Interview with writer Daan Katz

Updated: Jan 27

Tell me a bit about yourself….

My name is Katz. Daan Katz. I’m a dreamer with a pen. Wheelchair user, Zebra, and autistic. Cat lover. Amateur musician and kitchen table psychologist.

What genres do you write in?

I write poetry and literary fiction in a fantasy setting.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing ever since I learned how to spell.

Do you have any published books or articles? Tell me a bit about these and what publishing route you took.

I have several published articles and a non-fiction book published under a different pseudonym. But that was a long time ago, and they have lost relevance since. It wasn’t my best writing either, so it would probably be best to forget about these publications altogether.

More recently, I self-published my fantasy poetry bundle “Night Song” (November 2021), and I’ve got a literary fantasy novel, “Night’s Reign”, all but ready for publication. I’m just waiting for the map to come in while I’m still battling the formatting monster.

Did you use an editor? If so who?

Unfortunately, monetary restrictions did not allow me to use an editor. I did luck out with some very good betas, though, so hopefully that will be enough.

I did hire a proofreader, Roxana Coumans, at, who met my expectations quite well.

Did you use a book formatter and cover designer?

Again, my bank account did not allow for hiring a book formatter, so I had to go through the nightmare of formatting my manuscript by myself. I did find a pretty good tutorial online, but since I work in LibreOffice, and the dealt with formatting in MS Word, I still had to figure out quite a bit myself, but I think in the end I did a decent job.

I actually hired two cover designers, but the first one – a free-lancer whose name I won’t mention – took my money, promised me heaven, but ultimately failed to make good on those promises. I never saw anything even resembling a rough sketch, let alone a cover.

So I ended up hiring another cover designer for my novel. Aamna Shahid, team leader at Etheric Tales & Edits ( discussed options and prices with me, and came through with a beautiful design within just two weeks.

As for the cover of my poetry bundle, I designed that one myself. I don’t consider myself extremely skilled, but in Canva anyone can potentially create something that doesn’t totally suck. I actually received some high praise for my cover from a few graphic artists, who said the cover looked very professional. I chalk that up to beginner’s luck.

Did you self-publish or get traditionally published? How did this go for you?

I decided to self-publish because I didn’t want to have to go through all the trouble of having to find an agent, dealing with rejections, and all that. Literary fiction and poetry are not exactly in high demand and, frankly, I’m not in it for the money or the recognition. I just want my books out there for myself first, and my fans second.

So far, I haven’t sold many books yet – nor did I expect to. Poetry is even less in demand than literary fiction. I do hope and expect to have a little more luck with my novel. So far, my ARC readers have loved it, so that’s a good sign. Meanwhile, I’m working hard on building my Instagram and Facebook following.

I’ll probably also want to run ads once my novel has been published.

How do you market your work and promote your brand? (Include links)

That’s the hardest part, and the part I hate most.

I’m a writer, not a marketeer. That said, self-publishing means I need to get a grip on this whole marketing lark, or I’ll be lucky to sell even one copy of my books.

When I decided I was going to finally finish that novel and publish it, I set up an Author Page on Facebook (, even though I had no idea what to do with it. I only knew I needed one.

Not much later I realized I needed to be on Instagram ( as well, but I struggled with that. Sharing pictures with the world? What could I possibly have that people would want to see? Certainly not my face. I chose to write under a pseudonym for a reason.

Things didn’t go well. I got a few followers, but I needed more, and only recently figured out I needed to post regularly and consistently. Ideally, I should also interact with my audience, which is something I struggle to do. I try, but it’s hard. The simple truth is, I prefer spending most of my time with my characters and my cats.

I now use a media content calendar on Trello ( to plan my posts, create graphics in Canva (, and schedule at least one post a day in my Facebook Business Suite, but aim for two.

Last but not least, I have my own website (, because I firmly believe every author needs one.

My beautiful logo, which I intend to use on pretty much everything I create from now on, was designed by Lisa Witmond (, a talented artist who I would definitely recommend.

