Connecting people and ideas through improvisation

Spreading the word about our digital workshop for authors

Over at my new venture and craziness of ePublish Unum we are holding a workshop for authors who want to go digital.

It’s not for people learning how to write, or how to develop their characters. There are tons of other great conferences for that. This one is for authors who have an idea done or in progress, whether a short book or a full novel, and need the info on how to take it digital. Some of the questions we’re tackling are:

  • What do I have to do different to publish digitally?
  • How do I protect my content when I put it online?
  • How do I get my book in major online stores?
  • How much should I charge?
  • How do I promote it with social media and other tools?
  • Uh oh… my readers want to talk with me – what do I do?

And a lot more. If you’re interested, please check out the digital workshop for authors info page.

Know some authors?

If you know someone who is interested, we would appreciate you helping us spread the word. Many authors are not digitally savvy so they’re not likely to see our blogs or Facebook posts. If you could send this to any writing groups, author groups, teachers, or any other fine bunch of people it would really help us get rolling.

We also have a short workshop flier and a slightly longer workshop flier that you can send along with the info.

Many, many thanks!

The Domino Project

Reading Poke the Box

Reading Poke the Box - eye goggling may vary

I love to create stories, and I’ve always been fascinated with how ideas wind their way from the people who come up with them into the people who want to hear them. From having a single oral tradition for our myths and legends, we can now use methods that our ancestors would have thought so magical they belonged in those very myths they passed along. Sadly, all this technology at our disposal hasn’t always resulted in simplification, and the world of storytelling – especially publishing – needs some cleanup.

The Domino Project

I initially heard about The Domino Project as Seth Godin taking on publishing, and that was enough to get me nosing around. I’m a fan of people who like to rock the boat, and Seth is definitely an upsetter of seagoing vessels. Their web site added a bit of clarification:

The Domino Project is named after the domino effect—one powerful idea spreads down the line, pushing from person to person. The Project represents a fundamental shift in the way books (and digital media based on books) have always been published. Eventually consisting of a small cadre of stellar authors, this is a publishing house organized around a new distribution channel, one that wasn’t even a fantasy when most publishers began.

I still had (and have) questions, but they were looking for people to help out, so I filled out an application and was selected as one of their global Street Team to help spread the word on both The Domino Project and the books that come out of it.

This Street Team is an interesting crew, with a wide range of personalities and interests. Arizona gets double rep with Tyler Hurst also on the team, along with marketers, authors, publishers, and idea-junkies from all over the globe. Everyone seems to have a different reason for signing up for this, which should make it a fun ride.

Connecting Authors to Readers

My reason for signing up is my personal fascination for the (r)evolution going on in media. For books, giant monolothic publishers sit between the people who want to create the content – the authors – and the people who want to consume it. They control what gets published, narrowing a flood of great ideas down to a trickle, and make a lot of money from these middleman activities. Fortunately, the days of the middle man are ending. Like the music and movie industries before it, online technology is making the middleman obsolete. Self-publishing, ebooks, and audiobooks are just a few of the ways content creators are circumventing the publishing giants to get their ideas out.

Poking the Box

The first book in this project is Seth Godin’s Poke the Box. One of the things The Domino Project is already playing around with is pricing, reducing the pre-order Kindle version of Poke the Box to $1. If you want to get in on the deal you need to buy it before March 1st.  If you prefer the dead-tree version, or want to hear what people think about it before committing 100 pennies, I’ve already read an advance copy and can start talking about it after March 1st.

Writer’s Meetup

We’re also leveraging this whole little effort to see if there is interest in a Writer’s Camp / Meetup / Conference thingy. We’re getting together to talk about it at Gangplank in Chandler on March 1st at 7:30pm. We’ll be talking about Poke the Box as well, so stop on by with any questions, answers, or ideas you want to share.

This whole little effort has poked my own box, forcing me to get this blog back on the air and prioritize some other aspects of my overly chaotic life. It’s been an interested few weeks, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where it leads.

Refining this whole Social Media Improv idea…

Binta and the Great Idea

Image via Wikipedia

This blog has been quiet, but I’ve been working on evolving the idea of Improv and Social Media for the past few months.  I spoke on it at the BOLO conference, and again at PodCampAZ, evolving the discussion both times. BOLO explored a wider range of improv techniques, including many short form games.  My PodCampAZ talk went deeper into specifics, like building a scene or character. Much of the feedback is that the ideas are interesting and people like a new approach, but they want something concrete to work on. What’s the specific application to themselves and their own SM work?

This is a bit of a puzzler for me, as I see improvisation itself as the application. The problem is that most people don’t have that background, and don’t want to take improv classes to get it. So I need a way to bridge that gap and build a connection.

The other challenge is that many people are far more interested in measurement and growth than techniques. I often note that when someone wants to start a blog, their first questions are usually software choices, getting readers, SEO, managing comments, user accounts, and on and on.  They don’t mention “Learning how to write” until much later, if at all. Human nature, I suppose, but all that optimization isn’t going to help if you have crappy content. I still need to address this, so have to connect to the measurement and interaction part of people’s interest.

Fortunately in the next week I’ll be able to try two new presentations. The first is on Jan 19th for Commpose, the local Copywriter’s meetup group. They’ve asked me to speak about improv in relation to writing, which is a slightly different flavor but still directly applicable. This is an open group with some great people, so if you’re a writer come down and check it out. I’m not that familiar with the needs and concerns of copywriters, so I may do a bit of improvising of my own on this talk.

The second talk will be at the Social Media AZ conference on January 25th in Tempe.  The topic will be Using Improv To Build A Genuine Online Presence, and I’ll be taking a few of the ideas – character, conflict, and scene – and exploring them in more depth. I’m anticipating a small group since I’m at the end of the day and scheduled against Evo Terra talking about Making Social Media Pay, but if this topic is of any interest please stop by. You can use the speaker code “Jeff” to get a 45% discount on admission.  I would love any feedback as I continue to ponder and experiment.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]