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Guy Kawasaki on His Latest Book: APE (Fireside Chat with Danny Iny)

  • Megan DoughertyMegan Dougherty

Today is a special episode of the Fireside Chats with Danny Iny, where we’re going to be interviewing one of the most well-known and prolific writers and marketers working today, Guy Kawasaki about his new book: APE! (or Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur)

You see, we’ve noticed how many of our readers and listeners are interested in, writing a book – if they haven’t written one already! And with all of the changes in the publishing industry, more and more people are turning to self-publishing – just like Guy.  It’s not enough to be a great author any more – now you also have to be an entrepreneur and a publisher, too.

So Danny and Guy are going to be talking about what really goes into self-publishing a popular book. Guy uses his newest book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, to explain which steps of a book launch (self-publishing included) are absolutely necessary. And you’ll get a whole bunch of tips on how to write, edit, format, crowd-source and publish your own book.

So let’s get started – those manuscripts aren’t going to draft themselves…

Click here to listen to the podcast:

Danny’s Interview with Guy Kawasaki about APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur

Distilled Wisdom

  • Self-publishing is difficult especially for non fiction writers because of the pictures, captions, bullets, and tables that are difficult to format.
  • Writing a book can be compared to the process of vomiting: you spew out your book as fast as possible and then you spend the next 6 to 9 months refining your vomit trying to get to something that is beautiful.
  • A book will not be art on your first draft.
  • Self-publishing is a craft – comparative to artisan baking or wine making where you control every step of the process. It is a great sense of accomplishment.
  • Traditional publishers tell you what to do every step of the way and you have less control. In self-publishing you have full control, but you also have full responsibility.
  • To avoid the self-published look you need to get a professional copy editor and cover designer.
  • The most work happens in the entrepreneur stage. The most can go right or wrong.
  • You have to SELL your own book, and that is a lot more challenging than people often realize.
  • Crowdsourcing is a great way to get help on every process of APE. Guy got help from 1,200 people for help with ideas, editing and reviewing.


You can find out more about connecting with your audience in a positive way by checking out our Fireside Chats on Product Launches and Effective Webinars. And of course – don’t forget to get a copy of the book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur!

In the meantime, I’d like to hear from you: Have you been thinking about writing a book? Would you self-publish or try to go after a traditional publisher and why?

12 thoughts on Guy Kawasaki on His Latest Book: APE (Fireside Chat with Danny Iny)

Ryan (Manifest Income)

I think in todays age, many writers are finding they have to wear many caps especially if they want to go the self-publishing route.

It can be an exciting and completely overwhelming process all at the same time.

I have a friend that is trying to self-publish her first childrens book (an extremely competitive niche), and I have seen more than enough FB posts from her about the overwhelmed feeling she gets from something so simple.

I’ve always advocated building a good team around you, even if they aren’t directly a part of your business, it helps to avoid taking on every role, otherwise it’s imformation overload and you get burnt out.

I haven’t had the opportunity to listen to the podcast yet, but I think the points in “distilled wisdom” are an important reminder that to launch a successful book campaign, you better be prepared to dig in for the long haul, writing it is only a small percentage of the battle!


Love the detail about getting the rough detail of the draft out quickly 🙂

This information does a great job of breaking down the varying challenges a self-publisher encounters along the way!

Much like internet marketing most assume self publishing is as difficult as slapping together an eBook!

Whether it’s being self-employed, self-sufficient or self-publisher if ‘self’ is in the description it means it’s on YOU!

Helpful post,

Thanks for the effort!


Majid Khan

Very nice “Distilled Wisdom” points, it is surely very difficult for writers to market their own book. Writers belong to a different species of humans, they are intellectuals whereas marketing is a sort of battle. Nice post, good luck


I wrote an ebook as a sample for my website portfolio. It’s only 32 pages long, but that 32 pages took me a month to tweak and get just right after I got through the rough draft. It was a good lesson to me: self-publishing is in no way easy. But the finished product made me realize I can do anything I put my mind to.

These days I’m working on three fiction books and one non-fiction one. The one thing I always get hung up on is the rough draft. I want everything to be perfect from the start, and that is totally unrealistic when writing. However my inner editor always goes “Fix that now!” She’s hard to ignore.

Still, once I’m finished, I’m self-publishing all the way. I’d like to point out that self-publishing isn’t for everyone. It’s fine if you want a company to do all the work for you. There’s nothing wrong with that. But this girl prefers to be in control from start to finish.


I loved the distilled wisdom because it’s honest. Personally, I am getting sick and tired of people who say that self-publishing is easy-breezy and that you can instantly make thousands if not millions of dollars. Not so fast.

Some of us do everything ourselves. We are NOT Guy Kawasaki who has a team of people working with him and for him. Plus, he’s been doing this for years so he has years of experience.

