VHS Review: Secrets of Successful Self-Publishing, Dan Poynter (2000)

Tuesday, May 10th, 2005

Cheesy yet Informative

three out of five stars

It’s obvious from the get-go that “Secrets of Successful Self-Publishing” was produced on a fairly low budget. The sound is choppy and inconsistent, the camera work is shoddy, and the narration and graphics are just plain cheesy (even by 2000 standards!). Bad production notwithstanding, Dan Poynter (founder of Para Publishing and author of 78 books and counting) does offer some useful information in this 34-minute VHS tape.

Newbies will find this video to be a good introduction to the ins and outs of self-publishing. However, as someone who has read countless books on self- and electronic publishing, I didn’t find any new information here. Poynter gives a brief overview of writing and publishing your own book, discussing the actual writing (and revision) process; designing the interior and exterior of your book; getting it printed; listing it with the biggies; and promoting the heck out of it. Again, while few of his tips were new to me, those who haven’t read up on the subject will find his lecture somewhat informative.

Yet, at $29.95, you’d really be better off buying and reading a book (or two!) on the subject. Sure, it might take more time, but it’ll cost about the same and you’ll end up all the more knowledgeable for it!

One word of caution: Dan recommends printing up 500 copies of your book JUST FOR REVIEWS on the first run! From what I’ve observed in the many self-publishing eGroups I belong to, there’s a growing concern about “reviewers” selling their free review copies on Amazon Marketplace (thus usurping YOUR sales and profit). So take his counsel with a grain of salt, and use some common sense.

Finally, be sure to check out Dan’s web site, […], which features a slew of great advice for writers and publishers. His site and newsletter are jam-packed with tons more info than the video, and – better yet – they’re free!

(This review was originally published on Amazon. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so!)