Jason Hartman talks with self-publishing guru Dan Poynter who spent eight years researching a labor of love. Realizing no publisher would be interested in a technical treatise on the parachute, he went directly to a printer and self-published. The orders poured in and he suddenly found he was a publisher himself. In 1973, Dan became interested in a new aviation sport, couldn’t find a book on the subject so he sat down and wrote one. After four months of writing and intense research that took him from coast to coast, he delivered the manuscript to the printer. So far, Hang Gliding has sold over 130,000 copies-a best seller!
Continuing to write, Dan has produced more than 76 books and revisions so far, of which some have been translated into Spanish, Japanese, Russian, British-English and German. Over the years, Dan has developed a system of writing that makes it all so easy and fun. His books are loaded with facts and figures and contain detailed inside information. They are always up-to-date because he revises them before going back to press. Dan has sold millions of his books, including several best sellers, for ten of millions of dollars in sales. Many of his books sell at the rate of 10-20,000 copies per year, every year.
For many years, Dan ran Para Publishing all by himself. In fact, he was often billed as the world’s largest one-person publishing company. As a one-man show, an author/publisher who handled all the writing, publishing and promotion, office management and shipping himself, Dan is in the best position to advise a first time self-publishing author who is on a limited budget. Today, Dan has staff, a number of products and services (books, reports, tapes, disks, seminars, etc.) and a large suite of offices with a 360 view of the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Dan has traveled to more than 40 countries and he has even skydived into the north pole. He has written several technical books on parachutes and popular books on skydiving. When you have your own business and control your own product, you can pursue your dreams.
Dan’s work for publishing was recognized by the Publishers Marketing Association when they gave him the Benjamin Franklin Award. He was given the Irwin Award for the best electronic promotion campaign by the Book Publicists of Southern California. He is a past vice-president of PMA.
Dan Poynter’s seminars have been featured on CNN, his books have been pictured in The Wall Street Journal, and his story has been told in U.S. News & World Report. The media comes to him because he is the leading authority on book marketing, promoting and distributing. Dan was prompted to write The Self-Publishing Manual because so many publishers wanted to know his secret to selling so many books. Dan is one of the publishing industry’s most energetic, experienced and respected leaders. He lives in Santa Barbara.
Dan founded Para Publishing in 1969 to collect, process, publish and disseminate critical safety information on parachute design and skydiving techniques. Initially in North Quincy, Massachusetts, it was moved to Santa Barbara in 1974. The company expanded into other books, tapes, reports, disks, seminars, speeches, consulting, etc. on other subjects. It published the first book on hang gliding, a circular book on Frisbee play, the first book on word processors, the first laser-typeset book, it was the first publisher to send galleys by modem, published the first book on speech recognition for writers and many other firsts. The company publishes several authors and most of Dan Poynter’s work.