I help writers share their stories and connect with readers. Interested in doing that for yourself? Here are five ways I can help:
- Online courses
(My next course: Become a Creative Professional begins on March 30, 2015)
- Conferences & events
- One-on-one consulting
- Workshops & speaking
- Writing: (ebooks, weekly newsletter, blog)
Each of these things embody the same philosophy and process outlined below. Click each of the links above to learn more about specific ways to work with me. Or, check out an example of how I am working with one author.
ARE YOU OVERWHELMED?
Let me guess: you are overwhelmed. You have a story to tell, something to share, but find that there is a crushing weight around you of obligations constantly vying for your attention.
That is the word I hear most often from writers and creative professionals I speak to: “overwhelmed.” And that is exactly the word term I hope to eradicate from your life.
For most writers, this is your daily existence:
- Trying to find time to write and improve your craft
- Trying to understand the best way to publish and share your work
- Trying to find and engage an audience for your work
- Trying to do all this while providing for your family, perhaps via the business of writing, but more likely through a regular day job
- Trying to balance obligations of your home, from laundry, to mowing the lawn, to doing dishes
- Trying to be present in your relationships with significant others, family and friends
- If you have kids, let’s add in that you are responsible for every moment of someone else’s life too
- Maybe you have a hobby
- Maybe you need to sleep
- Maybe you have other ways you serve others in your community, or a charity or organizations you are a part of
Did I miss anything?
Woven with each of these things are good intentions – you desperately trying to honor things you value, give back to others, and create a meaningful life for yourself.
And yet… the days spin away. Crushed under social obligations, email, unread self-help books, lapsed gym membership, and a list of to-do’s that has been unchanged for years.
Solving this is my daily obsession. This is what I focus on 100% not just for myself, but for the hundreds and hundreds of writers and creative professionals that I have worked with. My goals are always simple: they are your goals:
- To live a daily life that feels meaningful to you, as a person, and as a writer.
- To create a body of work that you are proud of.
- To connect your work with the people it matters most to. To ensure your work truly affects the lives of others in positive ways.
I don’t pretend the process to achieve this is easy, but I KNOW it is possible because I have worked through it with writer after writer.
There are lots of articles blog posts, and books out there over-promising how to solve these challenges, or positing that there is a SINGLE right way to achieve these things because it worked for one person.
In truth: what works for one person won’t work for you. Just as writing with the same brand of pen that your writing-idol works with won’t do anything to improve your writing craft, or even the quantity of your output.
I’m not here to sell you pens.
… or apps or WordPress plug-ins or anything else that feels like a simple solution to a complex problem.
I believe that the best way to truly solve challenges such as this is:
- Together. You need a partner in this process. Clearly, it does NOT have to be me, but however you proceed forward: work with someone (a mentor, a friend, a teacher, etc) or within a group of people.
- Slowly, over time. (Sorry about this one, it takes time.)
- Via a focus on process, not the destination. Most complex and impressive goals are really made up of the most simple steps repeated again and again. That is where we focus.
- By making clear choices that the rest of our culture seems to discourage. Some of you are surrounded by supportive family, friends, co-workers, and communities supporting a vision of what you can be as a writer. But not everyone is, and it’s astounding how many cues and encouragement we surrounded with that say “Nah, just go shopping and watch TV…” If you want to truly create something special, you have to question every moment of where your energy goes. (note: this doesn’t mean you can’t watch TV or go shopping, but rather merely be aware of it’s place in your life in the context of what you are building.)
- By taking small steps, and consistently measuring to see if your intention is matching the outcome. Big plans fail because you can only prepare for success, not plan for it. And these big plans are often filled with an intense amount of pressure and judgement and fear. We do away with them entirely, and instead focus on the real daily work and milestones that actually matter.
If you are interested in one-on-one consulting, here are some packages I typically offer, though everything can be customized to your goals and challenges:
- For Writers:
I work with you one-on-one or in group settings via online courses to help you identify your audience, craft your messaging, and take a strategic approach to truly grow and engage your audience.
- For Organizations:
I provide deep research and analysis to craft brand for your writers that engages their readers; I also provide direct training to your employees or your authors via online courses/webinars or in-person workshops.
My process is based on two things:
- Research, analysis and strategy.
- Working to develop your skills in understanding and connecting with readers.
- Better managing your time and energy so that you truly accomplish your goals while still living your life.
To me, this is a human process of understanding who your ideal audience is in a variety of contexts, with a wide rage of data points, and taking a realistic approach to truly connect with them, not merely market to them.
