Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Is Guy Kawasaki An “Expert” On Digital Publishing?

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a short Review of APE ~ Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki & Shawn Welch.

In that review, I said:

“…about 90% of what’s in the book is available with a bit of intelligent searching on Google.

“I’d estimate about 70% is available through this blog—either what I’ve said or sources I link to.

“Please realize I’m not saying you shouldn’t read this book—just be sure you don’t accept it as the “full package” it’s being marketed as…”

My dictionary defines “expert” as: “a person who is very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area”.

Does what I said in the review make me an “expert” on digital publishing?

My answer would be no

I wonder why so many folks are calling Kawasaki an “expert”

Let me share some things he said on Digital Book World in the article The Top Ten Mistakes Writers Make When Self-Publishing a Book and let you judge whether he really knows what he’s talking about {by the way, I’m not saying what he says is “wrong”, just that, in many cases, it’s not the whole “truth”—i.e., it only applies to certain kinds of digital publishing…}:

Kawasaki’s Top Ten Mistakes when writers self-publish:

1. Writing for the wrong reason.

2. Not hiring a professional copyeditor.

3. Designing your own cover.

4. Not building your marketing platform in advance.

5. Using a word processor other than Microsoft Word.

6. Inadequately testing your ebook.

7. Selling only an ebook version.

8. Depending solely on social media and word of mouth.

9. Not tapping the crowd.

10. Having only one plan.

Naturally, if you follow the link to that article, you can see what he says about those 10 points.

Mr. Kawasaki is very popular

Mr. Kawasaki has a tremendous following

Mr. Kawasaki will make a lot of money from his book (and, because of his article on Digital Book World, he will sell even more)



Is he an “expert” because he “repackages” what others have been saying for a number of years?

Certainly, his book and that article could very well be what he learned from his own experience


Most of it had already been learned and was freely available on the ‘Net

Just to be absolutely clear, I’m not at all saying he did anything “wrong”; but, is what he did all that “right”?

Care to share your ideas in the Comments?
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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8 responses to “Is Guy Kawasaki An “Expert” On Digital Publishing?

  1. Jane Watson February 4, 2013 at 8:28 am

    I cannot see how Kawasaki or anyone else could feel that Microsoft Word was made for writers. It was made for Microsoft. Scrivener was made for writers… and there are many free word processors out there which Scrivener can export to that do just as well as MS Word. Once Word was cutting edge, now it is just another piece of software…’nothing has the paragraph styles capability of Word..’ Really? Has he never heard of Pages or Nisus Writer or Mellel? :-)


  2. Alexander M Zoltai February 4, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Thanks for weighing in on this one, Jane.

    You’re experience as a serious writer is important for folks on this blog to hear


  3. Barbara Blackcinder February 4, 2013 at 9:35 am

    He certainly has his opinion.


  4. Alexander M Zoltai February 4, 2013 at 9:36 am



  5. Barbara Blackcinder February 4, 2013 at 9:37 am

    And I agree with Jane, I’ve fought with Word continually over their formatting.


  6. Alexander M Zoltai February 4, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Ah, yes, Barbara, Fighting With Word :-)


  7. chaunce.stanton February 4, 2013 at 10:40 am

    I will say that the proof is in the pudding. Beside being full of helpful live-linked resources, the book itself practices what it preaches. Being an expert certainly doesn’t necessarily entail being original, so I would remove that premise from the discussion. Kawasaki has a lot of experience in both traditional publishing and self publishing – certainly more than anyone who would typically be attracted to a helpful manual for self-publishers in the digital age. I do think he missed the mark when it came to Microsoft Word versus Scrivener, but because he is only human, he may come around on that. He has no reason to be a fan of Microsoft, after all!


  8. Alexander M Zoltai February 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Ah, yes, Chaunce, his time evangelizing for Apple


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