With a logo like that, the possibilities are endless. Bookmarks, tote bags, t-shirts, hoodies... I even ordered a custom wax seal stamp, so I can stamp my logo on all my correspondence to give it just that little bit of extra flair.

What social media and writing platforms would you recommend?

See above.

I’m also on Goodreads (, but so far I have not been able to attract a following there yet.

Do you use an agent?

No. I don’t want to deal with all the hassle involved in trying to attract one.

Do you use paid advertising? If so what?

Not yet, but I probably will in the near future. I’m not sure what yet, but am looking into Facebook ads and Amazon ads.

Do you have a blog or website?


What inspires you most to write?

Honestly, I don’t really know. I just write. It’s probably my characters who are nagging me to get on with their stories. Or maybe it is that I just really love to write.

What do you do to help with writers block?

Butt glue.

For the rare occasion that I’m stuck, I keep a big jar of Extra Strong Butt Glue handy. Works like a charm. ;)

How do you plan your writing and start?

I typically don’t plan. I start writing my stories with nothing but a character and a vague idea of what’s going to happen. Then, as if by magic, the main plot reveals itself to me within a matter of minutes. Oh, or maybe hours. I don’t really keep track, but it happens fast.

Is writing your full time job? If not what else do you do?

I live on disability, and in a way, that is my job. Being disabled. It sure gobbles up a lot of my time and energy. Keeping up with all these doctors’ visits and other medical appointments is in itself already very time- and energy-consuming. Add to that the physical and emotional inconveniences of disabled life, and you’ll soon see how this might qualify as a full-time job.

Of course, the payment is lousy, and it’s not the job I’d have chosen if I’d had any say in it, but it is the job I’ve got. And I’m thankful that I can spend most of my free time writing without having to worry about how I’m going to pay my bills.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on a portal fantasy, and am about 90% done with the first draft. My next project will be the sequel of “Night’s Reign”, and I can’t wait to start working on that one! My characters are already wondering what’s taking me so long.

What is your target audience?

People like me, who love fantasy and beautiful prose, and aren’t afraid to get sucked into a tale that digs deeply into the darker side of life. People who feel that taboos have no place in art.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Always longer than I want.

When did you first discover you enjoyed writing?

I can’t remember a time when I did not enjoy writing. It’s been my passion for as long as I can remember.

What is your writing schedule look like?

I have none. I just write every day.

What does your family think about you writing?

I guess some of my family members like it, or even love it, and others don’t care at all. My Dad, who doesn’t speak English very well, would love to be able to read my stories, and is a bit disappointed that he can’t. My sister likes it, I think, as she’s also into fantasy. But it’s my daughter who’s probably most interested. She’s also a writer, and we spend many enjoyable hours drinking tea and chatting about our stories and characters.

What do you do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing, I figure I do just about the same things ordinary humans do. Eating, drinking, sleeping, spending time with my cats, friends, and family, listening to music, making music. Just normal stuff. I’m really quite boring. :D

Where do you get information and ideas for your writing?

In the age of the internet, information is easy to come by. Just ask your google assistant. As for ideas, I’ve been around for a while. I’m disabled. My experiences are a true treasure trove when it comes to ideas.

I can easily write wheelchair-dependent characters because I’m a wheelchair user myself. I can make up fictional diseases that have some overlap with my own condition, the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. I can write believable autistic characters because I’m autistic – as are several of my relatives.

This doesn’t mean that my stories are about me or my disabilities. I wouldn’t enjoy that kind of story, so I won’t write it either. It just means that I have characters – including main characters – who are disabled.

What do you think makes a good story?

First off, the writing has to be flawless. A story that’s riddled with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes doesn’t stand a chance of ever ending up in my good graces. Purple prose, awkward sentences, a lack of flow... those, too, are things that put me off.

But that’s just the basics. Next up are the characters. If the writing is perfect, but the characters are one-dimensional or unrelatable, I don’t care how beautiful the prose is. The book would still end up in my DNF pile.

And, finally, the plot has to be well-thought-out. I don’t mind simple plots – in fact, these are often the best – but I can’t stand plot holes.

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