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23 Feb 2008

In this issue:

* Book Proposals on Feedback Sought
* Customer Feedback
* Interview with Dan Poynter: Successful, Self-Published Author, By Misti Sandefur
* Notices for Kiwi writers - Bank of New Zealand Freelance 2008 Conference, New Zealand Book Month


Book Proposals on Feedback Sought

We are considering the idea of posting writers' book proposals on the web for viewing by prospective publishers.

The details to be posted to the site for each writer would include: a table of contents, sample chapter, and author bio. To ensure some degree of quality
control, this offer would be limited to writers who are already Writerfind members (as members are experienced writers).

The suggested fee would probably be around $500, and this fee would apply only if the writer's proposal is accepted by a publisher on

To monitor whether work has been accepted by a publisher, we would send out "declarations" for signing every three months or so to the writers who have
posted book proposals. The writer would sign a form confirming whether s/he had found a publisher through over the preceding three months.

Does this idea sound like a "goer"? Do you think the proposed fee is reasonable.

Feedback is welcome. Please send to


Customer Feedback

One of many happy customers who list on our site, Kevin Cudby of Wellington, New Zealand (, has this to say:

"I am so busy I have been turning work away. Writerfind is an important part of that - most of my work comes through either Writerfind or my own website."

Another happy customer, Martha Collins ( of Texas, USA says:

"Writerfind continues to be a good investment for me. Every month I receive inquiries from potential clients who find me via my Writerfind listing."

An abundance of jobs come via listings on the site like Kevin's and Martha's, and many of them are not posted publicly. Sign up for a Writerfind Profile now
at, and get a piece of this work. Experienced professionals only please.


Interview with Dan Poynter: Successful, Self-Published Author
By Misti Sandefur

Dan Poynter began self-publishing when he started writing books on subjects (parachutes and hang gliding) he knew publishers wouldn't be interested in.
Because he knew publishers wouldn't take an interest in the genres he chose, he took it upon himself to find a printer and self-publish his own books. Not
only did he take on the responsibility of publishing on his own, but Poynter took on the marketing role as well.

Later, when Poynter's books were ready to sell, he proved to the whole world that self-publishing your own book can bring you success! "Hang Gliding,"
Poynter's second self-published book, became a best-seller when it sold over 130,000 copies! In fact, just last year (2006) Poynter reported selling 10 to
20,000 copies of his books (more than 120) every year. Talk about inspiration! This man is the one you want to learn from if you're considering the
self-publishing route.

Now, don't think you can just write a book, find a printer and then BOOM! your successful. Self-publishing isn't that easy -- there's a lot of work, time
and money involved, and I'm sure Poynter would agree with me. However, don't let the process scare you away. If you think you have a book you know people
will want, but you don't think the publishers will, by all means give self-publishing a shot

Would you like to learn a little more about Poynter and how he markets his work? I thought so, and that's why I won't keep you waiting any longer. Let's
move on to the interview, shall we?

At what age did you discover you were born to write?

I am not sure I have discovered that yet. We are all in the information business. We deliver our expertise in several ways: writing, speaking, etc., and
writing is just one of the delivery methods.

Congratulations on your success with self-publishing! Can you share with other writers some of the marketing techniques you used to become successful?

Before you start writing, make sure there is a market for your proposed book and that you can reach it. Identify and be able to locate people interested in
your subject. Write what you love and sell to your friends.
I began with books on parachutes and skydiving. I am a skydiver and was a parachute designer, and I know how to reach my market through parachute stores,
skydiving centers, skydiving clubs, parachute catalogs, the International Parachute Symposium and so on.

How do you find ideas for your books?

Write what you love. Turn your passion center into your profit center. Turn your avocation into your vocation. I began with books on skydiving.

Can you share any advice with other writers on how they too can make their book a success?

Promotion is up to you. Publishers do not promote books. Your promotion plan is more important than your writing plan. Without promotion no one will know
you have written.
The first three things that should be done: send out review copies, send articles to magazines in your field and send e-mail announcements to everyone in
your own e-mail address book.

Did you try the traditional publishing route before you chose to self-publish?

My first book was a 500-page technical treatise on parachutes. Realizing no publisher would buy it, or even understand it, I published myself. Since then
I've sold manuscripts to publishers and I've published other authors. I have a wide-range of experience.

