OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
Podcast: Download (Duration: 29:01 — 6.6MB)
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Dan Poynter started his self-publishing career in 1969 as a 1 man company with a book on parachuting and now has more than 120 books in multiple languages published across the world as well as staff, multiple products and an international speaking career. His “Self Publishing Manual” is one of the key books that self-published authors use to navigate the journey, and Dan is a legend in the self-publishing community.
[Update: Dan Poynter died in 2015.]
In this podcast, you will learn:
- Why Dan started self-publishing. He had a technical book on parachuting, so he printed it and sold to people in his own industry.He's seen no reason to change that approach. The main secrets are “Write what you love. Sell to your friends”.
- That rule works for non-fiction but fiction authors can also self-publish, as long as they promote. Focus on a certain area e.g. geographic, industry or sport. Example of fiction novel based on skydiving industry that sold well to that industry. Whatever you do, you have to promote your book.
- There never was a stigma of self-publishing within the book buying public. People don't buy based on publishers, or even author name a lot of the time. Stop focusing on the publishing industry and focus on the end buyer and how they make a decision.
- Dan talks about the opportunities in digital publishing, including Smashwords where he published the latest version of “Self-Publishing Manual”. The future is online and ebooks, which Dan has been reading for years as a frequent traveller. He also comments on the Amazon Kindle 70% royalty change. The future publishers are Amazon, Google, Apple – not NY publishing.
- Remember you are a content creator, so put your book into audiobook and ebook format. Reach people where they are consuming. Dan even has an iPhone app here.
- Although many people self-publish, many of them fail to make money. There are 4 steps to publishing: Create the book, Publish it, Distribute it and Promote it. Most people fail on the last step so no one ever knows about their book. Promotion is up to the author, whether they are ‘traditionally' published or self-published.
- On being an introverted writer and still promoting and marketing. Look at the line of total introversion to total extroversion. Decide where you are and what type of person you are. Give yourself permission to market according to your personality type e.g. don't do radio or TV if it is not for you, focus on online.
- Dan's business model as author-entrepreneur. Based on “Write what you love. Sell to your friends”. Create books in multiple versions. Sell other products like digital downloads of special reports and other information. Think globally and sell to everyone in the world digitally.You could also consider speaking as an option if you enjoy that as many people enjoy getting information at seminars and live events. (I met Dan at National Speaker's Association Australia
- You can find all Dan's free information, as well as books and digital material at Para Publishing. Dan is also on twitter @DanPoynter
Publish a book says
Thanks for this post. I love Dan’s simple mantra about 4 steps to publishing: Create the book, Publish it, Distribute it and Promote it
Erin Jamison says
I have a question about the podcast. I am using a pseudonym and will be marketing online only. Doing radio isn’t a problem right?
Joanna Penn says
no, that’s not a problem – lots of authors do this – you just have to be consistent with the name you are interviewed by.
I find it weird interviewing someone by a name that’s not theirs but it’s done all the time – you could check out these lovely ladies who do this too