I love stories and storytelling, words and rhythms. I get amped about a little alliteration. Lately I dig the mix of words and images. A photo or drawing can complete a sentence, layer depth into a character, set a scene.
Blogging is a form of storytelling.
And bloggers are major contributors to the giant cyber-library made possible by the internet. That’s awesome and sometimes not-so-hotso simultaneously.
Sometimes I wonder what it will be like to read antique blogs. What will all these voices sound like when their slang softens to quaint? Will the stuff in the photos look dusty?
I used to go to libraries and bookstores more often. I’d buy hardcover versions of books I wanted to own, usually by favorite authors. I’d find new-to-me writers by wandering long aisles while reading sideways from spines, waiting for words to resonate.
Nowadays sometimes there isn’t a book to buy. There’s just a story hanging out on a blog like it’s floating by on a raft, sipping cold beer from a plastic party cup.
The way I find stories and buy books has changed radically though I remain a madlover of bookstores and still meander down aisles, looking for kinship.
We have access online to a veritable smorgasbord of voices. And that has changed how we find and share books. Writers and readers aren’t limited to what traditional publishers choose to make available. At this point self-publishing has even managed to brush the lame off its shoulders and become considered legit.
So I was looking forward to the seminar on self-publishing and ebooks at this year’s International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle. The keynote speaker was Jon Fine, director of Author and Publishing relations at Amazon.com. I figured I’d get perspective straight from the source.
Attending this seminar was the most valuable hour and a half that I spent at IFBC. Jon Fine was a compelling speaker. He made some pretty witty jokes. I laughed.
Mostly he focused on useful information. And he was direct with advice which I respect. During Q&A a fellow seminar attendee said that he had two books he’d like to self-publish. One is good and the other is kinda crappy. He asked Mr. Fine which one he should publish first. Mr. Fine’s response was why put your name on something crappy.
Create good content. He was definitely passionate about that point.
So create good content and then you can digitally publish that awesomely good content if you want. There’s a world of information available online about how to self-publish and the details of the process. I’ll post some slides with resources from the seminar at the end of this post. And here’s a link to Amazon’s Author Central home page. Surf onward from there to tons of information.
Vicky McDonald, newly self-published e-book author and blogger, also shared her insight on the process of self-publishing. Her big one was proofread. When you’re a blogger you can always log in and edit. That’s not so easy with a book even when it is published digitally.
Both speakers talked about using freelance copy editors, cover artists, proofreaders and other industry professionals to create a polished product. Their advice: use them. Especially the proofreaders.
Jon Fine also spoke about metadata and how people find books online. The word lover in me is fascinated by metadata.
Think about the words someone might use when searching online for a new book. An author can find an audience by describing their book with words that will resonate with their future fans who are surfing by. I think that’s interesting.
I suppose the stories of how we used to buy books in stores will become the new version of when I was your age I walked to school in waist high snow. Get your old school story ready, son.
Oh…and here’s another aspect about this brave online world: there are all sorts of ever-changing rules about things like disclosure. So please know that my admission fee to IFBC was discounted. In exchange I agreed to write three posts on topics of my choice about the conference, sponsors, food, drink. I figured I could find three things I liked that I wanted to write about from IFBC. No problem.
This seminar was definitely a highlight of the experience for me
Here are some resources in uncropped photos so you can get that sitting-in-a-seminar feeling. Seems like you’d want to know these tips before you compiled your good content in some incompatible way:
And here’s a chunky list of resources available online. Free, surfable knowledge. Bring it.