Guy Kawasaki’s Radical Advice for Getting Your Book Published

Carol Tice

squeezed between booksAre you boggled by the world of self-publishing?

If you’re like me, you’re a little overwhelmed by all the options out there. Especially, by the question of how to get people to buy your book or ebook.

I’ve barely dabbled in self-publishing myself, with one ebook PDF that’s now being revamped, and one Kindle ebook with my teaching partner Linda Formichelli, 13 Ways to Get the Writing Done Faster.

I’ve also done two traditional print books, one of which, on shoestring business startups, comes out this summer.

APE_Cover_20130118So far, I feel like I’m still a baby beginner in figuring out how to be successful in the Wild West of self-publishing. My book sales have not exactly set the world on fire.

Which is why I was super-excited to get an introduction via my friend Danny Iny to smash-hit Enchantment author and founder Guy Kawasaki.

The former Apple chief evangelist’s comprehensive new co-written book is APE — Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur — How to Publish a Book. It’s all about the why and how of getting published today and marketing your book.

I had a chance to read the book — and then I got on Skype and had an eye-opening chat with Guy about where publishing and self-publishing are headed.

A lot of Guy’s advice flies in the face of the conventional wisdom you may have heard. But I recommend you listen closely, as Guy is one of the savviest people I know for divining trends in the fast-changing publishing world.

You can listen in on our half-hour conversation below. Guy tackles topics including:

  • Why you should publish a book — and why you shouldn’t
  • How to price your ebook
  • Why ebooks shouldn’t be given away free
  • How he keeps APE current despite fast-changing publishing trends
  • How to get print-on-demand paperback book publishing right
  • Why traditional publishing is no longer an advantage for most authors
  • How to get hundreds of Amazon reviews the day your book publishes
  • How to tap book lovers to drive sales

And much more. I hope you find this talk as enlightening as I did.

Enjoy —


[hana-flv-player video=”″ width=”400″ height=”auto” description=”” player=”5″ autoload=”true” autoplay=”false” loop=”false” autorewind=”false” clickurl=”″ /]

Can’t see that? Here’s a download link:

 Got questions about self-publishing? Let’s discuss in the comments.





  1. Michael

    Great Interview. Thanks for sharing.

    • Carol Tice

      Glad you enjoyed, Michael!

  2. Mike Drips

    Nice video but it stops after a few minutes even using your link.
    It’s at the point where you two are discussing book pricing.
    Oh well, I bought the book but am sorry not to be able to see the video.

    • Hans Maerker

      Hi Mike,

      Go and download it again. Maybe the file got corrupted. I downloaded it and it runs just fine.


    • Carol Tice

      I am not very technically expert, but did you try following the download link, if you had trouble with my embedded version? That might help.

  3. Halina

    Great interview with Guy! As someone who is currently in the process of writing a novel and looking at publishing it next year, I am certainly in a bind about whether to take the self or traditional publishing route. And of course, there is the marketing side of things, including using Amazon itself to grow potential fans and readers. Lots of great ideas from Guy here, which I’ll certainly keep in mind as I move onwards in my novel writing process. Fortunately, I still have a ways to go before actually finishing this novel, so the time is ripe for marketing and growing my audience. Thanks much for posting this interview Carol!

    • Carol Tice

      Sounds like the timing was perfect for you on this — glad you found it useful, Halina.

  4. Rachel Rueben

    Nice video, I read APE and it was a solid book on self-publishing although, there were some things I didn’t agree with like buying certain software like InDesign etc and buying a Mac. Most indie authors can’t afford that and it’s really unnecessary.

    I agree with his view on ebook pricing and love his honesty about his sales figures. It has me worried though, if he’s having issues with converting his massive following, how are the rest of us going to fare?

    • Hans Maerker

      HI Rachel,
      If you have a PC, then go and have a look at Serif’s PagePlus X6. It’s a strong competitor to Adobe’s InDesign and cost just a fraction of it (100.00 USD). Version X6 (16) is the latest one and us it since version 9.

      • Carol Tice

        Thanks for the useful suggestion, Hans!

    • Carol Tice

      Yeah, I hear you on that. 😉

      I think his larger point is that you have to do a LOT of marketing to reach MORE people…as you see Guy doing with this video and many other events he’s doing all over the blogosphere to promote APE.

  5. Tom Bentley

    Good stuff, Carol. I’m a third through APE, and it’s a detailed assessment of the publishing world, traditional and self (and hybrid), and offers solid and detailed advice on how best to produce and position your book. I’ve self-pubbed one novel, had a small press publish a short-story collection, and am shopping a new novel to agents, with the thought I’ll turn to self-pub if no one picks it up.

    As you guys discuss, the marketing burden for authors—particularly unknowns—is damn heavy either way, traditional or self-pubbed, but that is just a fact now; lamenting that won’t sell any books. Obviously it’s best to work on your audience/platform/best-friends-you-eat-pie-with well in advance of publication, but it’s never too late to start. Use Seth Godin’s “Tribes” as a springboard.