We’re marketing and sales, we’re customer service, we’re IT, we’re the writer, etc. It sucks BIG time when you don’t have a team of people to help you. I would love to hire a web designer and say, “Build my author website and tweak my freelance writer’s website” and keep them safe and secure. But I don’t have a web designer in my back pocket. It’s probably why I am tired and getting kind of burned out. I am doing everything myself. Which brings me to my point about traditional publishers…

It’s easier to work with a traditional publisher because they have systems and processes set in place for YOU, the author. Of course, you must market and SELL your books; however, it’s easier when you have an editor editing your book, an illustrator illustrating your book, a web designer (maybe) who can help you with your website, a literary agent (if you have one) who can talk you and your book up, etc. Do you give up some control? Yes, you do. However, you gain a team of experts who’ve been doing this for years and years. If you’re a SMART author, you’ll pay attention so YOU can replicate what your traditional publisher does should you choose to self-publish a book.

Whew… That was a lot.

Ryan (Manifest Income)

Excellent points Amandah, and I completely understand veering more towards the traditional publishing route.

However, I think if your new the game, as long as your not the person that is easy to give up, you should go self-publishing for your first book.

Not only can it cut down the costs, but it helps you appreciate and LEARN the aspects of each role needed to create a book.

Now am I saying you should design your book cover if you don’t have an ounce of artistic ability in your body? Absolutely not.

There are many services out there, some that are very cheap where you can get some great designs.

Also food for thought, going back to what I said earlier about building a team:

Consider trading your services if you are on a low budget!

If you’re an english major, or the go to person for correct grammar and spelling, then perhaps you can offer to edit someone elses book in exchange for them editing yours (given they are on a close to equal level as you).

The same goes for any other service out there; if you can barter what you’re good at for what you are lacking in skills, you may make the whole process easier.

Personally I like a challenge, but I’m careful when approaching any new project to not push myself so far that I burn out.



One of the reasons I want to learn how to draw (always like to when I was a kid) is so that I could illustrate my books. The same goes for web design. Unfortunately, there are only 24-hours in a day.

Thanks for the reminder about bartering.

When I lived in Arizona, I was apart of a barter exchange networking group and it was awesome! However, I am no longer in Arizona, and the state I am living in now doesn’t have a barter exchange networking group. But I can always contact the group in Arizona. If illustrators and or web designers joined the group, I could offer my writing in exchange for illustrations and or web designs. I’ll have to go through my business card portfolio.

It’s not in me to give up, but some days I want to because it’s overwhelming. This is why I’ve chose to work with a business/marketing coach. I am hopeful that she can help me with my business.


I’m glad I listened! Guy has so much experience to share, and Danny, you did a great job engaging him. Well done.

Marie at Rural Living Today

Great points and encouragement from two successful self-publishers. My background is in print publishing (editorial side) and I totally agree that professional copy editing and cover design make all the difference in an appealing book. Interior formatting is another telling factor that can say “homemade” or “professional.”

We have just started self-publishing, which we’ve found to be a good fit for electronic versions and a fast way to get books out there. For print I might still submit to a print publisher, though it sounds like POD is very doable. For now we’re just planning to publish ebooks on Smashwords and Amazon.

Thanks, Danny and Guy!


Janet Perry

My field, needlepoint, is largely ignored by traditional publishers. With rare exceptions, if a traditional publisher comes out with a needlepoint book, it dies within less than a year.

Sales don’t have a big burst, they continue almost forever and the market isn’t big.

Because I felt my books had enduring value in my field (one is the most comprehensive book on the subject) I didn’t eve think about going the traditional route.

I have three printed books out and dozens of ebooks & projects. Two of the printed books have had two printings and one is going to a third. The newest ebook has been picked up by a distributor of needlewoerk books & will be the first in a series of 12. We are also starting another series of 24 short technique books.

Much as I love ebooks, the current platforms and tools don’t work well for these graphic intensive books, although I continue to research them.

I’d love for a book of mine to be published by a traditional publisher but only because of the street cred it would lend me. In practical terms it’s not worth it.

Marlys Arnold

Terrific advice from Guy! It’s so great to have him as an advocate for self-publishing now. It wasn’t so well received when I chose that route, but I’m extremely proud of the finished product and the fact that it’s still selling well after 10+ years!

No question that the process is overwhelming … writing, editing, designing, marketing, and more. It took me 3 years to finish (I did everything but editing) and get it into the market. But there are so many more options and tools available now that make it MUCH easier than when I had to lay mine out in an ancient version of Quark. I’m working on several ideas now for ebooks, and even interactive iBooks. There’s no way I’d even consider traditional publishing … unless I got that $2 million dollar advance – LOL!

Marlys Arnold,
Author, Build a Better Trade Show Image


Two very important points – get a professional editor, get a professional cover design.

Cover has to be appealing and attractive – it makes the potential reader eager to find out what it covers.

Editing is a must, regardless how good you are at writing. For the very least, it allows a stranger to go through the book and give an honest overview, points out what is not that clear, and where the flow is not that flowing…

Comments are closed.