What were some of the mistakes you made with your first self-published book, and what did you learn from those mistakes?

Not knowing that magazines and newsletters would review your book free. I did not know you could send review copies to publications.

In "The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book, 15th Edition," you discuss bookstore chains, and you said, "The best way to
approach larger bookstore chains is to have a distributor's sales rep visit." But what if the writer makes the visit? Can you give other writers a few tips
on how they can get their book onto the shelves of the larger bookstore chains (Barnes & Noble, Borders and etc.) if they decided to approach the bookstores
on their own?

Individual author-publishers can call the chains and try to get an appointment, but distributors have an existing relationship with them. Distributors also
handle Amazon. If you have a problem with your listing at Amazon, good luck trying to get it fixed. But I can call my distributor's rep and the fix will be
made overnight. Do not underestimate the value of a distributor.

And that concludes my interview with Dan Poynter. Absorb his advice then put it to use on your self-published book, and maybe you too will bask in your own


Bank of New Zealand Freelance 2008 Conference

On 16 Feb, Kim Griggs wrote:

Paying your writers top rates is the smartest thing you can do as a magazine editor.

The words that are music to the ears of freelance journalists are proven policy for Bank of New Zealand Freelance 2008 keynote speaker John Cranna.

The freelance champion, former AA Directions editor and now director of AUT’s Centre for Modern Writing, heads a stellar line up of speakers at the May 8 conference in Auckland.

Cranna, who's trendsetting, better pay campaign at AA Directions was rated an extraordinary event in New Zealand media history, will reflect on his experiences then and since in his address, Things can only get better.

Making a difference is also the guiding principal of another conference headliner, freelance investigative journalist Nicky Hager. His fourth book, The Hollow Men, has joined his previous three as a best seller.

Hager will talk about how he tackles the big stories while being a self-employed writer.Cranna and Hager bookend the conference, which will also feature North and South (assistant) editor Virginia Larson, Kath Webster from AA Directions, Next's Brenda Ward, the NZ Herald's multimedia editor Jeremy Rees, freelance columnists Rod Oram, Linley Boniface and Tracey Barnett, and feature writers and authors David Cohen and Peter Calder.

The conference, which in just three years has become New Zealand’s biggest annual gathering of journalists, has a record for making a difference for freelancers.

Noted one: "I made so many improvements to my business after last year that I now have a large tax payment coming up for unpredicted earnings!"

Said another: "I'm sure that at least part of the difference [in payment rates] has been these conferences and more and more of us refusing to accept the old regime."

By popular request, this year's conference is providing a variety of workshops to allow for more in-depth study of writing issues and business practicalities.

Workshop topics include small business management, travel, business and lifestyle writing, negotiating and selling overseas. Leaders include editors, experienced freelancers, and experts in accounting and law.

The venue is again the Hyatt Regency in central Auckland, and principal sponsor, the Bank of New Zealand, is also again hosting a cocktail event on the eve of the conference. Guest speaker there will be former Listener editor Finlay Macdonald.

Statistics New Zealand is returning to the after-conference function to announce its annual journalism award. The Freelancers' Choice award the editor judged the best to work with by freelancers will also be made there.

Registrations are now open for the conference at the TelstraClear-sponsored website

The fee is unchanged at $75 including GST for early bird registration which is available now. Workshop numbers are limited and will be filled on a first-paid basis.

Kim Griggs and Pip Stevenson, Freelance Market
Organisers, Bank of New Zealand Freelance 2008 Conference
Conference website:

New Zealand Book Month

On 15 Feb, Michele wrote:

Hi there,

Id just like to introduce myself as the new Project Director of NZ Book Month. This year Book Month are trying to encourage more New Zealand non fiction writers to enter the Six Pack competition. New Zealand writers of quality non fiction: travel pieces, opinion, editorial etc 5000-10000 are all eligible to enter, as long as the piece has not been published (on web or print) before. Do you think you could put the word out to your subscribers? And any thought on contacting more non fiction/journalist types to remind them of this competition?

Deadline is 26 March, entires by hard copy. Prizes $5000 per winner and publication in the national release of The Six Pack Book - along with significant press etc of course. More details on

Any questions or thoughts it would be great to hear from you,


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