Dan Poynter, Legendary Publishing Icon, Passes Away

November 4, 2015


Yesterday, the IBPA office received the sad news that long-time friend and self-publishing guru Dan Poynter passed away. We will miss him.

Dan was a founding member of IBPA (then known as Publishers Marketing Association), joining in 1983 and participating as an active member ever since. He served on IBPA’s board of directors and participated as a speaker at most of our Publishing Universities. His sessions were often standing room only and what he discussed was always relevant and helpful. To honor his long-standing support of indie publishers, he was awarded IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992.

IBPA is planning a full tribute piece to run in the January 2016 issue of the Independent magazine. In the meantime, Karla Olson, director at Patagonia Books and member of IBPA’s board of directors, provides a personal tribute to Dan below. We encourage you to share your remembrances in the comment section, as well.

A memorial service for Dan will be held on Friday, January 15, 2016 from 2:00 – 4:00pm at The Bragg Farm Event Cabana, 199 Winchester Canyon Rd., Goleta, CA 93117. Please RSVP to Becky@ParaPublishing.com or 805-968-7277. Click here for a copy of the invitation.

— Angela Bole, IBPA CEO / Terry Nathan, IBPA COO

Remembering Dan Poynter

By Karla Olson, Director, Patagonia Books

Dan Poynter was a founding member of IBPA and past recipient of IBPA's Benjamin Franklin Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dan Poynter was a founding member of IBPA and past recipient of IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin Lifetime Achievement Award.

Like many of us in publishing, I first met Dan Poynter in the mid-nineties, when “self-publishing” was a wild frontier. (Many would say it still is, but that’s for another post.) He was the guru, of course, because by that time he’d been doing it for so long. Applying his brilliant business sense, even then he’d figured out the most efficient way to plan (write your back cover copy first, so you know exactly what you are writing and to whom), write (in page format in Word, so you always know how long your book is), and produce a book all on your own. He acknowledged that self publishing was for those who knew their audience better than any publisher could and had a network of people who would help get word out about the book.

These ideas were pioneering then, and they still are today.

But the thing about Dan is even though he was exploring new territory, it didn’t occur to him to keep it close to his vest. He recognized that his strategy was revolutionary, and he was willing to share, help and counsel anyone who wanted to follow in his oh-so-successful footsteps. His website overflows with articles and references, free for anyone. His newsletters pushes his “go independent” message out to the world and makes it accessible to all. His “I can do it” attitude was infectious and exhilarating. His book, The Self Publishing Manual, was the go-to guide for so many that I wouldn’t be surprised if he is acknowledged in thousands of books.

Publishers and Writers of San Diego had the honor of hosting him just a year ago. Although he had been ill, removing himself from his busy tour schedule for a year, he was robust and energetic when he arrived for his presentation. As we drove from his hotel to the meeting space, he told me that he had a goal to amass over 4 million Frequent Flyer miles, and, in typical Dan Poynter style, he’d figured out how to do it. In fact, he’d flown from San Francisco to Denver, then from Denver to San Diego just for the extra miles.

The point is that Dan never did anything half-way, whether skydiving, publishing, or travel. He lived his life to the fullest, accompanied by a giant dose of joie de vivre. I think the most important lesson I can learn from Dan’s illustrious life is not anything about publishing. It is to make the most of every day.

87 responses to “Dan Poynter, Legendary Publishing Icon, Passes Away”

  1. I was saddened to hear of Dan’s passing. Indeed, he helped many thousands of us as we got started in publishing. His book was so helpful to all of us as newcomers.

    A fun memory of Dan: One time at a PMA university, we went around the room, with each person telling something important they had learned over the past year. I still chuckle at what Dan said. He said he had “learned to never fry bacon in the nude.” That had to be 20 years ago, and I’m still chortling over it.

    Thanks, Dan, for all you gave us!

  2. Nicole Wilde says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of Dan’s passing. It seemed from his non-stop, energetic immersion in the work he loved that he was a force of nature that would go on forever.

    When I wrote my first book, someone suggested I read Dan’s Self-Publishing Manual. That book enabled me to go forward with self-publishing my very first book. All these years later with ten books written, Dan’s book is still the very first resource I recommend to any new author. I will always be grateful for Dan’s guidance and the knowledge and resources he made available to us all.

  3. Ken Weiler says:

    It was Dan’s ‘little red book’ “Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual” that gave me the confidence, advice, guidance and step-by-step instructions to get my first book published. That was three books ago. His writing was authoritative and understandable to give complete strangers confidence to make the leap into self-publishing. He will be missed.

  4. Dean Allen says:

    Dan Poynter’s Self Publishing Manual was a gold mine. I bought every updated edition. My biggest disappointment is that it has not been updated in several years. Dan was a wonderful guy who helped thousands of writers like me and inspired us to keep at it against all odds. I never got to meet him, but through his books, I feel like he was a friend that I have lost. I will keep his family in my prayers.

  5. I met Dan in 2000, it was like meeting a rock star. He was such a great, personable force of nature. Always on the move. Always thinking about how we could each achieve our publishing dreams. He helped push me from a self-publisher, toward becoming a traditional publisher, then a distributor. When I asked him to write the foreword to my book, THE SELF-PUBLISHER’S FAQ, he said, “I’d be honored to,” as if it was, rather than the other way around. He was humble and generous, when he had every reason to be otherwise.

    But the time I spent with him that I recall most fondly was when he was in Reno for a parachuting convention. THOSE were his real people. THAT was his real passion. He took me all over the convention floor, introducing me to folks, explaining what this and that was for. Did you know he taught himself to sew so he could create his own parachutes? It was his love of the sport, and then hang gliding that propelled him into becoming the godfather of thousands of self-published books.

    I’ll really miss Dan!

  6. His influence on the whole field of self-publishing was legendary.

  7. back in 1994, Dan Poynter’s wonderful book, 1001 WAYS TO MARKET YOUR BOOKS, showed me how to reach out into the market to share my genre fiction with interested readers. I’m still living his lessons, gratefully.

    • Actually, 1001 Ways is John Kremer’s book (also wonderful). Dan wrote The Self-Publishing Manual

      • Pat Bell says:

        Trivia point: Originally, John’s book was 101 WAYS TO MARKET YOUR BOOKS.

