Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Joys of Technical Writing

Anyone ever say you can’t make a living writing? Don’t believe it. Anyone doubt what you can do with Liberal Arts degrees? We’ll see who gets the last laugh.

Today, I’m blogging about my day job as a Technical Writer in the Tech Industry. My day starts off with more than just documentation. I actually am often playing the roles of part-organizer, part-detective when trying to hash out a process for engineers or create a new wiki page for a PM. Needless to say, I get to write every day on projects that help improve efficiency and transparency within the company and play my own small part in pushing the industry forward. The technological revolution we live in today is truly on par with the Renaissance and other great shifts that have occurred in history, and I’m thrilled to be in the midst of this world-changing movement.

So how do you bring writing into your everyday? Maybe you teach or perhaps you’re a journalist? Perhaps you’re an aspiring novelist or maybe you’re a Tech Writer like me? How does your writing effect the world around you?  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Self-Publishing Revolution

Are you thinking of self-publishing? Know someone who has? Maybe you’re an agented author thinking of exploring this new avenue for your career?

One of the great topics I heard about again and again at my writer’s conference was about the recurring success of self-published authors, some who previously had agents and major book deals, and some who did not. It’s a true revolution occurring today, where if authors are willing to put in the work of being their own promoter and manager they can reap the benefits of gaining all the profits. But it’s about much more than dollars and cents. It’s about getting your books and your message out to the masses, and increasingly more and more authors are choosing to do this on their own.

What have been your own successes and pitfalls in the path to publication and promotion? What strategies do you seek and how do you keep yourself going? How do you stand out amongst the millions of other authors self-publishing world-wide? 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Myers-Briggs: Meet the Real You

Ever wonder what personality type you are? Maybe you already know which of the sixteen varieties you fall into on the Myers-Briggs test? Not sure what I’m talking about?

In college, my wife and I took the 70+ question Myers-Briggs test for kicks, and based on our responses to a variety of psychological and hypothetical questions it determined our very specific personality traits based on factors such as extrovert/introvert, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perception. Needless to say, I thought this was a pretty cool test, not only in telling us more about ourselves, but also in the variety of other personalities other people had, ranging from intriguing titles like Mastermind to Fieldmarshal. My personality turned out to be an Idealist Champion and my wife’s a Guardian Protector. I leave it to you to look up the meanings here.  

Not only do these personalities tell us about other people, I thought that they could be some pretty neat characters in literature. Imagine the complex three-dimensional characters you could build by modeling them on actual psychological personality models. So have you taken a Myers-Briggs test? How did it turn out? Did you meet the real you?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

Sorry, I’m late on this post (had Jury Duty yesterday), but here’s it is, my celebration of the small things in life!

I’m celebrating my little son, because although he’s still just a little guy, to me he’s the biggest thing in my life right now. Every day he smiles more, “talks” to me, and becomes more and more of a little person. Needless to say, my wife and I are loving every moment of it.

So what are some of the small things that keep you going? What do you celebrate? 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

National Wormhole Day

If you could jump through a wormhole and visit any point in time, where would you go? Past or future? Earth or elsewhere?

As part of National Wormhole Day, and celebrating Einstein’s birthday, I’ve posed this question to myself. Honestly, it’s pretty hard since I love history so much, but I actually would probably want to see the Sermon on the Mount of all things (with someone who could translate for me).  If I ever went into the future, I’d certainly be tempted to checkout stock prices, but I learned from Back to the Future that betting on future sporting or economic events for gain will screw up the space time continuum…but whether past or present I’d love to go through the wormhole in a DeLorean!

So where and when would you go? How long would you stay? Who would you take with you? 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


What do you picture when you envision a publicist for your book? Someone on the phone, making deals, wearing Armani shades? Perhaps they get you on TV or the radio?

Actually, your publicist will most likely be you and no one else. I listened to a great talk last month by Stephanie Chandler who is a pro at both traditional publicity as well as the more modern uses of social media. What struck me as particularly surprising during her talk was how easy and incredibly useful traditional types of publicity are and how you can get access to them. She herself has spoken on TV, radio, internet podcasts and a variety of other media all the while promoting her published books and engaging a wider audience of readers.

People who work in media always badly need new content, so what can you provide to them? What’s your particular area of expertise? What unique life experiences qualify you to be an “expert” on a given topic? 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Judge A Book By Its Cover

It sounds terrible, right? We’ve all heard the cliché, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” But for better or worse, in terms of book sales all the market research suggests that buyers very much judge the books they buy based on their covers.

This was another big takeaway for me from the San Francisco Writer’s Conference, and one that has continued to change a lot in the past few years. When I first started attending the conference, most editors and agents said they could recognize a self-published book a mile away, mainly from its poorly constructed cover art. Today, it’s a whole different ballgame. More and more self-published authors are employing professionals to produce their cover art and it’s making a dramatic impact on their book sales. The writing itself is of course what will ultimately make the reader a fan or not, but enticing cover art is what hooks them in the first place to pickup a paperback or click on an ebook.

It’s also a key element when a writer establishes their brand. Think about it. Even if you couldn’t read, you’ve been to the bookstore enough times to recognize the cover of a romance novel versus a sci fi book. You can also tell oftentimes whether a series of books is by a given author because of how they brand their novels with a specific look. So what are some really great examples of cover art that you love?  Do you have a specific style you like to see on book covers or any that you can’t stand?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Overcoming Adversity

Today I’d like to feature a special post from Nick Wilford about Overcoming Adversity. Please checkout his site or one of the links below where you can find the book. Do something that will make you feel good and help others! Thanks!
A collection of seventy moving and uplifting original pieces - real life, flash fiction, and poetry - about battling against the odds and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. The contributors include Amazon bestselling authors Alex J. Cavanaugh and Kyra Lennon, and the cream of upcoming talent.

The anthology is part of a fundraising effort to send the editor's stepson, Andrew McNaughton, to a specialist college in England. Andrew has cerebral palsy, and is a remarkable young man with a promising future. However, the free further education options offered in his own country of Scotland will not challenge him and allow him to progress. In order to access the education he deserves, Andrew will have to pay exorbitant fees, thus creating a situation of discrimination.

Help us get Andrew to college by buying a book that runs the full gamut of human emotions, ultimately leaving you inspired and glad to be alive. Whatever struggles you are going through, our sincere hope is that this book will help.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK:
Amazon US:

Editor Bio: Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction. When not writing he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also co-running a campaign to get a dedicated specialist college built in Scotland. Visit him at

Cover artwork by…