Some Self-Publishing Advice from Guy Kawasaki

Some Self-Publishing Advice from Guy Kawasaki

I wrote last week about the pros and cons of self-publishing and a reader pointed out to me Guy Kawasaki, author of the new book, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. As you might have guessed, the book is all about Kawasaki's knowledge on self-publishing. The book is available for $9.99 at Amazon, but Kawasaki was kind enough to share with us his list of reasons why you should self-publish. What makes all of this even cooler, is after Christmas I'll be publishing an exclusive Q&A with Guy Kawasaki, but for now here are his top ten reasons to take the plunge and self-publish. I believe you'll find his argument for self-publishing very enlightening.


Palo Alto, CA— Self-publishing is on the rise. The number of self-published books produced annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled, growing 287 percent since 2006. Established authors are abandoning traditional publishers to self-publish. The “Big 6” are scrambling to keep up by launching their own self-publishing arms, but traditional publishers’ mentalities and sensibilities are incompatible with self-publishing.

“The publishing industry is in upheaval, and it’s time to shift power to writers,” said Guy Kawasaki, author of APE: Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book, which was released today. “Self-publishing takes the opposite approach to traditional publishing, democratizing publishing so that unproven authors can rise to the top because of the quality of their writing and their moxie.”

Guy recommends the following reasons why authors should self-publish their books.

1.     Content and design control. Self-publishers can control what’s in a book, how long it is, and how it looks. They only answer to themselves for most aspects of their books.

2.     Time to market. Self-publishers can get their book to market in less than a week once it’s copyedited. Traditional publishers take six to nine months to get a printed book to market, and they will not release the ebook version earlier than the printed version.

3.     Longevity. Self-publishers can keep their book in print forever—or at least as long as it takes for readers to discover it. Traditional publishers stop marketing a book once sales decline.

4.     Revisions. Self-publishers can revise books immediately with online ebook resellers and printers that are working “on demand.” Traditional publishers can take months to fix errors because they print revisions after they’ve sold off current inventory.

5.     Higher royalty. Self-publishers can make more money. Amazon pays a 35 percent or 70 percent royalty to ebook self-publishers. On a $2.99 ebook, most authors make approximately $2.00.

6.     Price control. Self-publishers can change the price of their book at will. For example, they can set a lower price to try to sell more copies or set a higher price to communicate higher quality.

7.     Global distribution. Self-publishers can achieve global distribution of their ebook on day one. For example, Kindle Direct Publishing will list an ebook in one hundred countries. Apple’s iBookstore reaches fifty countries.

8.     Control of foreign rights. Self-publishers determine who buys foreign rights and for how much. They can make more money because they are not sharing foreign-rights revenues with a traditional publisher.

9.     Analytics. Self-publishers can receive real-time or near real-time sales results. Traditional publishers provide twice-a-year royalty statements—imagine running a business with two sales reports a year.

10. Deal flexibility. Self-publishers can cut any kind of deal with any kind of organization. Traditional publishers only sell to resellers except for bulk sales of printed books to large organizations.


About Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki is the co-author of APE: Author, Publisher, EntrepreneurHow to Publish a Book (ISBN 978-0-9885231-1-1) with Shawn Welch. The book’s thesis is powerful yet simple: filling the roles of author, publisher and entrepreneur yields results that rival traditional publishing.  See what people think of his self-published book.


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