher of Guy Kawasaki’s New York Times bestseller, Enchantment, could not fill an order for 500 ebook copies of the book. Because of this experience, he self-published his next book, What the Plus! and learned first-hand that self-publishing is a complex, confusing, and idiosyncratic process. As Steve Jobs said, “There must be a better way.”

With Shawn Welch, a tech wizard, he wrote APE to help people take control of their writing careers by publishing their own books. The thesis of APE is simple but powerful: a successful self-publisher must fill three roles:

  • Author
  • Publisher
  • Entrepreneur


The authors call this “artisanal publishing.” Artisanal publishing features writers who love their craft and who control every aspect of the process from beginning to end. In this new approach, writers are no longer at the mercy of large, traditional publishers, and readers will have more books to read.

So why would I, an author who is about to be traditionally published, encourage you to read such a book?

1. Because I promised the author I would review his book – A few weeks ago, Kawasaki contacted all the authors whose blogs are featured on his AllTop.com site, asking if they would like to be considered to review a copy of his newest book. I submitted an application and told him about my blog. He sent me his free ebook to be reviewed.

2. Because even if you plan to go the traditional publishing route, Kawasaki and Welch give a lot of information you can use – They gave me new information about social media, writing tools, branding, and marketing. I only skimmed the book—because much of it contained very specific technical information aimed at those who want to write and sell ebooks—but in that skimming I jotted down several titles of books I want to read in order to help me write and sell in the traditional market.

3. In a rapidly changing market, authors want to know all the options available to them – I know of several authors who want to publish in both the e-market and the traditional market. Additionally, there are authors who want to use self-publishing as the end goal or a means to a traditional publishing deal.

Again, APE stands for Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. Kawasaki and Welch say that in order to publish an ebook you must be all three.

In the Author category they focus on:

  • Why you should and shouldn’t write a book?
  • What happens on a traditional publishing route?
  • The Ascent of ebooks
  • Tools for writers
  • How to write your book
  • How to finance your book

In the Publisher category they focus on:

  • How to edit a book
  • How to avoid a self-published look
  • How to get an effective cover
  • Understanding book distribution
  • How to sell your eBook through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, and Kobo
  • How to convert your files
  • How to sell ebooks directly to readers
  • How to use author-services companies
  • How to use print-on-demand companies
  • How to upload your book
  • How to price your books
  • How to create audio and foreign language versions of your book
  • How to navigate Amazon

In the Entrepreneur category they focus on:

  • How to guerilla-market your book
  • How to build an enchanting personal brand
  • How to choose a platform tool
  • How to create a social media profile
  • How to share on social media
  • How to comment and respond on social media
  • How to pitch bloggers and reviewers
  • How they APEd this book


*I hope you found this review helpful. As you can see, there’s virtually no aspect of creating an ebook that Kawasaki and Welch missed.

I appreciate you stopping by the WordServe Water Cool blog for today’s blog parade, as well as my blog here. If you comment below I will randomly draw one name from a hat and order a copy of the book for the winner. I would appreciate you copying the link to this post and passing it on to your friends. Thank you.


Guy Kawasaki is the author of eleven previous books, including What the Plus!, Enchantment, and The Art of the Start. He is also the cofounder of Alltop.com and the former chief evangelist of Apple. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA, as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.




Shawn Welch is the author of From Idea to App, iOS 5 Core Frameworks, and iOS 6 for Developers, and is also the developer of several iOS apps. Previously he worked as a senior media editor for Pearson Education. He also helped pioneer many of Pearson’s earliest efforts in iPad solutions. Welch has a BS from Kansas State University.

Watch a 20-minute video with Michael Martin and Guy Kawasaki:





Lucille Zimmerman is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Littleton, CO and an affiliate faculty professor at Colorado Christian University.

She is also the author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. Through practical ideas and relatable anecdotes, readers can better understand their strengths and their passions—and address some of the underlying struggles or hurts that make them want to keep busy or minister to others to the detriment of themselves. Renewed can help nurture those areas of women’s lives to use them better for work, family, and service. It gives readers permission to examine where they spend their energy and time, and learn to set limits and listen to “that inner voice."


  1. The publishing world seems to have been turned up-side-down in pursuit of the almight dollar. Agents don’t represent new Authors; they represent the publisher who is trying to save as much money as possible by getting the Author to do all the work from writing to publishing to distributing. This has to be at a time when profits are at an all time high because of the vast numbers of things that are published in all the media.

    My part of the country was a political battleground during the recent presidential election and the amount of money the politicians poured into tv alone was unbelievable. The local tv stations apologized to their watchers for putting on so many ads but they didn’t have to do that at all. Even prior to the sale of political ads, they were full of ads, thus making a lot of money. If there had been limits on the time period when ads could be run, and then the politicians would have had to pay much more for any ad run, the tv stations would have made good money rather than “out-of-thisworld” money.

    The same can be said about book publishing. The publishing companies are flush with profits and the authors have to do triple duty to get a book even considered for publication. How does one do a quality job of writing while publishing and distributing?

    This is not really just a problem of book publishing but a problem throghout our economy. In any aspects, the consumer (reader) is no longer important and neither is the service worker (Author) who services him/her. The recent merger of some big publishing companies into mega publishing companies does not benefit either the reader nor the author but the publisher and the top echalon of authors.

    “Write on”, I tell my writing group, “but for your and our pleasure as less than 0.05% of any book proposal submitted will see it to a book shelf”

    • Your sentiments are absolutely right about publishing’s obsession with the bottom line though I would disagree with the “flush with profits” theory. If that were so Random and Penguin would not need to merge and small presses and publishing houses would be thriving. The real problem is capital flight whether into the pockets of greedy “shareholder” interests or through retailing that puts nothing back into the industry like Amazon. Add the fact that retail prices are historically low when costs are historically high (transport and paper). It’s no wonder publishers have little money for promotion or anything else.

  2. I heard a little about this book but this is a great summary and really makes me want to get it as a resource. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jean, if I listed all the topics the authors covered under the broad topics I would fill up pages. This book is all encompassing.

      Thank you for commenting here.

  3. Tami Eaby

    Sounds informative.
    I have always wanted to write a book, just didn’t know what all it would entail.

  4. Thanks for the review, Lucille. I have a friend who’s just starting out, and I will forward this to him. Merry Christmas!

  5. And the winner is……..

    Jan Dunlap

    Thank you everyone for reading and commenting.

  6. Great post, Lucille. I’ll have to check this book out!

  7. Hi Dennis, thank you for your comments. In many ways I agree with you. Authors have to do more and of the marketing. I got into the writing world when this was already the case, so I didn’t know anything different.

    Things are changing so quickly in the publishing world. It’s exciting to be in the midst of all the changes.

    I was reading a wonderful book last night. Your writing group might like it. It’s called, “If You Want to Write” by Brenda Ueland. He tells how men wrote sonnets for the love of their women, William Blake and Van Gogh created their writing and art for the sheer beauty of it.”

    Ueland says, “Duty should be a by-product. Writing, the creative effort, the use of the imagination, should come first–at least for some part of every day of your life. It is a wonderful blessing if you will use it. You will become happier, more enlightened, alive, impassioned, lighthearted, and generous to everybody else.”


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