Remembering Dan Poynter

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Dan Poynter (1938-2015)

Dan Poynter (1938-2015)

Dan’s Celebration of Life will be held on January 15th 2016 at 2:00 PM at 199 Winchester Canyon Road, Goleta, California 93117

By Patricia Fry

It is with a heavy heart and sincere gratitude that we offer this tribute to Dan Poynter, who slipped away from us November 2, 2015.

Some refer to him as a self-publishing guru. He’s been called the godfather of self-publishing and a legendary publishing icon. Certainly, this is how many authors thought of him. And all he wanted to do was help.

Through his workshops, consultations, and books, Dan helped thousands of authors live their publishing dreams. He was our guide through the daunting publishing process. He paved the way toward self-publishing success. I doubt there’s a successful independent publisher among us who didn’t study his Self-Publishing Manual.

He learned about self-publishing the hard way. In 1972, he went searching for a guidebook on his favorite sport, parachuting. When he couldn’t find one, he did what many of us do—he wrote one—and he figured out how to publish it and market it himself. When he realized that he was among an elite few who had discovered a way to produce a book without having to rely on an established publisher, literary agent, or other middleman, he decided to teach what he learned by producing The Self-Publishing Manual.

Throughout his impressive career, Dan Poynter also supported and, in many cases, guided several organizations formed on behalf of authors—Independent Book Publishers Association (formerly Publishers Marketing Association), the Cat Writers’ Association, and SPAWN are among them. He was on the advisory board of SPAWN since its inception in 1996.
Thank you, Dan, for all of your selfless contributions. We will miss you.


by Barbara Florio Graham, publishing consultant & marketing strategist

I contacted Dan Poynter right after he wrote his first book, The Self-Publishing Manual, which was published in 1979. At that time, I wrote a resources column that appeared in the newsletter of the Periodical Writers’ Association of Canada (PWAC was later renamed the Professional Writers’ Association of Canada), Freelance, the newsletter of the Saskatechewan Writer’s Guild, and the Canadian Writer’s Journal.

In my column I reviewed books on writing and publishing as well as software for writers and either solicited review copies or was sent these by authors who were familiar with my column.

Dan’s book impressed me, especially when compared with other books about publishing. He and I began to correspond, he sent me subsequent books to review, and asked me to become one of his Book Shepherds when he first began that listing in his widely distributed newsletter, Publishing Poynters.

This listing began my consulting career, which has flourished to the extent that authors now find me by word of mouth and referrals from editors. I still receive the occasional email from someone who saw my name on the Publishing Poynters list of Book Shepherds.

Dan became a mentor and a friend. He regularly mentioned my Canadian Library List, which always produced sales, and he invited me to become a judge for the first Global E-book Awards.

When Dan and I were both invited to speak at a Cat Writers’ Association conference in Houston, we finally met in person. What a big hug that was!

I’ll miss Dan as a friend, but more as someone who was continually finding ways to promote and market self-published books. Many of us have learned how to do this from him, and then built on his advice to develop our own techniques and expertise.

Dan was the master. He leaves a huge void.

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