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D.B. Henson – From Selfpublished to Agented to Big6 in Record Time

D.B. Henson is the author of Deed to Death, a suspense novel that she originally self-published on Kindle Direct Publish. The book landed on the bestsellers list and caught the attention of Noah Lukeman, president of Lukeman Literary Management.  Three weeks after he first contacted D.B. Henson, Lukeman sold the book to Simon & Schuster.  Deed to Death remained on Amazon’s bestsellers list for over eight months and made Amazon’s Best of 2010 Customer Favorites List.

An avid reader since age six, D.B. Henson bean writing almost as soon as she learned to read. She is currently working on her second novel.

She took the time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her publishing journey.

You said your decision to self-publish is a result of reading a post by Joe Konrath. Did you try to find a publisher prior to self-publish or did you jump straight into Kindle?


I had a list of agents ready to query, but I never even finished the letter.  I’m so glad I didn’t pursue the traditional route first.  If I had, I would probably still be submitting to agents.

What marketing tools did you use to climb on the list of best sellers on Amazon?


I believe word-of-mouth put Deed to Death on the bestsellers list.  I didn’t purchase any ads, or do any marketing.  A few people read the book, liked it, and recommended it to their friends online.

A mere 3 weeks elapsed between the time Noah Lukeman contacted you and the time your book was bought by Simon and Schuster. That is a remarkably short period of time. Could you elaborate on what happen during this blitz book signing deal transaction?

 I was a nervous wreck during this time.  Noah sent the book out to all the big publishers in New York, created a buzz, and set up an auction.  He emailed me practically every day to give me updates.  He’s a wonderful agent.


Did Simon and Schuster require heavy editing of your book as part of the publishing process?

The book went through three edits.  The first was for content, the next for grammar, etc.  The third pass was to make small changes and ensure the book was the way I wanted it.  I ended up adding over 10,000 words to the novel.  Because we were on an accelerated publishing schedule, we accomplished in five months what normally takes place in twelve months.

You now have a trailer for your book. Was that provided by Simon and Schuster and do you think it made a huge difference in gaining exposure?

I did the book trailer on my own.  It hasn’t been up long enough to gage the results.  There’s also an interview video online which Simon & Schuster filmed at their studio.

You originally made the cover for your book yourself with Photoshop. Simon and Schuster put a different cover on. Which one do you think is best?

I like the Simon & Schuster cover better.  It was so nice to let someone else worry about the cover for a change.


You are currently working on the first book of a series featuring a female police detective. Will you self-publish or stay with Simon and Schuster or Noah Lukeman? Can you explain why?

My contract states that Simon & Schuster is entitled to the right of first refusal on my next book.  If things don’t work out with them, then I will be free to shop the manuscript, or self-publish.  Either way, I plan to continue my relationship with Noah.  He went out of his way to secure a lot of extras in my contract, and his guidance has been invaluable.  I can’t say enough wonderful things about him.

What advice would you give newbie self-published writers to promote their book?

I would tell them to get their book into as many readers’ hands as possible.  One way to do this is to offer the book at an introductory price of 99 cents.  I know many successful authors argue against this, but I don’t think my book would have made the Amazon Top 100 list if I had priced it higher.  If it hadn’t made the list, Noah would never have read it, and I wouldn’t have my contract with Simon & Schuster.

Thank you very much, D.B. Henson for taking the time to answer our questions. We look forward to your next book due out on the?

I don’t have a release date yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

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7 Responses to "D.B. Henson – From Selfpublished to Agented to Big6 in Record Time"

  1. Good job–nice to hear! A year ago I wouldn’t even have considered self-publishing on Kindle, but now I’m glad I did! It’s very interesting to see how the publishing business is so rapidly changing!

    Brian January

  2. D.B. Henson says:

    Vicki – thank you so much!

    Elaine – Be persistent and don’t give up. If I were you, I’d wait about hiring a publicist. They charge thousands of dollars for a few months of work. I’m not saying that publicists are not worth their fee, but there’s a lot you can do to promote your book for a lot less. You might want to check out “1001 Ways to Market Your Books” by John Kremer. Good luck!

  3. Dear D. B.
    Thank you for this encouraging interview. I have self-published my book “Priests in the Attic-a memoir” and yes, it is doing fine but, already, through one recent personal endeavor I’ve found the rocky road between self-publishing and agents is littered with polite but firm refusals; so, what to do? Be persistent, or hire a publicist? Any comments? Thanks in advance.


    Elaine A. Small

  4. Vicki says:

    Excellent and inspirational interview. Congratulations on the re-release of Deed to Death with Simon & Schuster. Can’t wait to read the next D B Henson novel!

  5. D.B. Henson says:

    It was a pleasure, Una. Thank you for reading and for your comment. Have a wonderful day!

  6. Una Tiers says:

    Dear D.B.:
    Thank you for an interesting interview.
    Una Tiers

    1. D.B. Henson says:

      It was a pleasure, Una. Thank you for reading and for your comment. Have a wonderful day!

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