Tag Archives: Digital Publishing

Innovation & Technology Today: A New Adventure in Digital Media

During this barnburner of a writing year, I took on the editor’s position at a publication that brings my loves of innovation (all entrepreneurs should bne innovators!) and technology together with digital publishing  — Information & Technology Today Magazine, published by my friend Charles Warner’s company, Innovation Properties Worldwide, out of Denver, CO.

it today cover lo-resOur premiere digital issue came out last week, and is available on Zinio and Apple newsstands. To get the ball of subscribers and readers rolling, it’s on sale for just 99 cents on Zinio. You can read it on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Its digital enhancements really come to life on tablets.

Innovation & Technology Today grew from The Legacy Series Magazine, which I edited last fall and which made a big splash at MacWorld/iWorld 2013. The areas of innovation and technology not only continue to grow rapidly, but they serve as the undercurrent of both business development and the way of ingenuity and independence that has come to define doing business in the U.S. Consequently, our magazine is fun, colorful, full of great links – and highly informative.

The magazine features a rich mix of editorial. This includes regular features and updates on green technology, digital publishing, social networking, communications, security, education, women in technology and new products. We also sprinkled the magazine with metrics, statistics and infographics, again keeping the emphasis on enjoyable reading. For this issue’s women in technology piece, written by Lisa Lunney, we focused on two of the world’s most powerful women, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, author of the runaway bestseller Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. 

The core of each issue is the theme-based feature section. We are taking about one-third of the editorial well to deeply address business areas that are either booming or of major consequence to lives and our economic futures. For the Spring-Summer issue currently on sale, we focused on Smart Home Technology. For the upcoming Summer-Fall issue, we will switch to Sports & Medical Technology. Our Fall-Winter issue will showcase Green Technology & Energy.

In Innovation & Technology, we continued a series of conversations with leaders and innovators that we started with The Legacy Series Magazine.  This time around, we interviewed Al Choperena of the smart home technology provider Smartenit, John Clements of Mitsubishi Electric, Michael Sykes of Enertia Homes, and a pair of authors with major street cred, Twitter Revolution co-author Warren Whitlock and App Nation author Brad Adams of Sunstone Publishing Group, who helps small businesses customize their apps – a major growth area for the next several years. Our guest contributor this issue was Chris Voss, one of Forbes Magazine’s Top 50 Social Media Influencers in the U.S.

I had more fun with this project than with any magazine work in years. I dove headlong into the world of digital publishing, and more specifically, of how to enhance content to animate it for the reader. What we need to remember about working with online content or digital publications (books, magazines, etc.) is that readers want an experience. They don’t merely want the same word-reading exercise they would get from print books or magazines. They want to be taken further.

That’s where links came in. I made it a point to choose our links selectively in Innovation & Technology Today, because, let’s face it – when you choose this title for a publication, you’d better be forward-thinking with your application of digital publishing technology! So we embedded videos, infographics that move, articles  from unusual or under-utilized sources that took readers deeper and broader from the central piece, photo galleries that further tell the story, and also pathways to chat rooms, social networking groups or resources where they can interact with the newsmakers, movers and shakers mentioned in the pieces.

Our goal is simple: if you read the magazine, we want you to receive a thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining, educational and enligtening experience. Enjoyable-Entertaining-Educational-Enlightening. Those should be the 4E’s of any digital publishing endeavor that moves beyond Smashwords-produced e-books, which are text-only.

So I hope you will zip over to Zinio newsstand and pick up a copy of Innovation & Technology Today, and let me know what you think about it. While you’re thinking about, also stop by the magazine’s Facebook page and Like it!

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A Writing Month to Remember — And 7 Tips for Continuous Productivity

When I was working on One Giant Leap for Mankind, NASA’s 25th anniversary salute to the Apollo 11 moon landing, Apollo 10 commander Thomas Stafford introduced me to the “forcing function”. He said that many great achievements and accomplishments in our lives, and our society, come from a motivating factor that “forces” us beyond our limits. Or, it propels us to reach a target due date that might seem impossible at first glance.

