It was December of last year when I posted my first author-initiated book review. (BIM and Integrated Design by Randy Deutsch AIA, LEED AP, published by John Wiley & Sons. That post can be found here: (LINK))
Perhaps this will become an annual event now, because start-up guru Guy Kawasaki has allowed me early access to his latest book so I could review it for you, the Building Content readers. The book is APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book and it is Guy’s eleventh non-fiction work. I read his first book (The Macintosh Way) in a previous decade and mentioned it here (LINK) when Guy began to offer it for free.
I often say, specifically in terms of novel writing (LINK) that Architects would naturally make great writers. My ongoing call-to-action is for Architects to begin telling the “Thousand Stories” of Architecture that our profession has held to itself. Guy has answered my unspoken request and provided the consummate “how to” for all of us would-be published writers. APE gives Guy’s (and co-author Shawn Welch’s) hard won experience in all the ways of becoming a successful Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur.
The book is thorough in its technical details but it is also inspiring and empowering in “The Kawasaki Way” (Guy, how’s that for crowd-sourcing your next book title?)
Here I have reviewed each of the three sections in light of how an architect-author could relate to – and benefit from – the new book, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur–How to Publish a Book.
In this section, the writers introduce the concept of “Artisanal Publishing,” a term describing writers who seek to lovingly craft their books with complete artistic control in a high-quality manner. What Architect hasn’t dreamed of the Wrightian ideal – a project where they controlled all the design details, even down to the napkin rings? This level of control is the thesis of APE. As an author today you can be that artisan; you can build your own world and present it in its ideal form.
Architects are not poets or sketch artists. Our chosen medium of creativity is bound by codes and regulations and forces of nature. Our work is necessarily influenced, reviewed and approved by others. We except these limitations and harness them in our design solutions. In the book’s second section, the writers address the real world issues of editing, formatting, presenting and pricing a book. But what architect doesn’t deal daily with software compatibility issues, uploading and file sharing challenges, and ever-evolving compliance demands? Whereas this section was offered almost apologetically (“This is the most complex section of APE. You might want to skim it…“) I believe a seasoned architect could take these constraining technical details and eat ‘em for breakfast.
In this final section, the writers take on marketing and sales; “foreign concepts to some authors and despised by the rest.” They just as easily could have inserted “architects” for “authors” in that line. Until recent history architects were neither inclined to – nor allowed to – advertise their services. In the present day economy we all have to be entrepreneurs. As if to acknowledge a untapped potential to propel our art through these rough-and-tumble business practices, the writers quote the iconic fictional architect Howard Roark, saying, “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” (Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead)
I believe this book will be indispensable to self-publishing writers for years to come, and I hope it will be instrumental in helping us to tell the “Thousand Stories of Architecture.”
Here are the books’ details:
- Title: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur–How to Publish a Book (ISBN 978-0-9885231-1-1)
- Ship date: 12/10/12
- Price: $9.99 Kindle ebook http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AGFU5VS
- Website: http://apethebook.com/