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Writers House: Build Your Author Platform

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Join me and a group of fellow authors from Writers House for an 6-week online course that will build the platform you need to establish an audience for your writing career.


Too many writers publish books that do not get read. Most books don’t sell that well: they don’t get reviewed, they don’t get shelf space in bookstores or libraries, and most importantly: they don’t make their way into the hands of those readers who would most appreciate them. My friend Jane Friedman said something to me once that gave me chills:

“The most disappointed writers I know are not the unpublished writers, but those who have been published.”

What she means is that these writers were disappointed because after years of hard work, only a few dozen books were sold. That no one cared about their book. With so many more books being published each year; with publishers overwhelmed with the many titles they produce; it is increasingly up to the writer to learn how to connect their writing to readers who will appreciate their work.

This online course runs from October 3 – November 20, 2012. Details below.

Why Build Your Author Platform?

Are you a writer who is passionate about your work, but find it difficult to build an audience? What you need is an author platform – a strategic way to communicate your purpose to the world and establish trust with those who can help make you a success.

I have trained hundreds of writers to extend their reach in powerful ways – increasing audience size and engagement. Inherent in this is establishing a manageable process where you do more of what works, less of what doesn’t, and balance the craft of writing with platform development.

In this 6-week online course, you will walk away with so many elements that will help you grow and engage your audience:

  • A clear purpose for your work that will resonate with those you hope to engage.
  • An understanding of who your target audience is, what they find compelling, and where to find them.
  • How to blog, leverage social media, and share content that people care about.
  • Ways of measuring what is working, what isn’t, and a process to constantly optimize how you grow and connect with your audience.
  • Establish powerful relationships with myself, the other writers in the class, and guest speakers. We become a team that helps you develop your author platform.

Here is what some past students have said about the course:


Developing an author platform is really about developing the skill of learning about your ideal readers and how to engage them in meaningful ways. It is about aligning with those who will love your book, if only they could find it.


Most people feel they are wasting time on social media or in developing their audience because they aren’t focusing on the right people, on the right milestones, and don’t understand how building an audience actually HELPS your writing progress. People feel overwhelmed by all of this because they have no plan, no strategy. An author platform is about making hard choices on where to focus your energy, and is as much about what you DON’T do, as what you do. This is a process of refinement, focused intently on your goals as a writer.


#1 New York Times Bestseller Rebecca Skloot shares this advice for writers:

“The biggest mistake writers make in terms of marketing and publicity for their book is starting too late.”

Build an audience NOW. The worst time to build an audience is when you DESPERATELY need them to buy your book. That is when you see all of the bad examples of authors on social media and the web. They feel they have no choice but to spam people in order to get them to pay attention. But an author platform is about NOT doing that. It is about establishing genuine relationships with your community and readers.


What The Course Gives You

This online course runs from from October 3 – November 20, 2012, and provides the structure and skills you need to build the foundation for your writing career. The The full course includes the following elements:

  • Build relationships with other Writers House authors. This session is only open to authors within Writers House, allowing you to build powerful connections with your peers.
  • 6 career-shifting lessons that take you step by step through the process of how to develop your author platform.
  • Personalized feedback via weekly homework assignments, where I directly address your challenges and opportunities with advice to ensure you are on the right track.
  • The ability to ask questions 24/7 via our private online forum. Here, you can discuss key topics in developing your platform with myself and other students in the course.
  • 6 Exclusive Insider Calls, where I get on the phone with the entire class and you can ask anything. Here you have a chance to brainstorm ideas; dig into specific challenges you are trying to move past; and build close relationships with myself and the other writers in the course. All Exclusive Insider Calls are recorded, so if you miss a call, you always have access to the recording.

You are provided access to a private online classroom where you will find all course material, and engage with the other students. The only thing you need to participate in the course is a web connection and telephone.



Course Schedule

The course begins on October 3 and ends on November 20. Every Wednesday, you are given access to a new lesson in text/image/video formats. Throughout the course, you go through 6 powerful lessons taking you through each step of developing your author platform. (more on these below.)

Each lesson ends with a homework assignment which is due the following Monday. I provide in-depth feedback within 48 hours.

Every Tuesday at 3pm ET, we have our Exclusive Insider Calls, where the class speaks via conference call. This is an hour-long conversation where you can ask me anything, and get feedback from other members of the class as well. Everything is recorded; if you miss a call, you have access to an MP3 recording of it to listen to anytime. You can also send in questions ahead of time for me to address on the call.


Pricing & Registration

The full course includes the 6 lessons, plus 6 Exclusive Insider Calls with me, detailed feedback on your homework, and access to the forum. This costs $599. This is an incredible investment in your writing career, providing not just the skills, but the relationships you need to succeed.

Limited space is available in this course – we keep class sizes small to ensure each student gets individualized attention. Once the course fills up, we will close registration.

I offer flexible payment plans. To register, you leave a $50 deposit, and then the rest of the balance is billed in 4 payments throughout the course. There is also a 100% money back guarantee, which I describe below. There is literally no risk on your part.

