Announcing: Build Your Author Platform 8-Week Online Course, Spring 2012

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 am excited to announce the spring 2012 session of my 8-week online course: Build Your Author Platform. The course takes you through the critical steps of how to develop your audience:

  • A clear statement of your purpose and description of 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.

But the course delivers so much more than just information – you build powerful relationships with myself, other writers in the class, as well as guest experts. This is the team you need to help work past challenges, personalize the material to your goals, and ensure you stay motivated and accountable.

This online course runs from from April 4 – May 29, 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:

  • 8 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.
  • 8 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.
  • 6 Guest Expert Calls from leading publishing professionals. These experts get on the phone with the class, and allow you to ask them any question you want. They provide personalized insight that helps you build your author platform. All Guest Expert Calls are recorded, so if you miss a call, you always have access to the recording.

You can read full details about the Build Your Author Platform course here.

The spring session also includes some exciting changes, including three plans to choose from. If you have any questions about the course, please feel free to reach out.

Thanks!
-Dan

Is My “Build Your Author Platform” Course Right For You?

Registration is now open for my 8 week online course: Build Your Author Platform. The class is nearly full, but I wanted to share some more info as to who this class might be for, in the event you are considering registering, or know of someone who might be right.

This course is for:

  • Passionate writers with vision
    So much of what I teach is about focusing, researching, defining – and then connecting it to the world, to a real community of people. A bit of uncertainty is absolutely expected for any student – that you may need help honing your brand, understanding how to communicate the value of your work, or identifying the audience who it will best connect with. This course does help clarify a lot about an author’s brand, their work, and their community – and help make it all a reality. But that vision and passion, that is what I hope the writer to come with.

  • A writer who wants to connect their work and vision with the world
    Someone who is not afraid of technology – you are comfortable with a mouse, and the idea of actually interacting with people online. You need not be an expert by any stretch, but if you want to spend as little time online as possible, it will be harder to engage your audience, which is something I am passionate about. Many writers I know are apprehensive about social media, and unsure of how to use it best. That is absolutely fine, I review the value, and specific steps to get on board. But the writer must have an innate desire to connect with readers.

  • A writer looking for a framework for success
    The success of a writer is not always a plug-and-play solution – ONE secret button to press. It is about establishing a process to create great work, and connect it with others. That the writer is willing to invest TIME in building their career. This course presents a valuable framework by which to expand your writing career, and to do so with your existing resources.

  • A writer who is focused on building a long-term writing career
    This course does cover specific tactics to get the word out about your work in the very near term. But overall, it addresses the needs of someone who is committed to their work and their audience for the long haul – that they are interested in building a viable career, not just marketing a single book.

Do you have questions about the course? Check out the course details and registration page. Or, just shoot me an email or give me a call: dan@danblank.com or 973-981-8882.

I am incredibly excited for the course, it is something I have poured my heart into, and am constantly thinking of ways to make it even better. If you think it’s right for you, please don’t delay registering. Registration officially closes on Wednesday February 23, but I may need to close it early if it fills up. I want to keep the class size to a reasonable number, to ensure I can provide as much value as possible to the students.

I also recently announced a bonus to the course: Guest Lectures!
As a bonus to the regular course material, I have arranged for a few guest speakers during the course, including Jane Friedman, Kevin Smokler and Justine Musk. These are super-smart and passionate people on the topic of building your author platform – an incredible resource to have them as a part of this. I hope to add more guest speakers (my ideal is one per week), but these three are confirmed.

Thanks!
-Dan

Announcing: Build Your Author Platform

I am excited to announce an online course I am launching: Build Your Author Platform. This course provides writers the skills they need to engage their audience, establish their brand, and grow their writing career. Whether you are a published author or not, this course is for you.