        But we’re talking about Dan Poynter. His passing hit me hard; I’ve lost too many people who were near, dear and influential on me in the past three years.
        I met him for the first time at a planning session for a parachuting conference (it was called “Ballistic something or other” and my husband was involved in the planning). I sat with him at another such conference in San Diego 25 years ago. It was fun as at that time we talked books and publishing. He was, as noted here by others, tremendously generous with his time and knowledge. I think I shall always remember his generosity, his humility, his kindness, his pleasant manner.

        He will be missed — by more than he could ever have imagined.

  8. Cheryl Kirk says:

    What a great, kind, caring person, who always had time for everyone. I met Dan about 15 years ago. I was ‘studying’ to enter the self-publishing business and went to a couple of his seminars. After one of them, I asked if I could buy him a beer and chew his ear about publishing. Without hesitation he said yes, even though he had just spent an entire day motivating people to become masters of their own destiny.

    He shared his insights, but most importantly shared his enthusiasm for what he did. He was an awesome person in every way. One of the nicest people you’d ever meet and the father of self-publishing.

    He will definitely be missed. His books, newsletters, seminars and more are the reason for so many of us took on the journey of self-publishing.

    He was one of a kind. There will never be another Dan Poynter. He will be greatly missed.

  9. I am one of millions who consider Dan Poynter my friend. I called many times and every time, he would pick up the phone, say this is Dan and spend as long as you wanted sharing. His best quote was, There is a book inside of everyone, waiting to be written. He is gone now and missed by many.

  10. I read Dan Poynter’s bible of self-publishing about six years ago, when I was writing my first book and considering self-publishing. His book taught me much of what I know, and I have now self-published seven books. Dan made such a significant contribution to the world of self-publishing, which has become very large world indeed. My road would have been so much more difficult without Dan’s words of wisdom. And Dan was such a generous man. Without my even realizing it for a while, he was reprinting my blog posts in his newsletter — and of course, providing a link to my site. Dan, RIP. You will be missed for your knowledge, your kindness, and your generosity.

  11. Sue Johnson says:

    We met Dan for the first time about 20 years ago at a PMA conference in Chicago shortly after he had made a polar parachute jump with a bunch of Russians! Thanks to Dan’s encouragement and The Self Publishing Manual we purchased back the rights to Grandloving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren and established Heartstrings Press. Dan’s lectures, book, advice, website and generous sharing has shepherded us through 5 self published editions. In large part because of Dan’s infectious enthusiasm, invaluable counsel, and inspirational creativity Grandloving is still going strong! It is with fond memories that we recall the twinkle in Dan’s eye – we couldn’t have asked for a finer mentor!

  12. I first became aware of Dan Poynter when I began writing my now, award winning book, 6 years ago….his advice & encouragement helped me through four years of writing my 370 page History of Costume book with 700 of my own illustrations… Then he gave me courage to reject four legitimate publishers ( plus one, not so legitimate) for various reasons, to instead, open my own Flashback Publishing which,( unknown to me,) was harder to learn book marketing than writing my book!! ,…Now, you publish his wonderful portrait so I can see him up large & personal, for the first time : This reminds me that I once heard, ” After a certain age, you get the face you deserve” ..Dan Poynter’s face is so kind and pleasant, as well as handsome…that It shows everyone one a nice person & great guy he was. Rest in Peace, dear friend.

  13. This is a sad day indeed. Dan was a trusted friend and I will miss him dearly. I first met Dan in Valley Forge, PA more than 12 years ago at the Infinity Publishing conference. We taught at that conference together for more than 8 years and I always looked forward to it. In fact, the above photo was take there by my husband Chad. Dan encouraged Chad and I to follow our passions and we are grateful for his mentorship. Dan always had a smile to share, quick wit to make you laugh, and a thought-provoking story that you could carry with you—Dan shared his knowledge and his love of publishing willingly. We’ll miss you Dan!

  14. I live in Santa Barbara and knew Dan for decades. “The king of self-publishing” was the most generous, knowledgeable, and endearing person, to be spotted everywhere at venues that had anything to do with book publishing. He authored and marketed his numerous books from his beautiful home high on the hill, His passing is a big loss to the self-publishing community, and his expertise and encouragement lie now in the books he wrote. He will be acutely missed. Thank you, Dan!

  15. D.L. Hughes says:

    I first meant Dan in 2003. I’m an American who had been living in New Zealand for the previous 10 years and had started an Indie publishing company there in the late 1990s, which I still operate today.

    One of my first goals after getting back to American shores was to go one of Dan’s seminars. I went to one he conducted at his hilltop Santa Barbara home. I enjoyed the fact that he used part of his bedroom as his office and that his garage was his shipping department. He was a Guru who practiced what he preached.

    Dan has always been an inspiration to me. Not only did he offer valuable advice, but he was always kind, friendly and eager to help.

    In the last few years I have started working with authors and have helped hundreds of them get their books published. Dan was on the leading edge of “The New Book Model,” and I believe the services I offer are in his spirit. He was always an “encourager” and I always try to follow Dan’s example.

    I feel a keen loss with the news of Dan’s passing. He was one of the best of the good guys in the Indie publishing movement.

  16. Leigh Cohn says:

    I met Dan in the early 80s, and his self-publishing workshop and book were instrumental in my first book. I remember being in his house north of Santa Barbara with its magnificent views. He held up his Parachute Manual and said, “This book paid for this house.”
    We also served on the PMA (now ibpa) board in the earliest years of the organization. He loved sharing his newest ideas as the association and publishing world changed. He could be stubborn at times and had strong opinions, but he was also incredibly visionary and inspirational.
    My 35+ year career in publishing would not have existed without him, as I not only learned about creating books but also modeled our very successful consumer catalogue business based on a concept he had tried and then abandoned.

  17. Thank you so much for posting this Karla. I never met Dan but greatly appreciate his part in blazing the trail for indie authors n publishers. We’re blessed we had him! Love to those hurting.

