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Vantage Points


LiveWriters chats with Dan Blank of WeGrowMedia

Q: You are the founder of WeGrowMedia, where you help writers and other creatives develop a human-centered approach to marketing and reaching their audience. What is one simple marketing step that new writers often miss out on? Why do you think that is?
A: They wait to long to learn how to talk about what they create, and engage with other people around that. Their reasons are often logical. Perhaps they feel it is better to wait until their writing is "finished" or until someone reputable publishes it for them. But by this time, it is too late. They are rushing to shout about their work without having developed an audience supporting who they are and why they create. What I would encourage new writers to do is two-fold. First is to regularly share what you create and why. You can do this on social media, an email newsletter, video or so many other channels. The second is to develop professional colleagues. To do so, don't vie for the attention of "influencers," instead identify who else writers and reads the kind of work you create. Email them, follow them on social media, find small ways to engage. 
Q: Based on your experiences, what do you see as the link between writing and podcasting? How can one benefit the other? 

A: The impetus for writing and podcast is often similar. Usually it is focused on either storytelling or educating. So many podcasts have embraced long-form storytelling or interviews. Likewise, there are lessons to be learned, sometimes directly through a topic, and other times as the moral of a story. This is similar to why people write memoir, fiction, and nonfiction. The person who listens to a podcast may have the same goal of someone who reads a book: to escape into a story, to connect with the world in a new way, and to learn something in the process. 
Q: Tell readers about your book. What inspired you to write it, and what do readers most often tell you they admire about it? 

The idea behind Be the Gateway happened unexpectedly. Several years ago I was recording daily videos for some writers I was working with, and one day I came up with this idea of our careers as writers being akin to a gateway that we build and walk people through. I started recording a video and riffed on this idea. The writers I was working with loved it, so I wrote a public blog post about it too, and I kept getting great feedback.
It's intriguing for me to consider that I have the moment of ideation captured on video for this book. The concept is basically to make marketing feel like an authentic and approachable pursuit for writers and artists. The book is broken down into three parts, giving practical ways to understand how to communicate what you create and why, how to better find and get to know your ideal readers, and then how to engage with them in a manner that feels natural. All the while, developing your platform as a writer and understanding how to market your books

Digital audio continues to grow like crazy. More people than ever have learned to love audiobooks — and now podcasts.

What better way for an author or publisher to communicate with readers than with a podcast? You’re live, authentic, and powerful! People want to hear your voice. Let LiveWriters help!       

Podcast News

Book Pages 

Move Beyond the 'LIKE' Button:

"I believe you should CONNECT TO A PERSON, NOT AN AUDIENCE. Connecting your work to others should be a process of deep connection, not one of trying to amass faceless followers, judging your success on likes and reshares. It is about connecting through writing and art, and how that changes someone."

-- Dan Blank, WeGrowMedia

For this Replay pick, we recommend the March 18, 2021 episode of WritersCast: The Voice of Writing with host David Wilk. This episode features an interview with Claudio Saunt, author of Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory
Saunt, who is a teacher and a historian as well as an author, tells Wilk that his inspiration to write Unworthy Republic came partly from his own family's history. His grandfather, a Hungarian Jew, had escaped Hungary in 1938 and corresponded with relatives up until they were deported by Nazis to Auschwitz in 1944. Saunt inherited and translated those letters, which led him to think about other atrocities of deportation, including that which happened in the United States in the 1830s--Indian Removal. 

Saunt also realized that, as a teacher, he wasn't excited about assigning to his students the books already written on the topic, many of which told only part of the story. So, he did what anyone with his research interests and writing capabilities would do--he created the full account that had been missing. 
In this book, Wilk explains, "Saunt makes three related core arguments: 'The state-administered mass expulsion of indigenous people was unprecedented, it was a turning point for indigenous peoples and for the United States, and it was far from inevitable.'" Listen to the interview and then pick up the book for the real story of how closely racism, cruelty, and greed intertwined--from north to south--to kill, harm, and dispossess thousands of Native Americans to make the white invaders richer. 

Unworthy Republic has earned many accolades, including being a Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Nonfiction, being named a Top Ten Best Book of 2020 by the Washington Post and Publishers Weekly, and being called a New York Times Critics' Top Book of 2020. 

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