The genre of music and self-help was chosen naturally. We naturally gravitate to what we are consuming in our own time. I’ve worked in radio, music, and entrepreneurial growth for over 15 years. When I was first trying to navigate how to get my radio platform in front of more people, I searched feverishly for a book to show me how to do it right. I couldn’t find it. Having created a radio show that I’ve syndicated myself to get added to stations across the globe, I learned a lot of lessons that appeal to musicians who are trying to do the same things with their music. Also, having worked as a radio personality and music curator for so long, folks who do this line of work get a ton of music submissions every day. What worked for me in getting my show picked up is the same thing that works in getting music picked up. I wanted to share these insights and methods with artists and creative entrepreneurs so that they can achieve positive results too. Winning appeals to everyone, and that’s why this subject appeals to me.
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
Writing consistently and choosing to write and/or create a portion of material daily is the most challenging. I committed to breaking down each and every step in the process down, and then answering questions that people usually don’t ask but need to be addressed. Digging deeper and deeper into the subject requires a lot of discipline and patience. The best way to do that is to fulfill the commitment by choosing to try every day to write something. Usually the thing that holds us up is thinking we don’t have anything to write in the moment because starting from scratch is tough. But most writers know that the act of writing is the answer to the problem of figuring out what to say. Those words that were hidden, the ways of framing our ideas in a discernable way, become apparent when the act of writing happens.
When and where do you do your writing?
Actually I write in a few places to trick myself into doing it. Remember, choosing to do it daily is a struggle. So tricking the brain sometimes is what I have to do. I write in a paper journal when ideas come into mind, then transcribe that to a text document I have that’s ongoing on my computer. I also make little videos on a daily basis of stuff I want to address and talk about more. Those videos make their way into the work I write about, whether it’s on my blog, podcast, radio show, an online course I’m building, working privately with individual music/business clients, or writing a new book (which I’m doing now). The where for writing is mostly my house, my home studio, and usually outside. The whole “growth farmer” thing puts me outside a lot, where writing subjects bloom regularly.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
Promoting books are almost the same game and process of promoting music. It’s about providing something to people that helps them grow. It’s about building dialogue and conversations with people instead of pitching content. It’s about finding the right people to bring on your team to help make new connections happen. Both of these worlds involve people. People want and need human connection, much more than they want to be pitched to. The growth farming method I’ve built with this book is just as applicable in the book world for promotions as it is with music. And it’s just as effective.
What are you most proud of as a writer?
The thing that has made this part of my journey a lot of fun and beneficial has been the improvement in communication. I spend a lot of time talking on the radio about music, and that’s one way to communicate effectively. I also do a lot of public speaking, which takes a different form of effective communication. When all you have to employ to get your point, your story, and your message through is words, absent vocal tone or gestures, those words have to be structured right. I’m proud that as a writer I have grown in effective communication on a variety of platforms to build connections with artists, fellow authors, entrepreneurs, and community builders who are doing similar things to help people grow. Using writing as another means to build stronger communities and relationships is something I’m very proud of.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
This is probably the best question I’ve been asked in a long time. Tough call to just pick one!
I’ve been able to talk with one of my heroes in writing, who crafts focused and specific messages in (relatively) short books with more precision than anyone else in marketing, Seth Godin, for a podcast I host (The DIY Artist Route). That conversation stands out as one of my all-time favorites. A year ago that would have been my answer, but using the stuff I talk about in my book, I was able to get a conversation with Seth. Having said that, if I could talk with someone no longer with us, I’d have dinner with Dale Carnegie. I’ve quoted him more than nearly any other writer, and one of his key principles in “How To Win Friends And Influence People” is one of my core beliefs which drives all I do. We would talk about the art of winning friends, influencing people, and making a permanent impression with our communities that not only brings about positive change, but also hope. Hope is something that his books create, even if that’s not the reason why you start reading it. Success is the fruit of hope, of belief, of dreaming something greater than what you have. That hope is such a powerful thing, and few people in history have achieved the fulfillment of people having both hope and success in difficult times that Dale did in the 1930s amidst the Great Depression. That kind of inspiration would be a wonderful dinner talk to experience and take away truths to employ in our time.
About the Author
D Grant Smith is the host & creator of The Appetizer Radio Show, a syndicated variety music program that began in 2003. Over the past decade+, Smith has helped musicians get discovered & grow through indie radio airplay like Lindsay Katt, The Rocketboys, William Fitzsimmons, Kelley McRae, Birds Over Arkansas and many more. His experience with The Appetizer Radio Show's growth through syndication taught him what works in marketing media to media, which has helped to fuel his work as "the audience Growth Farmer." Using principles from Dale Carnegie, Zig Ziglar and community building, Smith helps musicians and creative entrepreneurs build supportive communities of superfans through relationship building. His work includes private mentoring, workshops, and speaking engagements where storytelling and empowerment are used to create vibrant and powerful transformations.