Ashley Zeckman

Fireside Chat with Guy Kawasaki: Self Publishing & Marketing Your Own Book – #NMX

Ashley Zeckman     BlogWorld NMX, Online Marketing

Guy Kawasaki NMX Las Vegas“I love Las Vegas.  I love New Media.  What’s not to love?” – Guy Kawasaki

Day two of NMX Las Vegas kicked off with a fireside chat between Mark Fidelman (@markfidelman) and Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki).  Guy is well known for his work at Apple, as founder of Alltop, as well as his books and speaking.

In the interview Guy discussed everything from the devices he uses to what he’d like to change about social platforms.  However, the highlight of the conversation was surrounding Guy’s new book APE: How to Publish a Book.

What Is APE?
APE is a book for authors looking to stray from traditional publishing in favor of self-publishing.

Why Guy Wrote APE
After taking the more traditional route with his book Enchantment, Guy ran into a roadblock.  He took an order for 500 copies of the eBook version of his book, but the publisher could not fill the order.  That inspired Guy to self-publish his next book, What the Plus! a book about Google+.

As Guy was going through the process of self-publishing his book he found that it was more difficult than he had anticipated.  APE helps other authors looking to self publish throughout the publishing process.

The Stigma Attached To Self-Publishing
In the past, self-publishing was reserved for authors that had been rejected by a traditional publisher.  Because the work wasn’t perceived as good enough to be picked up, authors were forced to invest on their own.  According to Guy a more accurate term for the new era of self-publishing is “artisanal publishing”.   Similar to the way that an artisan cheese or wine may be prepared in a small batch with lots of TLC.

Unfortunately many still believe that the majority of books that are self-published are filled with crap.  To be honest, there are a lot of books published under a more traditional model that are also filled with crap.  Guy shares, “I believe the more people writing books the better the business will be.”

Marketing A Self-Published Book Is Tricky
The key to understanding how self-publishing functions is acknowledging that marketing the book is going to be the hardest part.  Many authors either don’t understand how to market, or detest marketing.  When marketing a self-published book it is essential that you leverage your own networks and marketing know-how to get your book in the hands of the people that you want reading it.

You can even begin planting the seed before your book is published.  Utilize your existing social networks to begin sharing reputable stories and articles about the topic you’ll be writing about.  That way when your book is released your followers will already view you as being knowledgeable on the topic.

How Guy Kawasaki Got 50 Reviews The Day His Book Went On Sale
Before releasing APE, Guy sent a request to “4 million of his closest friends” asking if they could review the format of his book and provide feedback.  A little while later he also sent a request to the same group of friends asking if they would like to read his manuscript and send back their edits.  Two hundred and fifty of the people that Guy reached out to agreed to read his book, and did end up submitting edits.

Guy reached out those that reviewed his manuscript and asked if they would mind creating a review as soon as the book became available for purchase.  Of the 250, fifty of them wrote a review immediately.  Why? Because they’d already read the book and had been involved in creating it.  Each of the 250 people that sent Guy edits were also included in the credits for the book as a way of showing his appreciation.

Using Social Media For Book Promotion
Guy believes that social networking is a means to an end.  His strategy involves providing great and useful content to his followers constantly and promoting your own agenda only from time to time.

The investment of time and resources that goes into self-publishing your own book is not to be taken lightly.  To truly find success with self-publishing you need to have:

  • A topic people want to read about
  • The drive and know-how to market your book appropriately
  • An online network that you can tap into to spread the word

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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Senior Director of Digital Strategy for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.


  1. Avatar Michele Price says

    Yes Ashley, Guy gets lots of extra points in my book because he truly focuses on how to be inclusive, while staying aligned to his own objectives.

    Now you have me reminiscing what it was like to interview him. He was an interesting mix of straight forward and generous. We can always use more of us standing in that space — inclusive, focused, straight forward and generous.

    Thanks for a nice overview of his talk, I had to miss 2/3 of it.

    • Hi Michele –

      Guy certainly didn’t hold any punches (which was refreshing). Glad you found my recap useful! Are you enjoying the conference?

  2. I have been looking up different ways to self publish and
    have occasionally wondered what the hardest part of self publishing is. Guy
    helped me understand a little more about the self publishing world and what, he
    felt, was the toughest part. I am just wondering how he had 2 million friends.
    If I have a smaller social network how am I supposed to get the same kind of
    feedback on my book? What would you suggest to the person who only has a few
    close friends? Is it possible to take the same approach as Guy did to