I remember wanting to publish my first book back in 2004. I called publishers. Some never called back and some said they did not publish poetry. I saw all the beautiful books in Barnes & Noble and Borders (remember Borders?) and desperately wanted to have my name on those shelves. I became increasingly frustrated until I learned of a book entitled The Self Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter. I consumed every letter of the book, excited by the revelation that I could actually publish myself. Eleven years and eight books later, the influence of Dan still hovers over me and even more so after his recent passing.
After I published my first book, From the Limbs of my Poetree, I saw Dan Poynter as a hero. He was a larger-than-life figure who helped me accomplish my dream. I joined the Publishers Marketing Association (now the Independent Book Publishers Association) and went to one of their conferences to learn more about the self-publishing world. I was talking to fellow writers after a breakout session when in walks Dan Poynter himself with that charismatic smile and presence of a man who was so humble even though he knew he helped thousands of people if not more realize their dreams. It took me about a day at the conference to muster up the courage to go speak to him and thank him for inspiring me. As he probably did with everyone he met that weekend, he gave me a blue ribbon that said “celebrity author.” It still hangs up on my wall today.
Several years after that conference I joined the National Speakers Association and met Dan Poynter again at every conference I attended in America as well as abroad. He was always so kind to me. He responded to emails I sent seeking advice and even spent time on the phone with me giving me advice that I still follow. This man who inspired me to publish my first book became a mentor to me, something I could have never imagined.
I do not know how else to honor Dan Poynter. The best I can do is to keep doing what I am doing, which is tell future authors that they need to read his book before they make any decisions on what they do going forward. Les Brown said that we learn, we earn, and we pass on. I am just happy that I knew such a great man who gave me so much to pass on. Rest in peace Dan. Rest in peace.