Guy Kawasaki Goes APE Over Self-Publishing -- Part 3

In this interview, Guy shares his thoughts on publishing and why he decided to forgo the traditional model and go indie.
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Welcome to part three of my interview with Guy Kawasaki who has written 12 books, 10 of which were traditionally published. His newest book, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur -- How to Publish a Book, which helps people understand how and why to self-publish. Guy shares his thoughts on publishing and why he decided to forgo the traditional model and go indie. In this interview Guy talks about where he feels publishing is headed!

Penny: Now that you have experienced self-publishing, and you have talked to a number of people and you have done an enormous amount of research for this book, where do you see the independent publishing industry this time next year?

Guy: That is a good question. Independent publishing is a huge step on the path of the democratization of information. We have gone from the Pope having monks and scribes to people who were lucky enough or rich enough to buy something printed by Gutenberg. This was already a big jump. Then there was desktop publishing i.e. a Macintosh, Pagemaker and a laser printer. Next all you needed was a website or blog and a host. Now if you have a computer, a word processor and Internet access, you can sell your book on Amazon. This is a beautiful thing. I am not saying that all that stuff is going to be good, but at least you have a shot.

Penny: I have to applaud you; for years this industry was frowned upon. It was like, "oh well, you couldn't get a job elsewhere, so there you go." You couldn't get published traditionally so I guess you are just going to print books in your garage and put them in the back of your car and sell them that way. For somebody like you to go this route, that is an awesome thing for this industry. Thank you for doing that. Years ago Stephen King did this with an eBook, before eBooks were so hot. Back when you could download it off a website and you had to read it off your computer, Stephen King did this, so as more people who have options go with traditional publishing do this, I think it will help the industry.

Guy: I think so, too. Every industry or every revolution needs an inspirational example. It could be Amanda Hocking. It could be E. L. James. An example or two doesn't necessarily mean there is a trend. Think of all the people who started tech companies, but there's only one Apple. But at least you know that it can be done and that is empowering.

Penny: Absolutely, it can be done. It also brings credibility to the industry. I noticed that you had a blurb by Seth Godin, who I think is just wildly brilliant. He has been saying for years that publishing is broken, before everyone was saying it. He probably gave his publisher a stroke when he decided to give away copies of The Idea Virus years ago, before the book's on-sale date. But, these are the kinds of things that help to bring more attention to an industry. Publishers are great, they do great work, but they don't always spot the best books. They don't have the time.

Guy: How many of us would go up to a person who is working in her artisanal bakery, artisanal winery or artisanal brewery and say, "You couldn't get a job at Gallo, huh? Couldn't get a job making Twinkies? You couldn't get a job at McDonald's so you had to start your own restaurant." Give me a break!

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur -- How to Publish a Book, by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, is currently available as an ebook ($9.99) and will be released in paperback ($24.99) January 7, 2013. Visit for more information.

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