Becoming a Published Author

On March 18th, 2011, I completed perhaps the most difficult item on my bucket list. I became a published author. Not an e-book author, not a self-published author, a real life, ISBN carrying published author. The process took me more than two years and involved an unbelievable amount of new learning. So was it worth it? Let me dive a little deeper by answering some common questions.

What was the most unexpected part?

The weirdest and most unexpected part of this whole experience is that I STILL HAVEN’T HELD THE PHYSICAL BOOK. There are literally hundreds of people who have already finished reading it and I still haven’t even touched a hard copy. In case you don’t normally read this blog, I travel a lot. :-)  My current living logistics have prevented me from getting a copy. I live in a digital world and this is one of the side effects.

Don’t worry though, I have a plan. (It is almost as weird as the problem it is solving.) I met a girl when I was in California and long story short, she is going to be living with me for a month. (Seriously? Your life is weird…) I will be posting this blog post as soon as I wake up tomorrow morning, going to the airport to pick her up and then I will finally hold my book. In fact, all of that is probably happening right this very second. How about that for a crazy story?

So, are you like rich now?

You know that stereotype about poor starving authors? There is a reason that mental image exists. I am by no means starving but the numbers involved with the deal were not nearly enough to make me rich. In fact, because of the amount of time I spent writing it, I am still operating at a net loss. If you want to make a lot of money, do SEO consulting! Don’t know how? Buy my book!

When I was in Israel, I randomly met a book agent while exploring some caves. (Because where else would you meet a book agent? Borders perhaps? No silly, that place is going bankrupt.) We discussed the terms I had signed and the conclusion was that I got numbers on par with the rest of the industry. Writing your first book is not a good way to make a lot of money. It is much more useful as a tool to demonstrate expertise and spread your message to new markets.

How is the book selling?

Extremely well! Its first day on sale, it was the 122th most popular book on Amazon. The initial Amazon shipments just about sold out in Canada, the US and the UK. (+5 to Amazon and Wiley publishing for successfully scrambling to prevent this) A week and a half after it came out, the publisher started printing the second edition. That means, if you want a first edition, you have to buy it now.

While all of the benchmarks make me happy, the real fulfillment comes from the feedback I have been receiving. Almost all of it has been great and I already have had lots of people telling me that the book has “proved fundamental” for them. My goal with the book was to help level the playing field for SEO consultants. I honestly think I have made major progress in doing that.

Will there be another book?

Perhaps but the subject matter and medium is still up in the air. There is a good chance that you are reading an excerpt from that theoretical book right now.

Do you sit around coffee shops now and play the bongo drums?

Yes. I also wear funny french hats and sit exclusively on cushions. Chairs are so passe!

Final thoughts?

I may not be as cool as New York Times Best Selling Author, Matt Inman (also a former mozzer) but I do feel very good about this whole experience. I am optimistic that the book and the growing popularity of this blog will allow me to finish my bucket list well before my deadline. (Every single one of my blog KPIs have grown at least 100% week over week for the past three weeks). Combine this with the fact that I have a new job that I love and you get an extremely happy bearded dude. (That’s me.) For me, happiness, not sales numbers or blog subscribers, is the real bottom line.

My goal right now is to pursue my bucket list in a way that actually drives a profit (either for me or for charities). Will I be able to execute this? Time will tell. Either way, I am going to have a lot of fun trying :-)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Congrats Danny ! and thanks for giving us your feedback !

  • I love the notes in the margin and the look-a-like highlighter usage. I’m about half way through it but I’ve already picked up a number of insights and “better” practices.

    • Really happy the extra work to do those margin notes is paying off :-) Thanks for the feedback.

  • Danny, I have been meaning to send you a note and give you props on your book. Well done. I think you have done a brilliant job especially considering the audience and breadth of topic.
    For those who are looking for a well organized and well written book on Search Engine Optimization, Danny’s book is it. From keyword research to advice on preparing proposals (including labor estimates) and even website audits this book has been a very pleasant surprise. I don’t want to spoil the ending :) but this book has tons of very helpful tips (including useful websites,browser add ons, where to find them and even better how to use them). Search Engine Optimization Secrets by Danny Dover covers almost every aspect of SEO from cradle to grave.

