How I work with writers

This is my 12th year of working full-time with writers and creators. Each day, I get to wake up and spend time with people who write because they choose to, create what speaks to their heart, and share what makes people’s lives better. Every day is a gift.

Today, I want to talk about how I work with writers, and give you a behind the scenes look at the process.

Who I Work With

It’s most common for someone to reach out to me when:

  • They want to ensure they give their book the best possible chance to reach readers.
  • They don’t want to struggle alone through a hodge-podge list of ideas on how to share their writing. They want a strategy and a collaborator.
  • They want their writing to truly connect with readers, and have a positive impact on their lives. They aren’t looking for hollow vanity metrics.

I work with a wide range of writers. Each week I’m working with those who are pursing various publishing paths: traditional, hybrid, indie, and those who are not yet sure. I work with writers who are at different points on that path: still writing the book, looking for an agent, looking for a publisher, pre-book launch, book launch, and months/years after book launch. These people write fiction, memoir, nonfiction, poetry, essays, and so much else. I’ve worked with authors in seemingly every genre.

Does this sound too broad? Well, I grew up as the art kid. My life has been surrounded by creators. Even at home, my wife is an amazing artist. I believe that working across all areas of writing makes me better at helping each individual writer. There are ideas I will see in one area that can be applied to another. What I care most about is that the writer strongly believes in what they write. That is what lights me up, and why I love — LOVE — working with writers.

I tend to work with people as early as possible in their process. Why? Because to establish your platform, find your ideal readers, and ensure your work reaches them takes time. What we work on can deliver better results if you set the foundation right, then focus on effective communication, and developing trusting relationships around your creative work.

What I Do

I help writers develop their author platforms, launch their books, and create marketing strategies that work. I work collaboratively with writers, meaning that I’m in there doing the work with them. We work through my system together, and customize the strategy for each individual author.

So on a day to day basis, that can have me:

  • Doing research to identify comparable authors
  • Identifying which podcasts that author can pitch to become a guest
  • Editing the author’s bio
  • Developing the marketing section for a book proposal
  • Creating a content strategy for a newsletter
  • Digging into the backend of WordPress or Substack or Twitter ads a wide array of tools for the writer
  • … and so much else.

Having worked with thousands of writers, I specialize in developing clear strategies and giving writers a step-by-step process.

How I Work

So how do I collaborate with a writer to make it all happen? Several ways:

 

The first is that they receive access to my 15+ tab spreadsheet that outlines key aspects of my system. This is a shared document that we will be working in together. Step-by-step, we move through it, with clear instructions that lead to a solid game plan. This is a key deliverable that the writer gets to keep and use long after we stop working together. It is a living document that will comprise their messaging, audience research, marketing plans, book launch timeline, and so much else. By the time we are done, this document is packed with total clarity about how to reach their audience, and also streamlined so they know exactly what to work on, and when.

We have phone calls every other week, which are usually an hour long. I come in with an agenda, but we also talk about any questions or topics the author wants to dig into. So, even if we are working on podcast pitching and newsletters, if they have a question about TikTok or their book proposal or social media ads or anything — we dive into it.

Each call ends with a clear set of tasks that we will be working on. Sometimes they are shared tasks, other times tasks for just the author, other times tasks for me. The writer is never guessing what to be working on or where we are in the process.

Between calls, we are checking in via email. Writers have unlimited access to me via email. This is where we can share progress, get direction, ask for help, or explore new areas.

I will often reply back to an email with a video. Here the writer can see me work through problems, learn exactly how to do things by seeing and hearing me do it, and experience the collaboration in a new way.

I have honed this system over the course of 12 years. What it is optimized for is getting the work done, and feeling a sense of calm and clarity along the way. This, as opposed to what I want to avoid: just dumping information on a writer as many courses do, leaving them drowning in ideas that they don’t know how to execute. In working together, we get the work done and level up their career.

My Studio

I work out of a private studio here in New Jersey. I’ve ensured the place is two things: incredibly practical, and filled with beautiful things. Namely: books and typewriters. Here I am in the studio:

Dan Blank

 

I have a pretty advanced technical setup so that I can easily create videos for the writers I work with, showing them exactly how to create marketing campaigns, newsletters, use social media, and so much else. They can see me, my screen, and anything else that is needed to illustrate how to get it done. Here is a behind the scenes photo you don’t often see:

Studio

 

What is in the photo:

  1. Computer with multiple redundant backups. If the computer suddenly dies, I’ll be back up and running within minutes. If a tornado destroys the studio, I’ll be back up and running in 15 minutes.
  2. Coffee. I mean, is there a more essential ingredient to creativity?
  3. Video and audio controller.
  4. Teleprompter with monitor.
  5. Sony camera with ultra wide angle lens.
  6. Overhead camera setup with a Canon camera and wide angle lens.
  7. Microphone.
  8. Compressor for audio.
  9. Large display so I can monitor all video and audio feeds at once.
  10. Studio lights. I have two of these, and will likely upgrade in the near future.
  11. Locked door. Every creator needs one of these!
  12. Miele vacuum. A clean studio is a happy studio.
  13. Guitar amplifier so I can practice during my lunch break.
  14. 1972 Sony TV and Atari 2600. Just because they are beautiful and sometimes I need to revisit the 1970s.

