My rating: 3 of 5 stars
APE is a very intense look at how to publish a book. It’s great in that it goes through a lot of detail; it’s also overwhelming in that it has a lot of detail. This is definitely more of a desk reference (though the authors provide a digital format so you can receive up-to-date changes). It’s certainly ambitious, and that may be its downfall.
The lead author, Guy Kawasaki, came out of the development community. Perhaps because of this Silicon Valley aura, he is extremely matter-of-fact (even in political jokes). This might turn some readers off. His advice, as helpful as it most certainly could be, might also feel more like a straitjacket than a hug sometimes; there’s just so much to take in.
APE analyzes the “how to” of being an Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur (ie. seller of your book). The landscape is certainly dynamic right now, and Kawasaki claims to offer a comprehensive look. He definitely covers a lot, but I have my doubts over the comprehensiveness of his information; at times, his book reads like an advertisement for certain products. That maybe should be expected of one of the early Apple gurus, but it can be a bit much.
If his personality is anything like his writing voice, he is naturally dynamic, energetic, and constantly trying new experiences. If you’re like most fiction writers, you’re probably not very much like that. Because of that difference in personality, this book can be a challenge. The information is most definitely helpful, but the bam-pow that’s-a-fact presentation might be overwhelming to a reader. (I had to come back and reread several times, because wading through all those lists just didn’t hold my interest.)
I think it’s worth picking up if you are 100% serious and dedicated to the idea of selling your book, even if that means spending a great deal of time and money to do so (with a slight emphasis on nonfiction/self-help types of books that Kawasaki has had experience with personally). I am confident that emulating Kawasaki would get you that result. But that approach isn’t for everyone. There are other, more basic, primers out there. Choose the one that is the best fit for you and your book.