I customize my services to your needs, but below are three core packages that I offer:
Audience Discoverability & Development
Here, I use a variety of research processes to determine who a writer’s ideal audience is, where they are online and off, and what engages them. This is then mapped to a branding and marketing strategy for your author or your organization. This audience research process includes:
- Web analytics analysis
- Market research
- Audience interviews
- Competitive research
- Social media analysis
- Keyword research
- Understanding your audience’s workflow, behavior and psychographics as it relates to your author or organization
You walk away with a deep understanding of your ideal audience from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective, with clear action steps to connect with them.
I have crafted my methodology through working with hundreds of writers, from bestsellers to first-time authors. The six core steps include:
- FOCUS goals and resources
- DEFINE messaging and brand
- TARGET ideal readers
- JOIN the communities you hope to engage
- SHARE content and conversation that matters
- GROW your audience via analysis and observation
This goes far beyond just using social media, we hone the voice of an author and work to engage readers in the channels that matter most.
I help manage the entire process of establishing an author’s brand and working through a book launch, from a year before, to well beyond, ensuring that an audience connects from one book to the next. This is about best leveraging your resources, organizing a wide range of moving parts over the course of 1+ year, and managing the platform in the way that delivers the highest return on investment.
I have run dozens of in-person and online training programs and workshops for writers and publishing professionals. These range from small hour-long sessions, to multi-month education programs. Topics include:
- Brand development
- Audience targeting and engagement
- Writing for the web
- Web analytics
- Marketing campaigns
- Book launches
- Social media management
Curious on how to get started? Sign up for my weekly newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming opportunities to work together:
WHAT AUTHORS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT WORKING WITH ME
“Dan Blank is a savvy strategist whose insights really helped me to use social media in a smarter and more effective way, to stay much better connected to my readers and spread the word about my books.”
– Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Paranoia and Buried Secrets
“I took Dan’s Author Platform course at a difficult point in my career when I could no longer locate my true north. The work in that course helped me define my goals and hone my platform, and reminded me what my dreams were. When I sold my third book and had a chance at a revamped career, I knew I wanted Dan by my side every step of the way. In our year of working together one-on-one, he’s helped me: start two major web projects (FriendStories.com and The Bittersweet Book Launch Blog); re-envision my website (MirandaBW.com); run a 24-book, 24-author giveaway on my website, and become much more active on social media. But that’s just what can be counted. The truth is, Dan has done a million things for me that can’t be quantified, including cheering me on, offering brutal honesty and moral support, and being consistently available, generous and creative with his time and ideas. The publishing journey can be a lonely one. I’d urge anyone about to embark on this adventure to look to Dan as their North Star; he’s helped me find my way home to a career I didn’t know I was capable of making.”
– Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet
“Dan offers a wonderful mix of understanding the ins-and-outs of the new creative marketplace and the ability to translate and apply that knowledge into action for an author, artist or entrepreneur. He is an invaluable partner to guide you along your journey from creation to execution.”
– Cali Williams Yost author of Tweak It: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day
“Dan provided a framework and roadmap to help me move beyond my inaction and panic, to develop my platform and grow my readership. By breaking the work down into chunks, it became manageable instead of insurmountable. What I gained was a sense of control, and I no longer felt overwhelmed.”
– Beth McMullen, author of Spy Mom
“Dan is the best kind of guide in that he helped me find one simple thing: how to be me. Whether I’m tweeting, speaking or posting, I now know why I’m doing it. More importantly, I also decided what I’m not doing. And that leaves more time for writing.”
– Claire Cameron, author of the The Bear: A Novel
“This course helped me find focus my goals, determine my target audience (and how to reach them), and try new social media approaches that paid off right away.”
“After Dan’s course, I feel like I’ve regained control of my schedule: I now know what marketing I want to accomplish each day, and have clear goals for the months ahead.”
“Dan isn’t about shortcuts, but connecting with readers in a deeper way. This is what I wanted as a writer. I wanted to find my true, authentic audience. I wanted to continue to make a difference in the lives of my readers. He helped me stay on the right path. Dan is the real deal, he cares.”
– Barbara Techel, author of Through Frankie’s Eyes
“Dan not only helps you find out who you are as an author, but who your readers are and how to make that special, magic connection.”
– Thomas Greanias, New York Times Bestselling author
“Dan guided me to take the steps that I needed to find my authentic voice as a writer, speaker, and to help me develop an online presence. I appreciated the depth of his knowledge, the kindness of his guidance, and the solid process in which to follow. I now recommend Dan to every writer that I meet.”
– Susan Chritton, author of Personal Branding For Dummies
“I’ve taken two courses and one workshop with Dan. He knows and cares about the inner needs of the writer, and has a broad and up-to-date understanding of the rapidly changing publishing industry. I rely on him to help me navigate the whitewater of authorship.”
– Shirley H. Showalter, author of Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World