You’ve probably all heard of Guy Kawasaki, the Silicon Valley author, speaker, investor, and business advisor. If you haven’t – especially if you’re interested in self-publishing – you need to know who he is. After some bad experiences working with traditional publishers on a few books, Kawasaki self-published his book, What the Plus, which is when the term “artisanal publishing” was born. Artisanal Publishing refers to “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.”
The self-publishing process proved more challenging than he expected, and he learned a number of lessons throughout the process, which led him to self-publish APE: How to Publish a Book—all about the positives and the “pain and trauma” of being an indie author. APE stands for Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur.
According to Kawasaki, when a self-publisher successfully fills three roles—author, publisher, and entrepreneur—the potential benefits are greater than with traditional publishing. And while Kawasaki may now be a self-publishing convert, he has talked about both the pros and cons of going the route of self-publishing.
On the pro side, he cites editorial, sales, and marketing control; quicker time to market; and increased royalties. “APE sells for $9.99 as a Kindle e-book and we make $7,” he said. “And that is remarkable. That is like four times traditionally published…These are good numbers.” The drawbacks, Kawasaki said, include no advance, increased responsibility for all aspects of the publishing process, and loneliness.
In offering up his top 10 tips for self-published authors, Kawasaki urges writers to:
- Write for the Right Reasons: He cited writing to enrich people’s lives, furthering a cause, or meeting an intellectual challenge.
- Use the Right Tools: He suggests a number of different pieces of software, such as Word and InDesign, but the bottom line is that you need to make sure they are the right tools for your work and process.
- Write Every Day
- Build Your Marketing Platform
- Start with a Kindle E-Book: “When all the dust settles, for us, Amazon is about 85% to 90% of the action,” Kawasaki said. “There’s all these other platforms, but if you can make it with Kindle you’ve got it made….If you make it on Kindle the rest is cream.”
- Tap the Crowd: With APE, Kawasaki asked his social media followers to critique his book outline, finished manuscript, and the final PDF of the book. “It really improved the book,” he said. “The crowd really helped me…It probably doubled the quality of APE. It was truly a great experience.”
- Hire a Copy Editor
- Hire a Cover Designer
- Test Your E-Book: Kawasaki urged writers to test the readability of their e-book on all platforms, devices, and operating systems.
- Never Give Up
These are all great pieces of advice! As overwhelming as it was for Guy just starting out as a self-published author, you can see from his list that it helps to have a professional team behind you every step of the way. We will be discussing some of them at more length in future blog posts.
At SDP Publishing, like Guy Kawasaki, we treat each book as its own independent business. Authors retain 100% of their rights, enjoying generous royalties while going through the process step-by-step with our team. Independent publishing means your name is the brand and your book is the product. As we’ve talked about in the past, publishing a book on your own can be a long, lonely road, which is why it can be helpful to for writers build a team to help them succeed in self-publishing.
To receive your free 45-minute consultation, send us a one-paragraph book synopsis, a brief author bio, a list of comparable titles, and the first three chapters of your manuscript. SDP Publishing Solutions will review and set up time to talk with you to provide direction and recommendations on what you need to do to publish your book and get it on the market!
SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) offers optimal self-publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for authors. Our services include developmental editing and copy editing, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!