My System

Last week I mentioned the system that I developed to help writers get clarity, identify their ideal audience, build their author platform, create compelling marketing campaigns, and launch their books. It’s called the Creative Success Pyramid. It is having a plan for what you will do, and when. It connects all of your actions to a cohesive whole. It also helps you determine what you won’t waste your time doing, thereby conserving your energy to just what matters to you.

See below, and click here to see this full-sized in a PDF:

 

It’s composed of five basic parts, you start at the bottom and work your way to the top:

  • Get radical creative clarity on what you create and why.
  • Build your platform to open pathways to your work.
  • Create and share with your authentic voice.
  • Connect with your ideal audience.
  • Launch and market your writing.

Next week I will do a deep diving explaining each of the elements of the Creative Success Pyramid in a live workshop. Register here.

What Do Results Look Like

What are the results of this work? Here is what some clients have said:

 

Leigh Stein“I hired Dan to help me with the marketing strategy for my next book launch. This is my fourth book and already I can see the difference: not only do I feel confident about the message of my book, and who my audience is, but I was able to bring innovative ideas for marketing and promotion to my publisher and they took off running. I don’t think I would have gotten this much support from my publisher if I hadn’t jumpstarted my marketing with Dan!”
– Leigh Stein, author of Self Care

 

 

KJ Dell'Antonia“Dan made connecting with readers—aka marketing—a joy instead of a chore. He changed the way I look at the business side of writing for good.”

– KJ Dell’Antonia, New York Times bestselling author of The Chicken Sisters

 

 

Amanda Montell“An invaluable, eye-opening crash course in book marketing, self-branding, and how to shout your message to the world. My three months working with Dank Blank not only taught me what marketing is in the first place, they also gave me a better understanding of my own work, audience, and core message. Dan helped me take my book launch process into my own hands and focus on which strategies would be the best use of my time; the social media campaigns he helped me conceptualize have opened me up to new readers and opportunities in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Part therapist, part sensei, part consultant, Dan Blank is not just an expert, he’s also a kind and generous human. I couldn’t recommend him highly enough!”

– Amanda Montell, author of Cultish and Wordslut

Jasmin Darznik“Working with Dan Blank has been one of the best investments I’ve made in myself as a writer. Reading his book was a revelation; working with him one-on-one gave me the chance to really put the ideas into practice. When we started working together, I felt overwhelmed and confused about where to focus my efforts and time. The list of “must-do’s” felt endless and not remotely exciting. Dan inspired me look at marketing in a totally new way. What I loved best about our collaboration is that it grew out of my own interests and passions. He helped me map out a concrete plan and then challenged me to work through it on a weekly basis. To anyone looking for clarity and purpose, as well as actionable steps to support their writing and creative goals, I recommend Dan with complete confidence and great gratitude.”

– Jasmin Darznik, author of The Bohemians

Sarah Hays Coomer“Working with Dan changed my life and work forever. As a Mayo Clinic and Nationally Board Certified Health Coach, I am duty-bound to focus on the health and well-being of everyone I work with. The idea of “sales and marketing” always made me squirm, even when I was getting the word out about my books, which I knew would be helpful for readers. When my third book was coming out, I knew I needed to change the way I approached marketing and the way I thought about it too. Dan taught me how to help people feel better through my marketing. From there, I have been able to grow sales, social media, my mailing list, speaking engagements, and client base. His podcast began to shift my thinking, and working with him one-on-one cemented the way I’ll approach professional outreach for the rest of my career. It’s such a relief!”

– Sarah Hays Coomer, author of The Habit Trip

How to Work With Me

You can learn more about working with me here.

Ready to take action? Questions? Email me directly at dan@wegrowmedia.com and let me know what you are working on, the big challenge you are facing, and how you hope I can help.

(Bonus points if you add the subject line: “Dan, I’m ready to get it done.”)

I will send you a 12 page PDF that outlines my consulting process.

 

If you are interested, we will schedule time to talk via phone and explore a customized plan for you.
I only work with a very limited number of clients per quarter. This is your chance to take meaningful action.

Oh, and please join me next week for my next workshop on Friday January 28th at 1pm ET: A Deep Dive Into The Creative Success Pyramid. Register here.

Thanks!
-Dan