Stafford was talking specifically about the race to the Moon in the 1960s, to fulfill President John F. Kennedy’s proclamation that we would land a man on the lunar surface and return him safely before the end of the decade. However, he added, “it (the forcing function) works for everything you really want to accomplish.”

That’s how November has felt to me: one big forcing function. I’ve been working with four deadlines all month. Last week, we finished producing The Legacy Series: Celebrating Innovation & Technology, a year-long project that will be released next week in print, online, mobile and tablet form. What a blast! Besides editing the publication, I wrote articles on the Future of Filmmaking, the late Steve Jobs’ long-term legacy, our “Innovation Nation”, and the Crowdfunding phenomenon. I also conducted wonderful interviews with some truly innovative, creative business and technology leaders: Jeanniey Mullen, a trailblazer and key international figure in digital publishing and email marketing; Chris Voss, one of Forbes magazine’s Top 50 social media experts; Craig Perkins, winner of the iPhone Film Fest; Dr. Gustavo Rabin, author of Becoming A Leader and a man with whom I worked last year; and two giants of industry, GE senior VP Beth Comstock, the woman who masterminded the online TV and movie viewing site hulu.com when she was at NBC Universal; and the one and only Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, a co-star of Shark Tank — and co-owner of Magnolia Pictures and the Landmark Theaters, two components of a 21st century version of the old movie studio system.

More on The Legacy Series in a release celebration blog next week.

On Tuesday, I reached the 50,000-word goal for National Novel Writer’s Month (NaNoWriMo), an international online event where you, well, write 50,000 or more words in a month. I used the occasion to write part of a rough manuscript for my memoir, Do I Have A Story for You!, which friends, associates and two literary agents have suggested I write for 10 years. Now, I am finishing book proposals for a biography I am writing, as well as my sweetheart Martha Halda’s memoir, A Taste of Eternity, concerning her near death experience and increased purpose of her life since.

And people say we slow down in our 50s, that it’s impossible to crank it out in this busy world. This month reminded me of something filmmaker George Lucas told me years ago about his least favorite word in the English language. “I made a career out of people telling me it was impossible,” he said. “It’s not a good word to use around me.”

It’s been a very creative and productive month, during which I have been reminded of six tried-and-true rules about writing, creativity and productivity:

1)   Write every day. If we commit ourselves to writing for even 1 to 2 hours per day, pages get written and books and articles get finished.

2)   Write or create something new. Try a new form of writing, or a new type of art or craft. Bring play into your work. The key to a great story is to make the ordinary seem extraordinary. So it is with our lives.

3)   Set daily goals. What do you want to accomplish today? Set a specific, measurable goal that is attainable, realistic and timely. They’re known in business as SMART goals.

4)   Connect. Spend time each day connecting by e-mail and social media. Blog, Tweet, post on Facebook, build Google + and LinkedIn accounts, and follow people with large follower networks. The phone works great, too.

5)   Focus. Practice focusing on one thing for long periods of time. Use visualization or meditation to build greater concentration. The more we focus, the more organized we become, and the deeper we can move into our subject.

6)   Eat Well and Work Out. Working out is the perfect accompaniment to creativity. It burns stressful energy, clears our minds, and rejuvenates us. That goes for food as well. Eat high-protein, low-carb diets — especially when powering through major projects.

7)   Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy. As ultramarathoner Pam Reed told me once about the pain that comes with long races, “You know it’s gonna hurt. But enjoy the experience.” Same holds for writing books or dealing with tough projects. Enjoy the experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well-Edited Manuscripts More Important Than Ever

(Note: This is the first of a three-blog series on editing. In this blog, we focus on the importance of self-editing — and finding an outside editor — before sending off your book manuscript, short story or article)

The digital publishing revolution and the continued decline of publishing houses (in their willingness to take on new authors as well as their overall influence) have created a boom in self-publishing. Now, you can write a manuscript as quickly as your fingers can move on a keyboard, either format it as an e-book or send it off to a self-publishing service provider, and within days or weeks (or even hours!), have yourself a book on the market. At that point, your marketing and promotional abilities will determine to a large extent how the book sells.