I’ve worked with hundreds of writers, training them in online content and marketing strategy – THIS is the course I’ve developed to not just share these strategies, but work WITH you to personalize them to your needs and goals. The course begins on March 2, and enrollment is still a few weeks away. The info below is a preview – if this course sounds like it may be fore you, sign up for updates, discounts, and bonus material:

This course teaches you the strategies and tactics that you need, and it all happens in an online environment where we are working together as a class to help each other move towards our goals.

The course covers:

  • How to set clear and actionable goals that build your credibility as an author, and create a realistic plan to achieve them. This is not about throwing dozens of strategies at you, assuming you don’t have a family, career and personal life to attend to. This is about setting priorities, and creating a clear path forward.
  • How to define the value of your work, and create your personal brand. Most people have a hard time explaining the value of their work in a concise manner that will engage their target audience. I’ll take you through the process to ensure you are creating a brand that aligns to the needs of your audience, and your long term goals as a writer.
  • How to clearly target the readers and communities you are most interested in. Too often, marketing is about vague terms about ‘audience’ – we dig into practical ways to attract the real people you are hoping to engage.
  • How to identify the needs and desires of your audience – the things that get them to stand up and take notice. We review research methods that are specific, targeted and actionable.
  • How to optimize your online presence. If you don’t yet have one, we review the best practices to setting it up. If you already have an online presence, we identify how to best optimize and leverage it.
  • How to create high-quality online content that will attract the community you love. Be it text, audio, video, or a mixture of them all, we review the tactics that work, and how to create a system to make this manageable. It’s too easy to say “blog every day” – I take you through ways to identify what will work, and how to do it with your existing resources.
  • How to share your work in a way that builds real connections with your audience online. This is not just about ‘getting followers’ – it’s about building real connections with real people – setting the foundation for a fan base, or extending one if you have it already.
  • How to create sustainable workflows to ensure consistent audience growth. It’s not enough for me to just help you during the course, I want you to walk away with a system in place that will ensure you find new ways to engage your audience long after the course ends.

This course is filled with strategies and tactics, culled from my experience of executing these ideas, not just reading about them. We cover content strategy, online marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and so many other topics. And we deal with them in a frank, down-to-earth manner. This is not a course for techies – it’s a course for real people trying to move towards their goals and build their writing careers.

I will be sharing more details on the course in the coming weeks, but here are some details to get you started:

  • This is an online course – you simply need a web browser to access it.
  • It will start in March and run through April.
  • There is a mix of structured lessons, feedback from your instructor (me!) and interaction with other students. The goal is not to just dump information on you, but to give feedback, to personalize these strategies to your needs.
  • Throughout the course, you won’t just learn about what you should do, you actually execute on the ideas. By the end of the course, you should be on your way to establishing your author platform.

Who is this course for? Published authors, pre-published authors, and writers of all sorts. I’ve tested it with fiction writers and non-fiction writers – both will find incredible value here.

I will be sharing more info in the coming weeks as I move towards launch. Please sign up for updates, discounts, and bonus material:

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.

Thanks.
-Dan
973-981-8882 | Twitter: @DanBlank | dan@danblank.com

Knowledge is Useless Without Action

I’ve been slowly prying the lid off an online course I’m developing for writers to build their brand online, and am concerned about one thing:

I want my course to truly help people reach their goals, not just make them feel good about taking the course.

Dan Blank
This has me considering how people learn, not just how to get them to buy my course. There is a distinct difference here.

There has been a tidal wave of “information products” on the web, from eBooks to forums to webinars to classes. Some of them are really cool, and some seem to be exercises in “conversion rates” and online sales. Some are “all about the launch,” after which, they begin preparing for releasing their next product.

But what happens after the purchase is what matters most. How effective is this course in shaping people’s lives? This is where knowledge turns to education, and education turns to a true affect on people’s lives, and through them, the world.

Did you go to college pursuing “a degree,” or did you pursue knowledge? Now that you are in the professional world, are you exercising the brand name of the college (eg: “I have an MFA from Brand X University”) or are you exercising the knowledge, turning thought into action; idea into reality?

The knowledge alone is often useless without integrating it with other knowledge, with other skills, with ideas, with other people, with the right time and place.