    • Carol Tice

      Ooh, could we be best friends who eat pie together? Maybe we could have a Google hangout and all do that or something — sounds awesome!

      • Tom Bentley

        Ahh, pie, the universal antidote for all ills…

  6. Ricki

    Great interview–thank you! I’m someone who went in the other direction; I first self-published a few years ago (and was happy with how it did) and now am about to have my first cookbook published by a traditional publisher. I do agree with the points about marketing (it was SO. MUCH. WORK!!) but I also can see how certain issues are easier with a publisher, despite losing some of the control over the process.

    And while it’s true that you earn more per book when you self-publish, I’m not sure that’s enough to convince me it’s the better way. Most of us don’t have 6 million followers, and, apparently, even that number isn’t enough to guarantee robust sales. So even if someone earns more money per book self-published, if their reach is very small, they will do better with a traditional publisher, who can get their books into local bookstores across the country (or, in my case, across the globe) that the individual writer couldn’t accomplish. It will be interesting for me to see which of my two cookbooks earns me more money in the long run! 🙂

    • Carol Tice

      It definitely will. When last I checked, I’ve sold many more copies of my self-published ebook than my traditional publisher sold of my print book they got into all the airport Hudson News outlets. So hard to know which way will be best these days. And of course profit margins are much better for me on the ebook!

  7. Julia Weston

    Thank you so much for sharing this video. I’m a writer who followed traditional publishing for several years and, during those years, self-publishing was this sort of amorphous thing. I took a break for a few years (I have two small children), but I recently plunged back in – and I’m so (pleasantly) surprised so see how self/indie publishing has “come into its own.” I’m encouraged by this video, and I appreciate you both taking the time to discuss the process in such detail. APE is going on my reading list!

  8. Flora Morris Brown


    I was delighted with your interview of Guy. I dubbed APE the new self-publishing bible in my review of it on Amazon.

    As one of the 60 beta readers of APE he mentions, I read it several times before publication. Like some of the commenters, I didn’t agree with all of his advice. I don’t urge anyone to invest in expensive software such as InDesign, for example, unless you are ready for the steep learning curve and have aspirations to lay out manuscripts frequently.

    As Guy indicated in the interview, he and Shawn gave loads of technical detail, but he knows that every author won’t embrace doing all the tech stuff herself.

    I love the way that they are naming their revisions, which shows the fun you can have when you have the control that self-publishing allows.

    Having published through traditional publishers in the past, it was a no-brainer to go with self-publishing. As Guy points out in the interview, you still have to do the marketing yourself.

    The way he crowdsourced it is an amazing model for the rest of us.

    I’m so glad that he mentions the author services that delude authors into buying the huge minimum rather than going with the print on demand.

    By the way, there’s a new item, the Espresso Book Machine, available in selected bookstores and some libraries where they print your paperback book while you wait. I wrote about that on my blog recently.

    Talk about being a fabulous and giving person, Guy freely lists his cell phone #. Amazingly, he says no one has abused it.

    The most important takeaways are we must write our books for the right reason and we must do our due diligence in building our followers.

    Thanks for this interview.

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Flora —

      Sounds like you had many of the same favorite highlights as I did! I love the idea of naming versions of the book.That’s so cool that you were one of the readers on it.

      I’m with you — I despair at the word “InDesign” – they used to use it at one of the papers where I was a staffer and I know it’s so complicated, and definitely not for me. But they give many options in the book.

      You know that everyone can expect for me to ask for beta readers as I prep my rewrite of the Make a Living Writing ebook this summer. 😉

  9. Mark Kleszczewski

    Great video interview with Guy, thanks for sharing!
    A split-screen video version is so much better than just an audio recording.
    Did you Skype to set up and record this?

    Lots of really valuable questions, comments and resources from both of you. I especially liked Guy’s offer of templates, info about pricing models and how he crowdsourced the editing of his book. Also great to hear specific examples and feedback on services like Createspace and Lightning Source.

    If you do a follow up, it’d be great to learn about where to find “digital publishing managers” who will take care of the technical aspects of the process for me, so that I can focus on the writing and marketing of the content. (e.g., buying and learning InDesign would be a waste of my time and skills.)

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Mark –

      I use Skype Call Recorder, which has a “side by side” view recording option — glad you like!

      I would assume the way you find any other type of freelancer, Mark — ask around your network, ask authors whose self-published works you thought were well designed who they used… 😉

      I know Sean Platt has a digital publishing arm these days and is cranking out books, so you might check with him — his site is the Digital Writer.

      • Mark Kleszczewski

        Excellent, thanks! If I find anything that would be useful to others on this topic, I’ll be sure to share.

  10. Holly Bowne

    That was great! A year ago, I wouldn’t have ever considered self-publishing, but the more I learn, the more viable an option it seems. Loved the interview and all the helpful info–even for fiction writers. Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. Stan Stinson

    Great interview…makes me want to re-read my version of APE. Great information!

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