When Gary Dauphin started Write2Grow, he did so as a non-profit organization. And while it has since pivoted to a for-profit company, Dauphin’s mission has remained the same – he loves to help people.
Dauphin, who has a background in computers and is a former Apple engineer, said Write2Grow was birthed out of his desire to help schools use technology.
“This was before there were iPad and chrome books everywhere,” he said. “I kept thinking to myself, ‘What are some of the ways we can really leverage technology to help engage kids in reading and writing?’”
Dauphin said he was fascinated by studies coming out at the time that detailed how the earlier children got involved in reading and writing, the better their educational outcomes were. He dedicated his time to develop technology tools that helped Louisiana children learn to read and write by having them participate in the authoring of their very own book.
“This is before eBooks were a thing,” he said of when he started work on the non-profit in 1992. “But I created a platform where kids could write books and they could be instantly published and shared around the world.”
After struggling for several years to raise money, Dauphin said he came to the conclusion that, despite its heartfelt mission, it was nearly impossible for a non-profit organization with no track record and no academic ties to raise funds to support its cause.
Rather than abandon his goals completely, Dauphin changed to a business plan took the a portion of the newly-minted for-profit business’ earnings and used it to support his non-profit goals.
“That begat another challenge – the business had to earn a profit,” he said. “Write2Grow has developed and delivered a number of projects around its core mission. The company has developed iPhone Apps, websites, video games, museum exhibits, CD-ROMs, eBooks, soft-cover books and many other projects in its charge toward success.”
Dauphin said the business became profitable seven years ago, adding Write2Grow’s most successful mission has been helping to get young authors published.
“We expend most of our energy editing books, and turning those books into softcovers and eBooks that you can buy from most major outlets,” he said. “We also act as a service bureau for other publishers and agencies that require services from web hosting to book editing to photography.”
Dauphin said it’s easy to pinpoint the most rewarding part of his publishing work.
“I love helping to get stories that need to be told out to the public,” he said. “I love taking good works by local authors who would normally not get published or have to self publish and help them get their books done and printed and out on the market.”
‘From Humble Beginnings’ by Rachel Allemand is his favorite book he’s worked on.
“It is the history of St. Charles Parish Schools, and Rachel was such a joy to work with… a true professional,” he said.
Dauphin has overseen the publishing of nearly 70 books – about a dozen or so of those published under the Write2Grow imprint, with the rest being completed as projects for other publishing houses.
“I tend to work on books with local content, so a lot of our books are sold in Louisiana, or to folks who have moved away from Louisiana,” he said. “For example, I’m doing one project right now on the history of Pointe Coupee Parish, and another on Louisiana plantations.”
But the nature of some of his subcontracted and ghost work means Dauphin has seen his books sold all over the world.
Since he has started working in the publishing world, Dauphin said the landscape of the field has changed dramatically.
“There was a time when printing was a very rare thing, and there were so many few titles being published that if you got published, it was almost guaranteed to be a success,” he said. “Now we’re getting of thousands of new books a week.”
And while most titles don’t make a lot of money, Dauphin hopes that doesn’t hinder authors from continuing to write and publish their works.
“Do it because its great work and it needs to be done,” he said. “If you’re going into it to make money, the odds are against you.”
Dauphin said he hopes to find a non-profit organization that can utilize the technology he created and first launched Write2Grow with.
“I think it still has great potential value to keep kids interested in reading and writing,” he said.
More information about Write2Grow, including contact information for Dauphin, can be found at www.write2grow.org.