All of that is well and good, but what about quality control? How well do you tell the story or convey the chief points in your book? How important is it to you for your readers to receive an informative, enriching or entertaining experience that is delivered with your very best, most polished writing? What priority do you give to making your narrative as sharp, fluid and error-free as possible?

Whether or not you choose to self-publish or take your best shot at traditional publishing house channels, your ability to build loyal readers beyond family, friends and colleagues will ultimately come down to the quality of your writing and ability to present your story or subject. If a reader buys your book, but can’t get past the first few pages due to loose storytelling, shoddy grammar or punctuation, underdeveloped characters, inaccurate facts or lack of compelling, page-turning writing, then you will have trouble finding an audience. After all, for all the advertising and marketing you might do through traditional means and social media, the power of reaching wider audiences still has an old ally: word-of-mouth. As one literary agent told me years ago, “Make it perfect. Then polish it one more time. Remember that readers are setting aside everything else in their lives to read your book. If they like it, they’ll tell their friends.”

This is where editing comes in. We’d like to think that the authors of all great novels, memoirs and topical non-fiction books laid down the final polish of their seamless narratives themselves. We’d like to believe that we can write every chapter, paragraph or sentence so perfectly that our readers will resonate and experience the words as deeply and passionately as we did when the thoughts and feelings flowed from our minds and hearts onto the page. We’d like to assure ourselves that, after writing and revising our manuscripts a couple of times — or a dozen times — we still maintain enough perspective to make a final, objective pass over our work to find those last irritating awkward sentences or misspellings.

For more than 95% of all writers, bestsellers and newcomers alike, this scenario strikes them as grandiose fiction. Nearly every writer I’ve met in my three decades in this business — myself included — turns to outside help when polishing the final drafts of manuscripts. I’ve been fortunate enough to edit 130 of those manuscripts, in all genres — the vast majority of which were published.  Others hire editors to take them through all phases of the editing and revising process. Those authors who land book deals turn over their manuscripts to the publishing houses, which assign an editor specifically for that book. After that editor is finished, another editor polishes the manuscript, then the proofreader takes over. In 2009, when I was ghostwriting The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Risk Management for Annetta Cortez, we worked with four different editors at Alpha Books.

So, if your manuscript is going to land in the hands of editors you don’t know, why not send them the very best work you can possibly produce? Why not learn and master the finer points of self-editing? Why not also hire an editor you can get to know and trust with your words and your voice? If you can self-edit well, then you will polish your manuscript to such a fine shine that every sentence and word vibrates with the larger spirit and plot of what you are conveying. If you then find a good final-draft editor, he or she will work from within your writing voice, fixing paragraphs or sentences with words and phrasings you would use, sharpening your voice and the cohesiveness of your story along the way. If you choose to have an editor work with you from the beginning, you will eliminate weeks or months of the agony that results when you learn, 200 pages down the line, that your story or narrative lost its structure, focus and direction.

In the next two blogs, we will talk about the basic and fine points of self-editing, as well as what an outside editor should do for you. Meantime, as you work to finish the book you know the world can’t wait to read, and prepare to hit the “send” button to your agent, publisher or e-book formatter, do yourself a favor: slow down, take a deep breath, and read the manuscript over one more time. Aloud. Then make all the fixes to the glitches that your speaking voice catches.

Learn to love editing and polishing as much as you love writing. When you do, the reading world will be far more likely to embrace your work.

Next: Why Self-Editing Is Your Second Most Important Skill (and maybe the most important)

(Word Journeys serves writers through manuscript evaluation, editing, ghostwriting, platform building, and development of book proposals and materials for literary agents and publishers. Since 2000, we have edited more than 130 books and e-books in all genres. Email bobyehling@gmail.com or call 917-826-7880 if your manuscript is ready for publish-level editing.)

 

 

 

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Filed under Adult Literacy, Author Platform, Books, E-books, Editing, Featured Websites, literature, Memoir, Reading, Social Media, Writing, Writing Education, Young Writers