This week I’ll be in Chicago for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs annual conference. I’m a panelist on “The Tech-Empowered Writer” on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. This post serves as a handy resource for anyone who attends the panel, plus all of you who will miss it.
Think beyond the [analog] book
- Traditional authorship focuses on the traditional publication of books or articles, with everything else viewed as ancillary. This is very narrow or limited thinking when considering how many ways a message or story can be spread in today’s tech-driven world.
- How can your story or message be adapted, expanded, or shared across a variety of media?
- Think broadly about your strengths to reach and engage with readers across a variety of channels.
- The future of reading does not equal the future of print. Don’t limit yourself to books/articles/text. Consider how you can offer diverse experiences.
Diverse experiences might involve:
- Podcast / audio
- Screencasts, webinars, and online tutorials
- In-person events or experiences
- Online education and curriculum
- Online communities
- Websites and blogs
- Electronic newsletters and serials
- Mobile and tablet applications
- Digital downloads
- How do people typically or conventionally experience your writing or teaching?
- Where and when do they typically experience it or consume it?
- Could your work be adapted into mediums that are more convenient or powerful for your readers?
- What kind of interaction or customization is possible?
- How could your content be amplified or expanded online?
Video & audio
- YouTube is the No. 2 search engine. Think about that for a minute. Nearly all major companies have their own branded channel on YouTube. You can too.
- Most people will not watch a video more than a few minutes long. For long videos, provide timestamps of when certain questions/issues are discussed.
- Anyone can distribute a podcast for free via iTunes. Consider: There are many people in this world who consume their content strictly via audio (due to a long commute and/or active lifestyle).
- Live shows can be produced through BlogTalkRadio.
- Google Hangouts: Free instant video chat group with whomever you’d like to invite who’s a Google Plus user. All you need is a webcam.
Other content/multimedia tools to consider
- Blurb Mobile. Tells stories through photos, video, and audio that you’ve captured through your iPhone.
- Cowbird. Tell stories like you’ve never told them before. (You’ll have to go experience it; not like any other storytelling tool I’ve seen.)
- Jing (Screencast). Record what’s happening on your screen, along with audio.
- iBooks Author. Create multimedia e-books with Apple’s free software. Uses drag-and-drop functionality—you don’t need to be a programmer, but you must be a Mac user.
- PressBooks. Create e-books that live online and/or create books that you can export as EPUB files (standard e-book format).
- Slideshare. Share slide-based presentations.
- Ustream. Stream video live from anywhere (even from your smartphone).
- PBWorks. Create a wiki to collaborate with others, either publicly or privately.
- Scribd. Easily share or distribute PDF documents, either free or paid.
- MailChimp. Start a professional looking e-newsletter, for free up to 2,000 names.
- FourSquare. Create themed lists of places you love, anywhere in the world. Must be a FourSquare user.
Easy site-building tools
Click here to read my e-newsletter on this topic. Three helpful tools you should be aware of:
- WordPress (can support a full-fledged website, but easy enough for a one-page site or simple blog)
- Tumblr (lightweight and easy)
- About.me (for a splash page)
Curation: Sometimes a better option than creation
- The world’s information is doubling every two years. Sometimes, it’s better when we avoid adding to the noise, and instead make sense of what already exists.
- Kevin Sablan: “Curation is not simply the act of collecting disparate items and sloppily slopping theme together.”
- Curation is a service. It provides context and analysis, and helps people discover things they might not have found on their own. It should probably save people’s time, or otherwise entertain and delight.
- Everyone is a curator to some extent. Think about what you choose to post on Facebook or share on Twitter. You’re making selections for a specific audience.
- Specific and popular curation tools: Tumblr, Storify, Paper.li, Scoop.it, Pinterest