  18. Bob Erdmann says:

    Dan meant so very much to so very many people in so very many ways. Whatever each of our experiences have been with him we will all miss him tremendously. My lasting memory of Dan will be the evening that Jan Nathan and I presented him with IBPA’s (PMA’s) Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grand Hyatt in New York the early 90’s. To say he was surprised would be an understatement as he was very emotional and appreciative of the ultimate award. Speechless, which was not normal for Dan Poynter! See ya later, my friend!!

  19. I organized the Annual PubU event for IBPA for 14 years and Dan was always one of the first persons I contacted to determine what topic he wanted to present that year. I watched him in action on many occasions. He was an incredibly accomplished speaker and had made so many presentations and answered so many publishing questions that he could hold an audience spellbound for hours.

    I once introduced Dan at a PubU event. He handed me a paper with his introduction printed on it. At the beginning of the introduction it read: “Read this introduction verbatim and do not add or subtract anything.” Well, of course I couldn’t accept those instructions and added several quips throughout the bio and ended by calling him a guru of publishing. When Dan took the stage he immediately proceeded to correct all of my asides and made sure that his audience knew he was NOT a guru. Rather, he described himself as someone who had a tremendous desire to help others experience the joys of publishing and do it profitably.

    Dan and I shared a love for book publishing, for helping new publishers and authors, for parachuting and photography. He truly was an icon and guru of our industry and, like Jan Nathan, will be sorely missed. Robin Bartlett, Licensing Manager, Springer Nature

  20. Carol White says:

    Wow. Hard to believe. You are right- Dan was iconic. I have many personal connections to Dan from helpful advice, shared meals in multiple cities, emails sharing ideas — and so much more. My favorite “Dan” story was when we invited him to present in Oregon, sponsored by multiple publishing groups. As one of the organizers, I had the privilege to spend lots of time squiring him around town and helping with set-up for his big evening. I’ll never forget his easy demeanor and kind words. He was truly a gem who will be missed by this community.

  21. When I first decided to write my first book. DRESSING THE MAN YOU LOVE I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I purchased Dan Poynters’ book THE SELF-PUBLISHING MANUAL, and I followed everything Dan told me to do without question. At one point, I had a small question, and when I called the number listed for him, he actually answered the telephone. I remember he was so nice, and so down to earth. It was because of him that I joined The Independent Publishers Association and met so many wonderful people at the various book conventions. I have now gone on to publish my second book this past week, FOREVER IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. Without his guidance, i would still be back there, somewhere, with nothing started. Thank you, Dan, for your devotion to me and to the world of self-publishers.
    Betsy Durkin Matthes (Peter’s Pride Publishing)

  22. Peter Beren says:

    I met Dan when I first entered the wacky wonderful world of independent publishing in 1976 and always respected his expertise and willingness to help others.

    When I lost my corporate job in the Great Recession of 2008 and became self-employed, one of the first things I did was write to Dan and ask his advice. He took my situation to heart and listed me as one of recommended book shepherds and carried me on his web site free of charge! That’s the kind of guy he was.

    Peter Beren
    The Peter Beren Agency

  23. Tracy S says:

    May God rest his soul. When I was researching to write my first book and I was looking for publishing company to publish me I came across his book and thank God I did. Because of his book which is definitely the blue print for self-publishing I was able to publish my first book all my own from start to finish to soup to nuts. He has definitely left a legacy.

  24. Jon Capriola says:

    Dan will be missed. He always helped me and inspired me to write a book which led me to huge success. I’m sadden to hear he isn’t my go to man and I will forever be indebted to his kindness, willing to help and generosity every time we spoke! An amazing guy! I miss you Dan. RIP

  25. I’m so sorry to hear about Dan’s passing. I first “met” him when I stumbled onto his SELF-PUBLISHING MANUAL (1979) in the library and was awakened to the possibilities. That book literally launched a lifelong love of self-publishing for me. Then imagine my surprise years later when I got a phone call from him asking if I’d be on one of his radio shows talking about my publishing journey. It was a dream come true. I know his work helped many indie authors who were stumbling around in the dark. Bobbi A. Chukran, Limestone Ledge Publishing

  26. Mary K Doyle says:

    Dan’s books were my go-to-bible each time I self-published. He offered a clear step-by-step method to self publishing. One of my best birthdays was sitting next to him during lunch at a PubU. I am thankful for his generosity in sharing his knowledge and experience with all of us who followed in his footsteps, as well as his kindness and encouragement. I’m so sad to learn of his passing.

  27. Ed Oakley says:

    About 27 years ago, I spent a long weekend at Dan’s house with half a dozen would be authors learning how to write, publish and market books. From that came “Enlightened Leadership: Getting to the Heart of Change,” first self-published and then, with more of his coaching sold to Simon & Schuster. That book has sold 300,000 copies and was the key to building our worldwide speaking, training & development business. I’ve considered him my friend ever since. He has been such a blessing to so many. You are missed, my friend, and I’m so glad you’re no longer in pain. Blessings and love to you! :-)

  28. Carolyn and I are devastated by Dan’s passing. We first met him at the Los Angeles ABA (BEA) Convention in 1979, when we were promoting our first book and Dan had a table in the Small Press Section at the back of South Hall promoting the first edition of his Self-Publishing Manual. That summer, we began attending his COSMEP Chapter #1 meetings that he started at his home in Santa Barbara to bring together indie publishers in Southern California.

    We served together on the PMA (IBPA) founding Board of Directors, and have visited him through all these years, stayed at his home in SB, and shared booths and many boozy meals at book shows around the country. And we saw him through various accidents and illnesses, including the latest in January.

    Dan was always cutting-edge, ahead of the curve. He worked constantly, wrote over 130 books and over 800 articles on independent publishing, parachuting, sky diving and related sports. He introduced us to do it yourself desk-top publishing (beginning on a Xerox word processor) at the birth of personal computers. He located an affordable home-office copy machine (it was the size of a desk) when most were the size of small cars, and priced about the same. And he wrote what became the Bible of self-publishing. To my knowledge there was only one so-so book on the subject before Dan’s Self-Publishing Manual. He was the bedrock of the independent publishing movement, always exploring new ways to publish and market, and always generous and giving of his time and knowledge.

