Dan Poynter is the author of 126 books including The Self-Publishing Manual. His seminars have been featured on CNN, his books have been pictured in The Wall Street Journal and his story has been told in US News & World Report. Dan is the leading authority on book writing, publishing and promoting.
1. Tell us about your latest book.
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BOOKS
Book publishing is changing. The Self-Publishing Manual, Volume 2 describes how to take advantage of those changes. This Volume 2 is the sequel to The Self-Publishing Manual (Volume I), the most successful book ever written on the subject.
The book reveals how to use new techniques to write your book faster, new technology to publish it for less, new ways to distribute your book more economically, ways to have fun promoting it and how to profit from your investment by cutting out all of publishing’s’ gatekeepers in the middle.
You will discover how to use social media and social networking to gather information for your writing as well as to alert people interested in your subject about your book.
The production section describes how to wring more value out of your Work with eBooks, audiobooks, LARGE PRINT books as well as regular softcover editions.
2. How did you get started as a writer?
Magazine articles. I was a parachute designer. The manuals we had were dated and poor. They were military texts left over from WWII. I began by writing a monthly column for Parachutist magazine. Those articles became the basis for The Parachute Manual, my first book.
In 1973, I became interested the new sport of hang gliding. Being book oriented by this time, I looked for a book and could not find one. Being a pilot and a skydiver, I knew what to do. It took me just 4 ½ months to research the subject, write the book, have it typeset and printed.
Sales took off like a homesick angel. A year later I was able to move back to California and buy a home overlooking the Pacific in Santa Barbara,
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
I usually look at the day from 35,000 feet. My book tours have me traveling more than 6,000 miles each week. On the average, I board a plane every 2.5 days. I travel from speech to speech.
One third of all book sales are made in the U.S. 47% are sold in the U.S., Canada and the UK. Some 65% of the books in the world are in English.
The rest of the world is waking up. All over the world, people are reading and writing. There is an insatiable demand for information on book writing and publishing. It is easy and fun to find audiences all over the world. See
In the past 2 years, I have flown around the world 11 times. In 2009, I have six round-the-world trips planned.
4. Describe your desk/workspace.
A different hotel room each day. Fortunately, writers can carry their tools with them. Today with computers and high-speed Internet access, writers can work from anywhere.
You have access to the world’s largest library (The Internet). You can contact colleagues for information via email and you can promote your book online.
I am answering this questionnaire from a hotel room in Reno while attending the International Parachute Symposium. My next stop will be the San Francisco Writers Conference.
5. Favorite books (especially for writers)
For an author, the favorite books are those that are sold.
I love it when people bring older copies of my books to seminars and speeches. It is like a family reunion; my children have returned. Many of them are dog-eared, yellow with highlighting and underlined.
It means people are not just buying your book, they are reading and following your advice.
6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you
1. I am a pilot and a skydiver. 1,208 jumps with all the licenses and ratings. Past president of the Parachute Industry Association and past chairman of the board o the US Parachute Association. And I’ve written 8 books on parachutes and skydiving.
2. Never married. (It is more generous to make several women happy than to make one woman miserable).
3. I am the only person on earth who enjoys airline travel. Everyone else hates the experience.
7. Favorite quotation
“I never said writing your book would be easy. I only promise it will be worth it.” –Dan Poynter
“I never met an author that was sorry he or she wrote their book, they are only sorry they did not write it sooner.” –Sam Horn
8. Best and worst part of being a writer
People think you are smarter that you are.
Self-employment and readers who love you.
No days off?
9. Advice for other writers
Capture your research, thoughts and interpretations in your computer. You can use it later.
Do not start writing at the beginning. Computers allow us to start with that story or suddenly-inspired segment. Assemble all your written pieces later.
10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.
Always take two sets of note for your speech.
I was scheduled to speak at an 11 AM breakout session after the 10 o’clock split-general session at the Maui Writers Conference. I took a seat in the empty last row so that I could listen to the 10 o’clock speaker and review my notes for my own presentation. Desiring a caffeine infusion, I reserved the seat by placing my notes in a conference program on the chair and slipped outside to the coffee service. When I returned, the program (and notes) were gone—and no one in the area had noticed them leave.
I informed Sam Horn, the mistress of ceremonies, and bolted over a quarter mile to my room on the other side of the Grand Wailea resort. My second set of notes would save the day but they did not include the marginal customizing notations I had added that morning.
At the end of the 10 o’clock session, Sam asked audience members to look for Dan Poynter’s notes in their paperwork. Then she went to the other split-general session next door and made a similar request but inadvertently substituted the name of another author/speaker Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior).
Meanwhile, with my heart pounding from the long sprint, I headed for the room where I was scheduled for my breakout session. As I set up for the presentation, a woman came in and plopped down in the front row. I greeted her and offered congratulations for coming early and getting a good seat. Resigned, she replied: “Well, I might as well come to hear what you have to say. Millman lost his notes.”
Never share your challenges with the audience. If your plane was late and you got just 2 hours of fitful sleep, keep it to yourself. You are a celebrity, you do not have the challenges of mere mortals. After all, you wrote the book.
And always take two sets of notes.
Where can people buy your books and learn more?
The Self-Publishing Manual, Volume 2
Available as an eBook in ten different formats. $7.97
Available as a printed book (pBook). $14.95
(Even less expensive at Amazon.com)
InfoKits. Detailed information on book writing, production and promotion.
Publishing Poynters Newsletter. Frçç Publishing Poynters ezine. Full of tips and resources on book writing, publishing and promoting. Subscribe, unsubscribe and get past issues.