The Tech-Empowered Writer (AWP Panel Resources)


AWP 2012: Tech-Empowered Writer

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:

  • Videos
  • Podcast / audio
  • Livecasting
  • 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
  • Wikis

Brainstorm questions

  • 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)
  • (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,,, Pinterest

Some of my posts that might help you

Check out posts by the other panelists

  • Bonnee

    Thank you for sharing this, I will definitely be taking some of the options here into consideration, especially the audio/podcast and YouTube channel options. 

  • Jill Kemerer

    This post got my brain churning–in a good way. Thanks for all of the ideas and links!

  • Robert Brewer

    Can’t wait to see you tomorrow, Jane! I’ve got a similar post going up tomorrow morning on blogging and social media, which I’m now editing to link to this post. :)

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  • Phil Simon

    Fantastic list of tools. I didn’t know about microcasting. Interesting stuff.

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  • dutchessabroad

    Hallelujah! Artist/ writers will have their hay day!

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