    We are devastated. Dan was a dear friend. Carolyn and I talked to him not more than a month ago to see how he was doing, and were planning to go see him in Santa Barbara, when we found time. And well…we should have gone.

    • Mindy Bingham says:

      Dear Alan and Carolyn,
      Your message brought back many memories the four of us had over 25 years ago.

      Unfortunately, I didn’t know how sick he was. The last conversation we had he mentioned an off the cuff statement about some health issue but he was fine. When I learned a week ago, it was too late as he wasn’t taking visitors.

      Penny Paine and I got together two nights ago, to share memories of all those years. I hope they have a memorial service for him, but we’ve heard nothing so far.

      It sounds like you are doing well. Perhaps our paths will cross again.

      Mindy Bingham, Mindybcom@aol.com

  29. Michael says:

    Dan was the first authority to start the self-publishing how-to book revolution and I am glad to say that I personally hand sold many copies off Borders’ shelves whenever anybody thought about self-publishing. His book was the best.
    RIP Dan

  30. I was so sad to hear of Dan’s death. When I self-published my first book back in 1984, his Self-Publishing Manual was the only resource I used. I followed his advice to the letter, and it worked. I live in the same neighborhood where Dan lived in Santa Barbara, and I would occasionally see him out jogging in the morning. I also saw him many times over the years at the Santa Barbara book fairs and other events around town. He was always very friendly and courteous. Whenever I had an excess of Styrofoam peanuts (donated by friends), I would email Dan, and he would stop by my home and pick up a few bags of them for his own use as padding in book shipments. He called them “ghost turds.” When he learned that I wrote books for parents, he told me that his mother had been a parent educator in San Francisco and that she wrote a newsletter for many years called “Parenting Poynters.” That’s what gave him the idea for his “Publishing Poynters.” I will miss him.

  31. Tom Woll says:

    I met Dan in the late 1970s, when I was a fledgling publisher and he was the Master of the Universe when it came to his love for, and his involvement with, self and small publishers. Dan’s Self-Publishing Manual was already the bible of the industry and provided clear and sound advice to anyone who read it. The irony is that his book, and his focus on self-publishing, is more relevant today than at any time since it was originally published. Not to mention his willingness to share his immense knowledge of the greater world of publishing with anyone who approached him with a question. I will miss Dan’s smile and his wisdom, but thank him for all he gave to the publishing industry and to those of us who choose to spend our time in it.

  32. Caryl Wolff says:

    I seldom write tributes, but this has to be an exception because Dan was exceptional.

    I took a class from Dan about 25+ years ago at the Learning Annex when I was changing careers from a court reporter to a dog trainer. I don’t even know why I took the class because I had no plans to write anything.

    Dan was a member of the Cat Writers Association and said that if he could write about cats, I surely could write about dogs. I laughed — but I bought his self-publishing manual, which stayed on shelf getting dusty until about five years ago when I started writing. Times had changed with the Internet and Kindle, but his book was an excellent starting point for a new part-time career.

    It was good to see him again when he spoke at our writers group meeting earlier this year. And then I won the Global eBook award this summer, the first time I submitted a book for competition! I was thrilled.

    I’m now working on my tenth book and will be retiring from dog training in the next couple of years — but not from writing, thanks to Dan. I say “Thank you, Dan” every month when those royalties are deposited in my bank account.

    He was simply a heck of a nice guy who helped thousands of people follow their dreams. I am grateful to have met him. He will be missed.

  33. James Peters says:

    I had unsuccessfully tried writing a book for several years. After reading Dan’s book, “Writing Nonfiction” I realized that I was missing a process for organizing and writing my book. For months, I carried around the binder that would later become my book. Thanks to his caring and sharing attitude, he helped this would-be author self-publish his book. Many thanks to Dan for his commitment to helping others. He will surely be missed.

  34. I just found the announcement about Dan my friend and self-publishing guru. Without his books and advice, my non-profit foundation would not exist & my coloring book project would not be in over 40 countries. He will be truly missed. God Bless you Dan.

  35. Alva Sachs says:

    His legacy will live on with all of those who he unknowingly helped to find their path to self-publishing. His work helped me believe in myself to start my own company and learn the ropes to follow my dreams. I read and used his book to find answers to questions I had. I waited each month for his newsletter and promoted my books on his success section. I am proud to be an award winning author of four children’s picture books.
    Such a generous and selfless man who allowed us to be in his company.
    Thank you for believing in all of us even though we never met in person, you were my go to guy. God Bless
    Three Wishes Publishing Company

  36. I met Dan Poynter in 1997 at National Speakers Association – Los Angeles Chapter. I was so green and so eager to learn. My backgound was sales and in 2000 I wrote a sales book for self-published authors. Dan offered to write the forward for me. Imagine how excited I was that Dan Poynter, the self-publishing guru, would actually write the forward to my self-published book.. He did and he actually signed a copy of the published book for me. “Linda, thank you for the HONOR of including me. Best Wishes” and he signed it!!! And, he capitalized “HONOR.” I sent him a note to let him know it was I who was honored and would always keep the book on my book shelf where it is today. As our paths crossed over the years, he was always so generous with information and support. I am sad to hear that he is no longer with us. His legacy will live forever through his work, his books, and the people whose lives and businesses he touched.

  37. Dan”s Self-Publishing Manual gave me my start. I attended his workshop in Santa Barbara, and then was blessed with several BEA conferences (Chicago, LA) to be able to hang with him after hours. Of course, during the convention, every moment was precious for Dan and he was moving at light speed all around the convention hall. Yet, after hours, whether at one of the various wine & cheese events put on by a particular publisher or us heading with a group to a steak house in Chicago or The Stinking Rose in LA…Dan was the fun-loving, happy guy who loved good humor and friendship.

    I was saddened to hear of his passing, having just conversed with him by email about 6 months ago when he was on another of his world-traveling junkets to the Cologne book festival in Germany.

    Such a quality man and friend and advisor.

    Thanks for all Dear Dan!

  38. Devorah says:

    I met Dan early, so early in our self-publishing career. We’re talking decades ago. A sweeter, harder-working, more knowledgeable, more sincere, encouraging and supportive person you could not hope to meet. I learned so much from him. The world, especially the indie pub world, has lost a treasure. Thank you, Dan, for all you did.