I want my course to help people, and this requires something more than delivering knowledge. It involves working together towards goals, through stumbling blocks, through the emotional mine field of stretching ourselves beyond our normal limits.

A teacher doesn’t deliver information. A teacher is a partner, someone who is learning as much from the student as the student is learning from them.

That is what I strive for as I build this course, and it’s been an interesting process. Hope you come with me on the journey…

I’ll be sharing more information on the course very soon – the best and fastest way to learn more is to sign up for email updates:

Thank you!

-Dan

Social Media Classes For Writers & Authors

I’ve been working on something for awhile now – building a course on how YOU can leverage social media, online media and online marketing. Today I want to share a few details about it, and talk about how we learn, and how what we know affects what we accomplish.

Dan Blank
Most of us learn how to leverage the web by doing. We read one article and blog post at a time, take tentative steps onto services like Twitter, and try to replicate what we see works for others. Pretty soon, we each have our own secret sauce – a mixture of our personal comfort level, and customized online strategy.

But does it lead you to your goals? Is it working as well as you would like? For many people, I find that they are doing interesting things in social media, but are failing to find a workable system that is manageable, enjoyable and leads to the personal and career growth they were hoping.

This is the reason I am creating a class for teaching social media to writers and authors. Here is why I think a structured curriculum is important:

You Need Goals
The one thing missing from most people’s online strategy is goals. They know they want to grow in some way, they have a vague feeling of what success will entail, but they rarely define it with hard numbers and accomplishments. This is the first critical step. If you don’t know where you are going, then it is all the more likely that you will get there.

You Need a Plan
A curriculum is a plan, a committment. It takes you step by step through a process, and always leaves you with two things: accomplishments and a next step. It is a process for growing.

You Need to Get Your Hands Dirty
Its not enough to debate the value of certain aspects of social media, you need to get your hands dirty. For instance, I see far too many people  debate the value of paid content or paywalls online, without ever trying themselves. They are debating theory – what-ifs in a universe that needs practical insight and experience.

You Need to Measure
Too often, we pursue a certain tactic or strategy, and validate it by blindly following it forever. That, instead of being honest about if it really works, we are too afraid to feel stupid by discovering that (while it was a good idea), it didn’t have the intended result. Measuring what works and what doesn’t is critical for true success, not just perceived expertise.

You Need to Iterate
You hear phrases such as “fail often,” and what they are referring to is iteration – the need to change, to evolve ideas and move towards finding the results you are looking for. Iteration is a process, something that doesn’t often come naturally. It is essential for learning, for growing, for building, for achieving your goals.

You Need Help
This does not refer just to a teacher-student relationship, but to the comradery and resources that other classmates give you. You can learn so much from others who are a part of the same program, pursuing similar goals, and following the same strategy as you . Likewise, alumni are incredible resources for years to come – those who can continue to help each other as they grow and become successful. Why is a Harvard education so valuable? Part of the reason is the ability to tap into it’s network of successful people.

I learn so much just by reading Tweets everyday. But this learning is disaggregated – found in stolen moments and dozens of Bit.ly links each day. And my concern is that this leads to a great deal of input, without much output. EG: Am I building my future with all of the things I learn?

So that is the background as to why I am building this course. And… here are some details on the course itself:

  • This is a 6 week long ONLINE class. You don’t have to leave your house!
  • It starts off with a 1-on-1 chat where I can assess your personal challenges and goals.
  • It includes weekly live webinars taking you through a structured curriculum. Here I share advice as to how to build, manage, and grow your online presence.
  • There are hands-on assignments which means you walk away from the course already well on your way to achieving your goals.
  • Each week, I help you tackle specific issues and questions via email office hours.
  • You will be able to learn from other writers going through this course with you.

Are you interested? Do you think you may want to apply to be a part of this program? Yay!

I’ll be sharing more information very soon – the best and fastest way to learn more is to sign up for email updates:

Thank you!

-Dan