  • I just started reading the book and I am loving it! It’s very well organized and is easy to read! Love, love, love how it’s structured. I think the entire female audience is happy! ;) Well done, Danny!

  • Ash

    The book is awesome! I’ve already driven to (I live in a crowded city where traffic is horrible) Barnes and Noble like three times in the last week to read the hard copy (I’m about to start my own “web development” business after doing web design and SEO for my mom’s business’ website for the last 5 years). The only reason I haven’t bought it yet is because I want to get the “Nook Book” version, which I’ll buy once I actually buy a Nook next week! (I actually played with the Nook and read your book while standing for about an hour lol)

    Good luck with your bucket list! (I should probably start on one of my own sometime soon too :-P )

    • lol I smiled the entire length of reading your comment :-)

      If you get a chance, let me know how the formatting turned out on the Nook version, I know the team put a lot of work into it but I haven’t seen the final Nook product.

      • Ash

        Hey Danny, so I finally got my Nook Color today and your book was the first thing I bought hah! I like the nook version better actually because you’re able to get to the info you want very easily – its really interactive since you can click/tap on the references (see table 1-a chart 11-b etc etc) and it takes you right to them. Also, I think some of the images or “figures” are in their original color as you’d see them online.

        I think the Nook makes reading way more fun since today I was kind of having trouble keeping to my usual routine of watching tons of night time tv (btw The Voice on NBC is way more fun to watch than Idol on Fox)

  • I’m about 120 pages in so far Danny, really enjoying it. It’s only been in my hands for 48 hours, but unfortunately the thing already looks like a well-worn school text book. Take that as a good and bad :)

  • Hi Danny

    I bought your book as I got referred from and I have to say this is one of the best books I’ve read so far in SEO when it comes to actually DO things and not just having a bunch of tips and stuff that you can access everywhere on the internet.
    I find this very helpful and it inspired me to look into my web projects on a deeper technical level. The thing I love the most about the book is that it gets right to the point and does not talk about all the basics and at the end of the chapter you think “what was it all about now?”.
    Massive compliments on this achievement, especially considering your age as well.
    And just a last note, I’m actually not from the US… Your book made it all the way to Switzerland and I’m trying to implement your knowledge in my German projects :-)

    All the best for the future!

    • Glad to hear it Daniel! Best of luck with your SEO efforts and let me know if there is anything I can do to help.


      • Daniel

        Thanks, really appreciate it!

  • Sean Conroy

    The book is amazing. Probably one of the best written books yet. I really enjoy the way its written, the presentation and the way if feels like you’re directly talking to the reader, not just providing a bunch of words on the page.

    I have recently become obsessed with SEO and this book is only helping to fuel that, really happy with it.

    Great job!

  • Hi Danny, congratulations, I have been a fan of you at seomoz. I was wondering if you have the PDF version of your book, will love to buy it. I´m located in Bogotá, Colombia.

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  • Miguel

    I’ve read your book about 4 times and was and still is a great help; Once you send an email you for leaving me a question and answer in a few hours, I was very surprised: You plan to visit South America? You are very welcome!

  • Hey there,

    Mr. author !

    I must admit that “SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION SECRETS” is the best SEO book i ever read till now ! I have read 5 seo books and your book was the best one ! Finally, by some means it happened that i had to land over to your site via moz.

    Thanks for the efforts you put up in the book and the provide a lot easier way to understand the way SEO works. I love the work you did with the reports included in the book. You book made my dream possible to move on with SEO as a part of my career.

    Thanks, wish you good luck mate ! Do come to Nepal and climb the Everest :) once in your life :)

    • Happy to do it Pravash.

      Don’t know about climbing Everest (that trip is expensive!) but I do have Nepal on my list.

      Cheers! :-)

      • Well you do have other peaks to climb here :) ! Cheers buddy, i will be visiting your sites frequently. Love spending time reading your posts and stores

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