  39. Janet Spurr says:

    So sorry to hear about Dan, he was such a true mentor, friend and great man. He loved sharing his amazing insights for publishing. He will truly be missed, but am so glad that he lived his life to the fullest and beyond. He will be a star in heaven.

  40. Amy Knapp says:

    I am very saddened by this news. Dan was a huge influence in my self publishing path. He was very talented, encouraging, fun and humble! Dan you will be truly missed.

  41. Dorothy Molstad says:

    I sat in many of Dan’s PU classes back in the day when i was also presenting. Always learned something new. We became friends and when he published his book about elderly cats i was a contributor. He will be missed in so many ways by so many people

  42. Rita Mills says:

    Dan will truly be missed. He epitomized what book publishing should be about—openness, sharing and education. I am sure he is up there now try to orchestrate something good for the community as a whole.

  43. So sad, but Dan undoubtedly made more of an impact on millions of writers’ lives than most people–quite an accomplishment. We used to run into each other year after year at the check-in desks at so many PMA (yes, back then) events and universities. His teachings live on.

    Don’t Murder Your Mystery
    Don’t Sabotage Your Submission

  44. At a time when it was thought that you needed a publisher to be legitimate, Dan Pointer was the one who consistently pointed out the beauty and benefits of self publishing. A closer connection to those you wrote for and the ability to update and refine your message being just a few. If you were willing to put the work in, the opportunities were waiting for you.

    Years ago I took a two day course from him in Santa Barbara and got to see first hand his excitement, drive, and love of what he did. He was a jewel.

  45. I remember attending the PMA School at BEA in 2003. At the time I was with another small publishing house and had not started my own company. But I remember learning a lot about internet marketing from his session, and yes it was standing room only. He continued to share valuable information over the years, and I’ve read many of his informative articles. My sympathies to his family and friends.

  46. We extend our heartfelt condolences on the demise of Dan Poynter. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

  47. Dan was a good friend to PMA, IBPA, independent publishing and me. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him, loved him, and were inspired by him.

    As long as there are authors publishing books, Dan Poynter will live on. He and Jan Nathan were the father and mother of our industry.

  48. Lee Jackson says:

    I was sad to hear of the death of Dan Poynter, a person I greatly admired and respected. He was very influential in my life. When I started in the mid-80’s there weren’t many places to look on how to self-publish. My original copy of “The Self-Publishing Manual” was all dog-eared, underlined, and marked up as I tried to absorb everything he wrote. I learned so much from him. Not only in the books he wrote, but from his appearances at meetings and just knowing he was someone who could make this self publishing work.

    He will be greatly missed by the publishing community and others. He was a wonderful teacher and mentor. May he rest in peace.

  49. I met Dan in the early 80s at Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference. Through the years he continued to influence and offer me advice like he had nothing else to do that day. What a love. Then on 9/12/01 — I was waiting for my luggage in Memphis when I spotted him next to me at the next carousel. And we hugged and cried for our country and the families affected and how our lives would never be the same. Each time I sent him a book to review; he was so real and kind and often sent me personal advice on how it could be an even better book. I was getting a book ready for him this week actually…I will miss him and send great prayers to his family and friends through this difficult time of transition. He’s putting on his parachute right now…

  50. It is difficult to believe that Mr. Indefatigable is now with us only in spirit.

    Dan always had the time and kind heart to help, well, anyone. I feel deeply fortunate to have known him and been deeply influenced by his generosity and energy. He will live on in each of us whose lives were touched by him, as well as the many thousands who will continue to be influenced by his books. Godspeed, my friend.

  51. Andrea Gold says:

    I’m so sad to hear Dan is no longer with us. Dan was instrumental in my life, even before I entered the speakers bureau business. I bought many editions of his books through the years. And, I know he was a great skydiver. He also “parachuted” many speakers and authors to greater heights themselves through his sharing of valuable data. I also recall his playful side — orchestrating (with video and audio input) a dramatic entrance to a presentation as if he had just parachuted right into the meeting. Dan will be greatly missed.

  52. Peter Bollen says:

    Before I self-published, I wrote to Dan and followed up. Dan always responded kindly. This was back when PMA started. He even sent me his book at the time and it was inscribed to his assistant. I felt so honored as I was a nobody at the time and just seeking advice. When I finally published (successfully) he put my testimonial on his site – the testimonial was from The Colbert Report as “List of Bests” for his books. I looked up to Dan as a great inspiration and leader in the self-publishing movement. Also as a mentor of sorts. I have to thank him and Judy Applebaum (I devoured her book at the time) as two individuals who gave me the inertia and hope to self-publish. So sad to learn of Dan’s passing. What a legacy and fine gentleman. Rest in peace, Dan. You were great!

  53. Dan was an amazing Mentor to me and was always available. He has helped countless independent Authors and Publishers learn what it takes to do what he done for years. My first meeting with Dan was at a workshop at his home. He was so giving and helpful and continued to be throughout his life. I remember Dan talking about his cat dying and he was in middle of writing book in 3 ring binder about losing a cat and he share with us about writing the back cover first and how he could write different parts of the book and change where he wanted them to fall in the book by using the binder. I am so thankful and blessed to have met Dan and used the amazing tools he shared with all of us who attended his workshops. You will be missed Dan but will always be remembered by me and my wife Katharine. RIP peace my friend!

  54. Kaye Thomas says:

    Attended a seminar he gave in Omaha about 20 years ago. It was the most rewarding seminar I ever attended (put me on the path to a successful career change) and to this day when people refer to the Oracle of Omaha I assume they must mean Dan Poynter.

  55. If it hadn’t been for Dan’s book on self-publishing (I think I purchased three editions over the years from him, plus a disk with useful publishing contracts), I never would’ve had the solid start in publishing that has kept me running a company for the last 21 years. Somehow Dan and his book led me to the 800-person strong Publishers Listserv from way back (mid 1990s), where we all continued to benefit from Dan’s insights, experience, and kind touch. What a treasure for all of us. It’s sad to hear of his passing, but I know he lived long and well.

