My name is Dan Blank, and I help writers and creative professionals share their stories and connect with their audience. I have had the privilege of working with thousands of people via consulting, workshops, and courses. I have worked with amazing organizations such as Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, Sesame Workshop, Workman Publishing, J. Walter Thompson, Abrams Books, Writers House, The Kenyon Review, Writer’s Digest, Library Journal, and many others.
I am the author of Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience. My writing has been published in the book Author In Progress, Poets & Writers magazine, Compose Journal, the National Endowment for the Arts’ Art Works blog, Writer Unboxed, and Folio: magazine. I have appeared in Professional Artist magazine, 99u, and the book Blogging for Writers.
I work with writers and creative professionals to to help them achieve their goals via one-on-one consulting, and a mastermind program.
For more than twelve years, I have sent out a Friday email newsletter featuring my best stuff. Sign up here.
I produce a podcast where I talk to creative professionals about the steps they to find success with their craft. You can find it on iTunes.
I have also worked with publishers & publishing professionals, assisting them in setting strategy to grow and engage their audience. Some folks I’ve worked with:
- Penguin Random House
- Hachette Book Group
- Sesame Workshop
- J. Walter Thompson
- Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners
- Workman Publishing
- Abrams Books
- Perseus Books Group
- Writers House
- F+W Media
- The Kenyon Review
- Foundry Literary + Media
- Publishers Weekly
- Writer’s Digest
- Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP)
- Library Journal
- School Library Journal
- Consortium Book Sales & Distribution
- Vincentz Network
- One Hundred Robots – children’s book apps
- Reed Business Information
- Euromoney Institutional Investor
- @lantis Media
You can read about the details of my work with one author, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, in this Poets & Writers article: Launching a Best-Seller Without Selling Your Soul: The Rewards of Self-Promotion.
You can also see my official resume over on LinkedIn.
I have spoken at many of the top publishing conferences, engaging with executives from the largest publishing houses, to writers just trying to get their foot in the door. Some of the events I have spoken at include:
- BookExpo America
- Writers Digest Conference
- Romance Writers of America Annual Conference
- Digital Book World
- AWP Conference (Association of Writers & Writing Programs)
- UW-Madison Writers’ Institute
- Grub Street’s The Muse & the Marketplace
- NYU Center for Publishing
- James River Writers
- The Custom Content Council
- Book Industry Guild of New York
- MediaNext (formerly Folio: Show)
- College Media Advisers Convention
- American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE)
- American Society of Journalists and Authors Annual Conference
- American Business Media – Digital Media Cousel
- Publishing Business Conference & Expo
- Self-Publishing Book Expo
- Publishing Executive Virtual Show
- Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCWBI)
- National Association of Memoir Writers
- Columbia University – Columbia Journalism School
- Pace University
- SUNY Global Center
- Association of Author’s Representatives
- United Nations Social Media Summit
- Backspace Writers Conference
- Tools of Change for Publishing Conference
- Book Camp NYC
I have helped organize in-person events for creative professionals, including: The Madison Storytellers Festival, the Morristown Festival of Books, and a local meetup series called Momentum (which I have written about here and here.)
Here is some background on my personal experience in the arts and creative work…
I have been an artist, a poet, a musician, a paper sculptor, a writer, a publisher, a photographer, a teacher, a radio DJ, a cartoonist, a designer and an entrepreneur.
As a kid, I went to art school. I was the “art kid” early on, which came with a certain sense of pride, even when my brother made me illustrate all of his book report cover pages. Each week, I ventured into the basement of Mrs. Flanagan, my local art school instructor, whose walls were covered with murals and floors covered with splotches of paint. It’s hard to describe how creative that cold dark basement felt as a kid.
In High School, I lucked into the fact that my local HS also had a separate wing in the building where kids studied performing arts: dance, theater, video, etc. I wasn’t a part of that program, but most of my friends were. I also had friends such as Pixie and Jay Alders, who are now professional photographers and artists, to while away the after-school hours with.
I got into poetry and photography, and grew into the “alternative” kid with the funny haircut who spent as much time as possible chatting with my creative writing teacher and English teacher. I took hundreds of black and white photographs, and made a poetry book out of sheet metal. Oh, and I listened to a lot of The Smiths, New Order, and The Cure. It was the 80’s, after all.
In college, I spent more time publishing a music zine than I did doing homework. I was simply more motivated to be the first person to publish this monthly magazine, than to be the 1,000th kid to fill out the same xerox’d set of questions about Beowulf. But the experience of running a zine made me a publisher from start to finish. The zine focused on Britpop music, and I developed contacts at all the major record labels. I got to interview most of my favorite artists, got boatloads of free CDs and concert tickets, and got deeply in debt by paying for printed copies of the zine in an age before blogs. When you earn $3.50 an hour, it takes YEARS to pay off printing costs of $500+ per issue. Years. That zine put me thousands of dollars in debt, and taught me a lot of lessons about the business of being a creative professional. During this time I was also a college radio DJ, a cartoonist for our campus newspaper, and interned at Rutgers University Press. Oh, and I graduated from Rutgers University’s School of Communication, Information and Library Science. Can’t forget that.
Just after college, I was the manager of a local independent bookstore and cafe, where I helped schedule weekly musical acts, poetry readings, art exhibits, and other activities. I began getting really into paper craft, book arts, and paper sculpture, which resulted in me spending about 3 years developing a series of pop up books.
It was a super creative time filled with odd creative projects such as short films, sculpture, writing, and illustration. All long locked away in storage boxes. Again: this was before the age of blogs or Instagram or YouTube. I also played in a band that never played a single show, even though I have hundreds of hours of recordings locked away somewhere.
To say that I have been fortunate to know and work with so many incredible creative people is an understatement. If you want to read more about the moments where everything changed for me, I would suggest you check out these two essays:
- How sending a newsletter to 9 people launched my career.
- Why I took the risk to start a company the month before my first son was born.
Beyond all of this, I have also had the pleasure of working with some of tomorrow’s great writers and creative professionals, the kids up at PS 123 in Harlem. I began a partnership with them back in 2003, and since that time have helped plan dozens of events with the students, always focused on publishing, literacy and communication. PS 123 is an amazing community, and I feel truly honored to be a tiny part of their lives:
The best way to stay connected with me is via my weekly newsletter which is sent out each Friday. You can sign up (and get a free bonus workbook):