In the late 1980’s I was working as a DJ at a local radio station where callers would often ask how to get their music played on the radio, how to join a band, how to publicize their music, etc. Most information I found at the time were biographies about big stars like Mick Jagger – not very helpful/practical for the beginning local musician. I did find one book about getting started in Christian music, so read through it eagerly looking for clues to pass along to my callers/listeners. The advice? Call your local DJ. I’m like I AM the local DJ, and I don’t have a clue.
So I did what I always do when there is no easy answer: I research. I called up venues, talked to radio music directors, talked to other local bands, talked to book and music stores, and compiled what I was hoped would be a short information pamphlet – which ended up being the size of a book. So I researched how to publish a book, and came across an amazing book called Dan Poynter’s Self Publishing Manual. It was a huge book, that carefully went over every detail of book publishing, from generating the original idea, to writing it, to book cover design. Then it went into how to market it, how to sell it, who would buy it, and more. It was a treasure trove of information.
Fast forward 20+ years. Dan Poynter is still helping people get published, but now he offers not only his books, but online resources as well (many free), including a free email newsletter. I love how he got started as a curious guy with a passion for parachutes, so he wrote a book about parachute safety and self-published it. He’s been researching and honing his writing and publishing skills ever since and shares his knowledge with other aspiring writers.
The book I wrote is long out of print (although I have about a hundred copies in a box in my attic). Dan said most of the work in book publishing happens AFTER the book has been published, and he was right. I’m glad I read his book, took his advice, and learned a LOT. I was able to help aspiring local musicians with practical tips on how to use their music to make money and have fun locally. I wonder sometimes if my book helped bring about in a small way the huge indie music phase we now enjoy 20 years later here in the Northwest? That’s the power of the printed word – and people taking the initiative to write about and share their passions – like Dan Poynter. If you’ve wanted to share your passion(s) in print, but didn’t know where to start, check out Dan Poynter’s site.