  56. I met Dan on several occasions at BEA. He was always friendly with that wonderful beaming smile of his. There were also a few times when I e-mailed him for advice. I’d always get a super-short reply that contained a footer saying, “When traveling I often send very short replies.” It didn’t matter how short his reply was; Dan’s advice was always spot-on, perfect! I’ve recommended his books on self-publishing to many budding authors. I trust his family are aware that many people are mourning his passing.

    “The More You Do The Better You Feel: How to Overcome Procrastination and Live a Happier Life”

  57. Like many, I was so shocked to learn of Dan’s passing. Somehow these bigger-than-life people are supposed to be around forever for us. I was so grateful to meet Dan at my first ABA in the very early 1980s.

    Living in the middle of New Mexico was not the most inspiring self publishing location in the country. I had the renegade spirit to somehow publish my “Common Cent$ Complete Money Management Workbook” on my own, but really had no guidance. Meeting Dan was like a breath of fresh air. He was patient, kind, and extremely generous in any way he could be for me. Of course I bought the self publishing bible and still have my original marked up copy.

    I looked forward to those annual ABA events when the whole self publishing industry was just coming alive and seeing and hanging out with Dan, Jan, John and all the others. Each year I’d walk away with a head full of new ideas and inspiration.

    What a loss for the new group coming through, although his books and resources will continue to serve for decades to come. Thank you for all that you did for so many of us.

  58. I was absolutely shocked to learn of Dan Poynter’s passing on November 1st.

    Dan Poynter studied everything he endeavored in and became a master at each — some say guru – from skydiving and parachute gear to self-publishing and then stretching beyond these topics to two more. When his aging cat suffered ill health and he grieved her loss. He studied and consulted experts and then wrote a book, The Older Cat: Recognizing Decline & Extending Life. Following a surprising diagnosis with (Myelodysplastic Syndrome) MDS—similar to what TV personality, Robin Roberts’ survived, he again, became a master in the subject following a stem cell transplant in 2013. He created an informative website about transplants and wrote yet another book, Transplant Handbook for Patients: Replacing Stem Cells in Your Bone Marrow.

    I have had many conversations with Dan over the years and three stand out. I’ll share two as one is personal regarding his long-time bachelor status that almost wasn’t.

    He was speaking at a Mega Book Marketing event hosted by Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield.
    He asked who in the audience had skydived.
    I raised my hand and so did a couple handfuls of others. Then he asked how many jumps. One? Two? (I stopped after two.) Five? He kept counting up (skipping numbers) into the hundreds when only two hands remained raised – a man’s and a woman’s. When he reached the low thousands, the woman’s hand was the only one raised. I remember the look of disbelief on his face, almost as if he didn’t believe her. The audience prompted him and he asked her about her experiences. He was truly astounded! And the look on his face afterward was truly memorable.

    He called to talk with me about speaking. He had committed to take advantage of the National Speakers Association’s (NSA) program development offerings in an effort to further grow his the speaking side of his business. (I have been speaking professionally since 1980 and we talked periodically about his speaking. He’d ask for my candid feedback.) I’d heard him speak a number of times and his presentation style reminded me of someone; I just couldn’t recall whom. He’d remind me to tell him when I remembered. And then it hit me at one of his events. Dan Poynter reminded me of Robert Schuller, founder of the Crystal Cathedral and host of Hour of Power. At first, he looked quizzical and then asked, “Really?” He wanted to know what I saw and then he smiled and stood a little straighter. I told him he’d have to tighten the loosened knot of his necktie, though. He moved toward me and I tightened his tie. Impressed by the comparison and a little personal attention, he was almost prancing like a proud cat that day.

  59. Jim Zinger says:

    Dan was a true friend and there to help anyone who needed it. His life was not just about cutting edge self publishing or jumping out of planes. His life was about helping others and you could always count on Dan. If there was something that needed to be done he was always there and leading the pack. I attended many meetings with Dan and his contributions were always right on target and researched to perfection. I had the opportunity to stay with Dan at different events and learned a lot. He will always be a part of my life and a big part of my success. We will miss you.

  60. Mindy Bingham, Academic Innovations says:

    I met Dan in 1982 after reading an article in Money magazine where his book, The Self-publishing Manual was recommended. Over the following 12 years, he was a major presence in my life as together we developed the first publishing workshops at his home in Santa Barbara and co-authored, Is There A Book Inside You.

    Because of his generous spirit, advice and support I was able to start my own educational publishing company in 1990 and this year I celebrated 25 years. Not only did he change my life but the lives of over 2 million young people who have benefited from that effort.

    To this day I use the lessons learned from this amazing mentor and publishing giant and we will all miss his infectious spirit. Rest in Peace dear friend.

  61. Lee Foster says:

    Dan was a great and original pioneer in American thought and commerce, focused on publishing.

    He was a leading advocate for decades for a practice that was once obscure and derided, but is now mainstream: an Author self-publishing his or her books.

    Dan had the vision, which was so American, to be an entrepreneur and take charge of his product, in this case the publishing of books. He had the vision in the era before Technology caught up with him and said, “Yes, Dan. You were right all along. Now we’ll make it easy for everyone.”

    Somewhere in my condo in Berkeley is my dog-eared copy of his inspiring book The Self-Publishing Manual.

    It is helpful to pause for a moment to salute, as they die, the pioneers who created our self-publishing path forward. Then we should return to our daily tasks to advance the visions they made possible, and do our best to present our content creations to a worldwide audience, within structures that we control. Dan Poynter would have wanted us to do this. Our success is his most enduring legacy.

  62. Dan was a friend and mentor, with an amazingly generous heart.

    I once went up to Jack Canfield at BEA and pitched him a Chicken Soup idea. He turned to me and asked, “Are you the same Shel Horowitz who sends me jokes?” It took about ten seconds to process this, and luckily, I didn’t say “Huh???” then I remembered that Jack was on Dan’s jokes list and forwarded a lot of stuff I passed along. So I said yes. We never did do “Miso Soup for the Vegetarian Soul” but Jack has endorsed two of my books, including the front cover quote on my forthcoming Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World.