A Walkthrough Of Each Lesson

The 6 lessons provide a step by step process to develop your author platform, and the full course ensures you have feedback to ensure we work through challenges and roadblocks that you may be facing. Each week provides another building block that addresses a critical aspect of growing and connecting with your audience.

Week 1: Focus

  • Objective:Focus your efforts to clear goals and actionable steps to reach them. This includes both short and long term goals. We review your existing online author presence to gauge where you stand, what resources you have to work with, and where you need to start from scratch. This is about simplifying.
  • Key Topics: Analysis of your existing author presence; Your experience and credibility as an author; Your long terms goals as a writer; Your short-term professional needs.

Week 2: Define

  • Objective:Define what it is your work stands for, and determine how to communicate that to others. We dig into how your value connects with the needs and desires of your audience.
  • Key Topics: Establish your brand message; Review keyword research tools; Create keywords for inbound and outbound marketing.

Week 3: Target

  • Objective:Identify where communities exist that align to your brand. These are not just places that you are targeting your marketing efforts, they are groups of like-minded people who you can help, and who can help you. Your brand will not be established by crafting a perfect marketing message that you will broadcast, it will be created by authentic interactions within these communities that focus on the good of the whole, not just your own goals. We review how to learn what works by watching how others interact and how they share content via social media and the web. Listening is your most powerful tool because it gives you keen insights into the needs and desires of your audience. You will begin identifying how you can add unique value to the community you are targeting. The goal is not to create your writing and then try to sell people on it, but understand what engages people and create your branding around that.
  • Key Topics: Identify groups, communities, and individuals who align to your purpose and goals; Analyze what networks matter most to these groups & people; Conduct market research to understand the purpose & goals of others; Learn who is leveraging online networks most strategically; Discover the influencers within these communities; Research methods to identify engagement strategies; A primer on using web analytics; How to blend online and offline research methods; How to learn the unwritten rules of your community by observing what others do.

Week 4: Join

  • Objective:Build or optimize your online presence. We choose which online services to join and craft your profiles on each. This is the first step in putting your brand message out there. These are the building blocks for interaction, helping, and growing your credibility and connections.
  • Key Topics: Selecting online social media services such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. ; Secure domain/screen names; Create profiles for each; Consider how your online presence will help people engage and interact with you – giving them easy ways to understand your purpose, and how to learn more about you; This is about creating unique value and building an authentic presence.

Week 5: Share

  • Objective:Create engaging content and get involved: this is where we take preparation and theory into the real world of interacting with others. We review best practices for online content creation, and how to connect all content types (long form, social updates, blogging, video, audio) to your brand story. We establish search engine optimization writing practices, and set you up with a structured content strategy and editorial calendar. Worried that you don’t have enough time to manage an author platform? This is where we share tips on how to manage it all. The goal is to bridge the gap between simple things like Tweets to your larger goals. It’s all about building interest in you and your work via authentic psychological cues.
  • Key Topics: Writing for the web best practices; Search engine optimization practices for writers; How to create a mindmap; How to create an editorial calendar; The value of partnerships; Guest blogging; How to create a newsletter and newsletter list; Marketing tactics for major platforms; How to create structured marketing campaigns.

Week 6: Grow

  • Objective:Create sustainable workflows for further establishing your brand and increasing your network in the communities you serve. Setup performance measurement and review how to iterate online strategies to ensure consistent growth of your online presence. Of course, this is all about how to get the maximum benefit for your efforts.
  • Key Topics: How to set benchmarks; how to use web analytics; the value of measurement and iteration.




I am passionate about ensuring students make an investment in their writing careers that connects them with their goals. If you sign up for the course, and after the first week, are not satisfied for ANY reason, just send me an email, and I will provide a full refund.

This means you have 7 full days to try out the course, go through the first lesson, chat with other students, experience the first call, and be a part of everything else it offers. At day 7, if you realize this isn’t for you, I will gladly refund your money. It literally costs you nothing.

I assume all risk here because I want you to feel you have made a choice that will put you on the fast track to developing your author platform. I have worked with hundreds of writers, and firmly believe that my role is to HELP you reach your goals, and ensure that you make the most of your resources. Have any questions at anytime? This is my cell phone number: 973-981-8882. Just call me and ask. (but please call at a reasonable hour, I have a 2 year old at home!) I don’t see many other instructors giving out their personal cell phone number before, during or after a course. That is how much I believe in helping you.

If you want to build an audience for your writing and develop your author platform, please consider joining me, the course starts soon.


About The Instructor

DanBlankMy name is Dan Blank, and I help writers build their platforms, and work with publishers to grow their online communities. I have worked with hundreds of writers to help them develop the skills they need to build and engage their audiences. I have taught courses for Writer’s Digest and Mediabistro, and spoken at many of the major publishing and writing conferences. For my full background, please check out my bio and LinkedIn profile.

Brands I have worked with:

Events I have spoken at: