Shawn Welch is an author as well as a designer/developer for iOS apps and is getting ready to launch his latest project, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur — How to Publish a Book. Shawn co-wrote APE with Guy Kawasaki and he took a break from crunch time for finishing APE to answer a few questions for My Book Club for which we are very grateful.
How did writing APE with Guy Kawasaki come about for you?
Long story short, In February 2012 Guy posted an open question on G+ about how to get bullets to show up right in the Kindle (from Microsoft Word), he was working on What the Plus! at the time. I answered his question in the comments section, and then shot him an email telling him I would be willing to help him out where ever he had troubles. He sent me a chapter of his manuscript—complete with complicated formatting—and 10 minutes later I sent him back a MOBI file (Kindle formatted ebook file) and a picture of his book on my Kindle.
This led to me designing and producing the ebook versions of What the Plus!, and the eventual question, “Do you want to co-author a book about self-publishing with me.” The answer to that was obviously yes.
How long did it take from beginning to end for the APE project
Guy and I sat down at a coffee shop in Palo Alto on June 14th, 2012. (Easy date to remember because my niece was born that evening!) Guy worked on the outline for about 2 months (June/July), and we started writing around August 1st. Writing took about 6-7 weeks (Aug/Sept), and editing/polishing took about 8 weeks (Oct/Nov). We sent the final manuscript (all 65,000 words) to a professional copyeditor just before Thanksgiving 2012, and got it back on Nov 28th. I pulled a few all-nighters and produced the ebook files in time for submission to online-resellers on Friday Nov 30th.
Pre-orders started Saturday, December 1st, and the official publishing date is December 10th, 2012! (We’re working really hard to have print available before Christmas as well).
Which do you like better writing or building apps and coding?
That’s a really hard question! It’s interesting though because both are a purely creative process, seeing an idea in your head and punching keys on a keyboard until it’s a reality. I love that feeling. I really feel blessed that I am capable of both writing and coding—not many engineers can do that.
My favorite part of app development is the design and implementation phase. Which is interesting, because my favorite part of writing is the editing/polishing phase. I don’t know why that is…I like the early stages of app development, and prefer the later stages of writing.
I’ll say this, there is nothing more satisfying than opening a box of a book that has your name on the cover for the first time. APE is my fourth book, and that moment of pride and accomplishment still gets me every time. With that said, every once in a while I’ll stumble across a picture on the Internet that has one of my apps on an iOS device in the background and that feels pretty good too!
What are your favorite apps for iPad and iPhone?
If this is based purely on “which app I open the most,” Google Chrome for iOS. Most of the time I use a web browser on my phone or iPad and in recent months started using Chrome over the default Safari.
My favorite app, however, is Flipboard.
My favorite game is Letterpress.
What is your favorite social media platform and why?
I would have to say Google+, but every platform has its purpose. Up to this point I’ve decided to keep my Facebook to friends and family and it works really well to see pictures of my new niece! I’m not as big as Guy and can keep a social network private without causing too much noise. Twitter is a great inbound communication tool. I list my Twitter account in all of my books as a quick and easy way for people to get in touch with me.
But I like Google+ the most and use it every day. I think it’s a good balance of conversation and relevance.
What’s up next for you?
I have an iOS 6 book coming out shortly that was put on hold for APE. I’ll also be speaking at the TAP! 2013 conference in Orlando Florida, Jan 8-11.
Beyond that it’s hard to say! Books, apps, and life!
Anything else you would like to add?
This might seem like a biased statement, but you need to read APE! It is seriously the best book on self-publishing ever written. To be brutally honest, about 3 weeks ago Guy and I were looking at the final manuscript and realized that this book evolved into something so grand, so big, that it was something neither of us expected or could have planned for back in June.
There is so much information in this book it’s scary. As Jason Epstine, former editorial director of Random House and co-founder of On Demand Books, said, “This book will become the standard guide to this new publishing universe.”
APE is available for pre-order on Amazon now. My Book Club HIGHLY recommends this book for anyone interested in writing a book. You’ll learn everything there is to know about not only about self-publishing a book but the whole process of writing a book from beginning to end. Guy’s expertise, life experience, and writing experience combined with Shawn’s technical skills make an unbeatable combination with the end result being the new guide for authors. This road map to writing a book is a bargain at any price.
You can find Shawn on Twitter, Google+, and on anything simple. Shawn will be our guest for My Book Club, with his co-author Guy Kawasaki, on Monday, December 10 at 8 pm EST/5 pm PST. I hope you will join us to talk about APE.
Featured image courtesy of emdot via Creative Commons.