    Dan often contacted me to see if I would co-present with him at Publishing University; I always said yes, even though I felt that he knew a lot more than I did. He was also very generous in sending me book shepherding and book cover/press release copywriting clients (and like Peter, I was not charged to be listed on his website).

    Dan teased me a lot in the early years about my reputation for frugality. But he stopped teasing me after Dan Baldyga and I picked him up at the Hartford airport and drove him all the way to Marshfield, Massachusetts, more than two hours away, to give a talk for Independent Publishers of New England. Knowing he wasn’t going to get a chance to stop for lunch, I had packed a home-cooked meal–and a gold-colored fork to eat it with. He was appreciative, and gave a great talk to a packed house.

  63. Othello Bach says:

    I was lucky enough to meet Dan in the mid-80’s at a writer’s Awards Dinner in LA. We talked for over an hour as we ate, and I was thoroughly impressed with him, professionally and personally. Then, in 2000, when I put my writing manual, “How to Write a Great Story,” on Amazon, I was surprised to see that he was the second person to review it — and he gave it 5 stars. How could anyone ever forget Dan? I certainly won’t. He was truly a treasure for writers everywhere.

  64. Ryan Petty says:

    I never met Dan but read his Self-Publishing Manual in 1979. I was in the process of closing down a small literary publishing company of my invention (Cold Mountain Press) and shifting to writing and self-publishing.

    When complete, my first book became THE GREAT GARAGE SALE SUCCESS BOOK which I self-published later that year.

    His advice was instrumental and increased my confidence and ability to get the project done and fully executed.

    The result was a book and marketing plan that enabled me to sell thousands of copies by direct mail, followed by a sale of rights to the book to St. Martin’s Press in 1980.

    I know Dan would be glad to know that those rights have finally reverted to me… and that something else (which I will self-publish) is in the works as a result…

    I look forward to dedicating that “something else” to Dan’s memory when it comes out.

  65. Gayle Carson says:

    I am sure I will just echo the thoughts and feelings of everyone who has shared already. However, the Dan I knew was kind, funny, sharing and always willing to go the extra mile. I saw him as recently as two months ago and he was his usually cherry self, even though he had been through hell and back with his accident.
    When we attended a VSR conference a few years ago, he picked me up at the airport and we drove together all the while never stopping a conversation that started there and continued until our destination.
    He was a rare combination of grace, humor, intellect, creativity, and humanness.

  66. Eric Gibson says:

    I am one of the many, many people whom Dan help in their careers. I bought his books, went to one of his “bootcamps,” etc. When I asked him if I could send him the marketing plan for my first book when it was published, (“Sell What You Sow!”), he not only said yes, but (unasked) he sent it back with his hand-written notes in the margins with suggestions for tweaks or additional ideas…. What a generous man! I will miss him!

  67. Earl Phelps says:

    Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book was one of the first books I bought on self-publishing and by far the best, even today. Rest in peace. God Bless!!

  68. Dan was such a rock star! We used his books so much when we self-published our “MiniTrends” book. I met Dan at the Book Expo in NYC shortly thereafter and ran up to him so excited to meet him. He was so nice and flattered. He was excited about his upcoming eBook contest and suggested that we enter our book. We were a runner-up which, along with some other awards we received, was so great for marketing the book. At one point I called his office to ask a question. I was so surprised when Dan picked up the phone. We had a long conversation about publishing and marketing and he told me to call anytime. What a gentleman and a generous person! Rest in peace, Dan, knowing you fulfilled all us author’s need to share and provided the world with lots of important information and stories! <3

  69. Gail Kearns says:

    Dan was my mentor, as he was to many others. He’s the reason I’m in publishing today. He’s the reason my business is where it is today. I first met Dan through the phone book. Seriously. I had moved from L.A. to Santa Barbara, having been a development exec in the movie industry and was looking for a new career. I thought publishing (I come from a family of writers and journalists) and so I picked up the S.B. phone book and looked up the publishing companies. I found Para Publishing. I called looking for a job. At first Dan seemed gruff (little did I know he was in pain because of a parachuting accident). I gave up on calling him. Then a couple of weeks later I got a call from Dan. He said, “You want work, I’ve got work!” And that was the beginning of my publishing career and my long friendship with Dan. I became the fact checker for the early editions of Dan’s Self-Publishing Manual. At his suggestion, I taught myself copyediting, using the Chicago Manual of Style. I attended his workshops at his beautiful home on the hill in Santa Barbara 4 times a year for countless years where I gained numerous clients.

    About a week or so before Dan passed away, my colleague Penny Paine and I were in the midst of developing our first publishing workshop for indie authors. We wanted Dan’s blessing. He said that was easy. Just send him some verbiage as to what we’d like him to say. But he didn’t sound good. When he told me he’d taken a turn for the worse, my heart sank. I kept him in my prayers day and night.

    Dan was generous and kind, and he always had an irresistible twinkle in his eye. He was a great speaker and a great mentor. He touched the lives of so many. He has his tribe of book shepherds all around the world, and I’m grateful to be one of them. We will try to carry on in his footsteps, but there is only one Dan Poynter. I will miss him dearly. Rest in peace, my friend.

  70. So sad to hear about Dan. I wandered into his workshop on Self-Publishing at a California Writers Club conference at Asilomar in 1997. I sat down and listened to him and was amazed; I had no idea it was even possible to set up your own publishing company! I thought that was so cool. And because I already had a business and marketing background (day job) I decided I would try it. I bought his book that day. Today I took out my copy of The Self-Publishing Manual that has about 100 Post-it notes in it to read the inscription from Dan. It said: “Catherine – Write, Publish, Promote and Soar. With Best Wishes, Dan Poynter.” The following year, I followed the book page-by-page to set up my company, Pele Publications, and publish my first book. And yes, I did write, publish, promote and soar (although not as in “parachute”…) Bravo, Dan, bravo! We owe you so much for being a pioneer and showing us the way!

  71. My long-time friend and the ultimate self-publishing leader, Dan Poynter passed away in early November from health challenges.

    Many readers of my ezine Add Power to Your Pen knew him personally because they worked with him on their books even two decades ago. That’s when self-publishing didn’t have the status it enjoys today. He’d often send me the latest edition of the industry bible, The Self-Publishing Manual—always immensely helpful to me and my clients.

