By Mark McNease
Based on the premise that everyone has a powerful story to share, Purpose Driven Publishing seeks to identity authors with a passion for changing the world. An outgrowth of the Purpose Driven Authors Academy, PDP seeks to help authors communicate their messages and have an impact on the lives of others.
Founder and CEO Jenn Grace was kind enough to answer ‘6 questions’ for me. You can reach Jenn and the PDP team and read more about their mission at Purpose Driven Publishing.
MM: Your mission at Purpose Driven Publishing is to discover and publish authors who want to make a difference in the world. What was the impetus for that, and how are some ways you would define making a difference?
JG: Advocacy runs through my veins- it’s just what I do, and have always done. I started Purpose Driven Publishing with the sole mission of helping inspiring authors tell their stories and make an impact in the world. I had the realization one day that I can impact the world in a much bigger way by helping others do exactly that. If I stand on a stage and speak to 1,000 people that’s great, for those 1,000 people. But if help 1,000 inspiring authors build their author and speaker brand and they speak to 1,000 people, then I’ve just made a much bigger impact on the world by helping these incredible people share their messages with the masses. I’ve served the niche market of the LGBTQ community for more than a decade, this evolution in my business allows me to still serve the LGBTQ community, but also work on topics that need to be told, like domestic violence, women’s health, mental health, wealth and abundance, leadership – and the list goes on! Helping people help others is a great position to be in!
MM: How did this all go from an idea to a company? What was the process for you in getting this realized?
JG: This was an incredibly organic process. In late 2015 I was evaluating my business and looking at who I enjoyed working with and why. I noticed a pattern. Many of my individual coaching clients were working on writing books and I was helping them with the logistics, having done so for myself and close colleagues many times over. On a hunch I decided to launch a group coaching program in early 2016 called The Purpose Driven Authors Academy. I served 14 people in 2016 through the Academy. Upon completion, more than half of them lightheartedly said “Can’t you just do this for me?” My first reaction was nope! However, I began with the mission of helping others serve their audience. If what they needed was for me to do it for them, and I didn’t, then I would only be serving half of my mission. With that realization I formed Purpose Driven Publishing in late Summer 2016 and officially announced it in December of that year. Before being official two of my students from the Academy were volleying for who would be the first Purpose Driven Publishing author, which was an incredible way to begin 2017!
MM: How have you gone about connecting with authors who want to make a difference with their writing?
JG: To date this has been entirely from my large network and word-of-mouth. With advocacy running through my veins, my deep desire is to help authors and to some degree protect them. The publishing world is huge and confusing to first time authors. As a result I happily engage in conversations with anyone who is in the research stage of publishing. Even if they don’t work with us, that’s okay. If I have helped steer them in the right direction and avoid being taken advantage of – then I consider that a success. Because of this mindset and attitude toward serving, I have found that the karma comes right back around the universe brings to me incredible, and I mean incredible, authors who are so passionate and committed to their cause.
MM: You work exclusively with non-fiction writers from a diverse communities: LGBTQ, cancer survivors, people with disabilities. Can you talk about your commitment to those communities and what you and your authors offer them?
JG: Purpose driven can be defined in so many ways. Those who are purpose driven immediately resonate with our intentions. Storytelling is incredibly powerful. Those who are going through trying times oftentimes need to see themselves in others to get through the day, or that period in their lives. My authors aim to inspire and to provide hope. Whether it is the person who kicked cancer’s ass or the person struggling with their sexuality – there are other people out there just embarking on that journey, therefore the author has an opportunity to share their story of strength and courage and to impact the community in which they are a part of, or desire to serve. The work that they are doing is so meaningful to them, to their community and to me, as a publisher. It is a total win-win-win. One of the really cool things we’ve instituted with our authors is a philanthropic component to each of their books. Our first author, published in April, is donating proceeds to survivors of domestic violence. Our second author, published in May, is donating toward animal shelters. This is what being purpose driven is all about – believing in your message to such a degree that you feel compelled to share your story and give back while doing so!
MM: You’ll be publishing compilations of stories, beginning with stories from families raising a child with mental health disabilities. Please tell us about that, and about other complications you might have in mind?
JG: The compilation book idea came out of sheer personal need. My wife and I are raising a child with significant mental health impairments. We have learned that many people do not understand our world or what we go through. So while people on the outside may have good intentions, it often does not come out the way it is intended. My wife, as a behavioral specialist/special education teacher, and I an advocate for all, decided to put our heads together to create the book that we need. What we birthed is a book of stories by other families in situations similar to ours. The goal is to provide that book to those around us who need it so they can better understand and empathize with our family or families like ours.
Everyone has a story. But not everyone wants to write a book. Our compilation books provide an opportunity for people with a story to share it, in a small, but impactful way. We are in discussions right now about our next compilations potentially being around LGBTQ youth, survivors of domestic violence or women going through a health crisis. Ultimately, we would like to publish hundreds of compilation books that talk about the topics that others are afraid to talk about – hit the big issues head on, and allow people who are struggling with these particular issues to feel less alone.
MM: What are your hopes going forward as publishers with a mission? How do you want to be known?
JG: My hope is that Purpose Driven Publishing can truly change the lives of those who read a book published by us. That our authors help inspire, change and save the lives of their readers. Ultimately, if we can be known as the publisher who puts our hearts and souls into our authors and their work, and we leave a mark on the world, I will be thrilled. My goal is for Purpose Driven Publishing to leave a legacy as a company who truly cares for our authors, where our authors become family, and it survives and thrives well beyond my time here on this earth.