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Writers: Dump your preconceptions (and your word processor)

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Just a quick note to say I’m back from The Writers’ Union of Canada Toronto symposium on the state of publishing. I’ll be going through my notes and giving out reviews and information a bit at a time in coming days as I unpack my notes and cogitate. The conference was packed with information to act upon. Sorry for the tease, but I’m busy setting up a new browser (Opera) and a new file management system (Dropbox) tonight. (Both are free and come highly recommended by a guy you should bookmark,  get to know, subscribe to and read assiduously: Ross Laird. More on that in a moment.)

I met  some nice potential clients and made a couple of new friends. Since last year’s experience  at two writers’ conferences I realize I’ve been impatient for people to catch up with my worldview. At one conference a publisher displayed a pathological resistance to e-book reality. At the next conference I met my first e-reader power user who pledged never to buy a p-book again. I’ve been harping on the change from vanity publishing to self-publishing and all that entails ever since. So it was that I became cynical about this weekend’s symposium. I was so used to the sound of my own voice saying “the future is now” — voice in the wilderness that I am — that I didn’t think anyone was catching up. In most ways, the Writers’ Union certainly has caught up and is forging ahead with the new publishing reality. (I’ll address how they haven’t changed in another post soon.)

The Nugget You Need Tonight

Tech guru Ross Laird opened his first lecture with this:


Note that he didn’t say it will be some day.

His message was strong: stop looking backward because the future of reading is on devices. Choosing self-publishing is to embrace a startling degree of freedom, fun, adventure, work and independence. Scary cool, huh? It was relief to hear someone articulate what I’ve been saying (although he’s more tech-oriented, glib and has slides.)

There is much to chew over from the symposium, but for tonight I’ll start you off with this link:

Read Ross Laird’s article on why you shouldn’t write on a word processor.


Tomorrow morning’s post:

How I Edit

I promise you’ll find this useful.

I’m deep into a heavy edit for a client this week but I’ll throw out some more gems I picked up at the symposium in coming days.

There is a lot of stuff happening all at once for me, this blog, my writing and my editing. It will take some time to get to it all.

Happy days.

It’s all scary cool.


Filed under: blogs & blogging, Books, DIY, ebooks, Editing, getting it done, publishing, Rant, self-publishing, Useful writing links, , , , , , , , ,

9 Responses

  1. Rebecca says:

    It was a terrific workshop although I haven’t had a chance to look at my notes. Tons of info and I’m glad I’ve already started moving forward in this new world. I could see how someone still firmly routed in traditional publishing would feel completely overwhelmed. So much to learn and the feeling of needing to know it all immediately is strong. But I liked how Ross emphasized just taking a first step and do it one at a time. Good advice.

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  3. Chazz says:

    Agreed, Rebecca. I got so much out of the experience. I’m also looking forward to your guest post. Your experience getting started with Smashwords will be very valuable as we all muddle forward.

    Today’s word is adaptation. I’m going to be looking hard at my action items to figure out what I can do and how fast. Just figuring out Dropbox this evening. I like the Opera browser. That’s a start already!

  4. Rebecca says:

    Adaptation is so right. I’m currently syncing up with Dropbox. I’ve heard of these types of cloud saving services before but never took the plunge. Now is the right time. I’m working hard to adapt and be flexible!

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