Guy Kawasaki Goes APE over Self-Publishing

Frances Caballo and Guy Kawasaki


   By Frances Caballo




I recently met Guy Kawasaki, the social media ninja and author of 12 books, at the San Francisco Writers Conference. I’ve known about Guy for years, followed him on Twitter, read his book What the Plus!: Google+ for the Rest of Us, and regularly use his website to curate content for clients. Naturally, I wondered what this guy would be like in person.

Guy is the epitome of social media: he’s accessible, authentic, knowledgeable, generous and hilarious. He’s also amazingly unpretentious despite his incredible success and formidable talents and at every turn spews great content.

He was at the conference to promote his book, deliver a keynote address (for free) and talk with indie authors. For his first 10 books, he turned to traditional publishing houses but he self-published his most recent books, What the Plus! and his newest tome, APE: Author Publisher Entrepreneur, How to Publish a Book.


Artisanal Publishing


Don’t call Guy a self-publisher; he eschews the term. Why? He made this point during his keynote address: We don’t linguistically downgrade craft beers or artisan breads as “self-made.” Instead, we consider these specialty items – beer, wine, cheese and bread – to be carefully crafted by skilled artisans.

Guy encourages us to drop the term self-publishing to better describe what Indie authors are: artisanal publishers. That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?


Guy Kawasaki’s 9 Tips for Indie Authors


  1. His Number One Tip for authors is simply to write for the right reasons. Produce great content. In fact, while you’re at it, go all the way and produce a piece of art.
  2. Don’t write a book to make money or to increase your consulting practice. Write to enrich the lives of others, to further a worthy cause, or to meet an intellectual challenge.
  3. Use the right tools when you embark on a book. These include Microsoft Word for word processing, Adobe InDesign, Evernote to keep your notes from disappearing, DropBox to keep your manuscript in the cloud, and YouSendIt to send large files to your editors.
  4. Write every single day. We already know this as writers but sometimes it’s difficult to find the time, right? Well, get up an hour early every morning or use your lunch hour to draft a story. As Nike says, Just Do It!
  5. Create an outline of your book and then distribute it to your friends as a Google Doc to solicit their input.
  6. Build your marketing platform nine months before you publish your next book. You can accomplish this by: curating and disseminating great content on your blog and social media networks, attaining 5,000 followers, tapping your audience for their skills as beta readers and content readers.
  7. Ask your copyeditors, content editors and friends to write reviews on Amazon as soon as your book becomes available.
  8. Hire the best copy editor and cover designer you can afford.
  9. Never give up!

APE Author Publisher Entrepreneur is available on Amazon and Kindle. This is a must-read for all writers pursuing artisanal publishing.  Visit Guy Kawasaki’s blog, “How to Change the World: A Practical Blog for Impractical People.”


 Frances Caballo is a social media trainer, blogger and author of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books. She helps writers and businesses attain their social media marketing and public relations goals. Presently, she is the Social Media Editor for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. Social Media Just for Writers is available on Amazon and at Copperfield’s Bookstore in Santa Rosa.

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