    Dan has a special place in my heart because of all the professional meetings we attended together and the opportunity to exchange advice. One time, he had me research the difference between “titled” and “entitled,” seeing it as a possible Word Tripper. (Note: It’s correct to say either “a book titled ___” or “a book entitled __” but Dan clearly preferred the former and hoped I’d say “entitled” was wrong.) He gladly received a whole host of fresh Word Trippers every year to include in his ezine.

    I’m thankful to have known Dan and I especially appreciate his magnificent contributions to the literary world. Think of the thousands of books that would never have been “born” without his influence. What a legacy!

  72. Ginger Marks says:

    Dan touched many lives, mine included. He will be missed but not forgotten!

  73. My first book. Dan led me forward. 1985. Self Publishing Manual. And then personal advice and friendship over the years. I see Dan as the leader in what self-publishing has become. And I really liked him a lot.

  74. Well don’t I feel late to the party? I just today read the news of Dan’s passing and was nothing less than shocked! I think Dan must have phoned me and we talked the same week he left us? I feel kind of special in that way. Dan and I shared many inside conversations, jokes, and stories as we frequently flew together in and out of LAX and Burbank, and we would call each other to exchange road warrior nightmares. Dan always won.

    Dan introduced me at many speaking engagements and last year (perior to his fall) he gave a 2 hour coaching/consulting session to my wife Penny and I when we beginning the marketing on my 12th book What Kind of animal Are You?

    Dan would not let me pay him for his time or acumen, insisting we’re friends “and I don’t charge friends to talk to me.”

    I’m reminded of one trip to BEA in NY when Dan, me, and an entourage of about 25 or 30 people piled into 4 limos and went bar hopping and party crashing til about 3 AM. Dan could hold his liquor boy and the ladies loved, Loved, L-O-V-E-D him!

    He knew everyone at the parties and was kind enough to introduce me to everyone with whom we came in contact.

    I’ll miss Dan. They really don’t make people like him. That’s too bad.

    Rest in Peace Friend.

  75. Janet Larson says:

    I loved Dan’s sense of humor. From the first time I attended one of his talks – I believe in the late 1980’s through the Learning Annex in a small conference room in a Mission Valley hotel – to the last year at the PW San Diego meeting, his humor and love of life were definitely the highlights of his presence and his message. Peace be to a legend.

  76. My friendship with Dan goes back to the early 80s –both of us starting in publishing–he bypassing traditional and me, wedded to NY. He was thrilled when I crossed over in 2000 and formed my own publishing company–kissing goodbye to the myth that NY was where legitimate authors published.

    Dan was an ongoing supporter of AuthorU.org, serving on our Advisory Board, contributing regularly to our ezine, The Author Resource and speaking at our annual conference, the Extravaganza.

    I will truly miss his friendship, sharing a beer on my back deck, his spirit and savvy insights to the trending in publishing.

  77. At one of Dan’s seminars, I met my future husband. It was a packed class room, and Dan started off by asking for a show of hands from anyone who had already been published in a newspaper or magazine. Only two hands went up, mine and the sort of handsome guy across the room. Dan asked both of us to please stand up, which embarrassed the heck out of me, and then to answer questions from the rest of the class, which we did. Dan’s method was to illustrate how much we had already learned and how easy it is to help others. He always cut through the BS and instilled self confidence in everyone. About 32 years later, I”m still making a living at self publishing, and have given his book to more than a dozen writer friends. And that handsome guy and I are still happily married. Thanks, Dan. You will not be forgotten.

  78. I first learned about Dan in 1991 when I bought a copy of his book Self Publishing Manual. I then had the honor to meet him for the first time at a Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association Annual Conference (CIPA College) in 1994/5. I continued to see him and speak with him at each CIPA conference he spoke at. In 2010, I had the honor to see him speak at a publishing conference in the Philadelphia area. I went up to him as usual and this time said “Dan you’ve been my publishing mentor all these years since I first learned about you in 1991.” He was thrilled to see me and was so kind and generous with his words. He asked me to join him at the conference dinner that evening. I have lots of memories, a photograph of that evening and hope to continue to make Dan proud with book publishing. RIP Dan … I will miss you, we will all miss you.

  79. Jordan Young says:

    Quite a shock to get the IBPA magazine today and learn of Dan’s passing. Little did I know when I picked it up in 1982 that the 2nd edition of the SP Bible–and the friendship that ensued with its author–would change my life.

  80. Jim Davis says:

    Rest in Peace, Dan. You have made the difference in so many books being ho-hum, average self-publishing, and books of quality, which often increase in value as “rare books” many times over. Thank you for having me in your beautiful ocean view home on that hillside in Goleta.

  81. Marcy Claman says:

    I came upon this sad news only now.

    Dan Poynter’s book The Self-Publishing Manual and his info-packed website got me through my first self-published cookbook (Rise and Dine: Savory Secrets from America’s Bed & Breakfast Inns, 1995). It was indeed sometimes a scary journey, but Dan’s reference materials gave me the courage to pursue my dream.

    Once the book was printed, I sent Dan a copy and he sent me an award ribbon for “Prizewinning Author” that still hangs in my office.

    After the success of my first cookbook, I fell in love with publishing and became an independent publisher and self publishing services provider.

    I continue his legacy now by helping other self publishers and fundraising organizations to put together their own high-quality books.

    It is such a thrill to hear the excitement in an author’s voice when they receive their final printed book!

    Thank you Dan for changing my life by sharing your knowledge and passion for self publishing.

  82. Michael Peters says:

    Wow, I just found out that an died 9/30 2016
    I am truly shocked. I tried to access his web site an thought maybe there was an issue with it. His service happened to fall on the same day as the death of my sister so I missed a lot around that time and this past year.
    I really have warm memories of Dan, he was one of a kind. His in home workshops were just great, on so many levels. You just thought he would be around forever, he seems to be a fixture in life. He has helped so many people get started, go to the next level and then go on to help other people themselves the numbers must be staggering. Anyway, he will be missed for a long,long time. God Bless him and all the good he did..

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