“Tech, Toys and Tools” offers resources for writers in the Digital Age

August 18, 2011

USA Today reports that more than 114 million of the 2.6 billion books published last year were e-books, and the percentage of electronic editions continues to climb. Recently the e-book versions of four of the top 10 titles on the newspaper’s best-seller list outsold the print editions.

It’s clear that today’s readers want their books on tablets, e-readers and smartphones as well as – or instead of – the printed page. To meet this digital demand, today’s writers must learn the ins and outs of distributing their work across multiple platforms.

To help local authors meet the challenges and opportunities presented by online publishing, the Central Coast Writers’ Conference at Cuesta College is offering a new workshop on writing, publishing and distributing the written word electronically.

“Tech, Toys and Tools for Writers in the Digital Age” will be held Friday, September 16 from noon to 4:30 p.m. in the Associated Students Auditorium (Bldg. 5400) on the San Luis Obispo Campus of Cuesta College. Cost is $40 ($45 after September 12) and registration is separate from this year’s Writers’ Conference, which begins the evening of September 16.

The four-hour session, covering e-publishing, apps, resources and marketing for writers, will be led by three online publishing experts.

Mark Coker is CEO of Smashwords.com, the leading eBook publishing platform for independent authors and publishers with more than 60,000 titles. Coker founded Smashwords in 2008 when a book he and his wife co-authored was rejected by every major New York publisher despite representation by a top literary agency. He blogs and tweets about e-books and the future of publishing and writes for the Huffington Post.

Laurie McLean represents adult genre fiction as well as middle-grade and young-adult books at Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents in San Francisco. She helps manage the San Francisco Writers Conference and is dean of the new non-profit San Francisco Writers University. She offers her insights on tools to help writers as they seek online resources for marketing, publicity and career growth.

Author, talk show host and e-commerce instructor Deborah Bayles is a lifelong fan of technology. She has authored two best-selling e-commerce books and co-wrote a recently-published e-book on being a radio talk show guest. She developed the e-business curriculum for the University of California, Irvine and for Cuesta College, where she is a faculty member in Business Education.

The workshop, sponsored by Chevron, also features an opportunity to play with some of the newest tech toys. Local retail representatives will demonstrate e-readers, tablets, smartphones and other devices, comparing costs, pros and cons, and technology today and tomorrow.

A random prize drawing for registered participants includes a professionally designed e-book cover, a custom 30-second book trailer video and gift cards from Staples and Morro Bay/Los Osos Coast Electronics/Radio Shack.

Register in advance for “Tech, Toys and Tools for Writers in the Digital Age” at www.techtoysandtools.com. Cost is $40 ($45 after September 12). Registration also is available at the door beginning at noon on Friday, September 16 in the Associated Students Auditorium (Bldg. 5400) on the San Luis Obispo Campus of Cuesta College.




  1. The Gimlet Eye says:

    The textbook industry is a real racket, a huge ripoff. May the electronic readers will change that for the better.

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  2. Vagabond says:

    I’ve also cut the bonds of paper and cable. All dsl and bandwidth. I do worry that authors and original content providers will have a tough time for awhile, until this new paradigm settles out, but I’m optimistic that eventually the cream will rise to the top and prosper. Until then, kick in a few bucks now and then.

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. r0y says:

    A big problem I have with eBooks is the publishers fixing their prices ridiculously high. It’s a HUGE issue over at Amazon, where many “over 9.99” protests prevent sales. Why pay MORE than a print edition which I can loan out or sell back to a used bookstore? Seriously.

    I have been on Kindle for about 6 months now, and downloaded about 20,000+ free ebooks (mostly classics). I’ve purchased about 6 titles, where they were realistically priced.

    Electronic distribution is INFINITELY cheaper than physical production and distribution, and out of the $9.99 eBook price-tag, I am curious what the authors typically get.

    I love eBooks and I really love the Kindle (over a month on a single charge, baby!) Sure, there could be more bells and whistles, but I got the thing to 1) read more, and 2) be a replacement for a book (not a netbook or tablet).

    I think eBooks, like mp3’s are the future. Why any author would put up with a publisher anymore is beyond me. I’ve seen many aspiring authors simply have their work on their own website for $0.99 download – which is probably more than they’d get from a publishing house.

    Who still buys CDs and DVDs/Blue-rays? All my entertainment is streamed to me, and I keep it on my 5.5TB server to enjoy at my whim. THAT’s worth paying for. Time we lost all these middlemen. Think of it like that hoakey “fair trade” coffee and stuff that tree huggers fall for. LoL.

    (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
    • The Gimlet Eye says:

      Just got a kindle myself a short while ago. I love it. I have 168 items on it now and I didn’t pay a cent for any of them. I have lots of books, too, but ran out of room. The kindle gives me a new lease on life. Most of the prices are pretty reasonable. It’s easy on the eyes. Just wait till the textbooks get listed on it. You talk about a ripoff! Technology is going to show those guys and their high prices a thing or two.

      (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
    • WiseGuy says:

      “rOY”, once again you are spouting out negative stuff about things you literally no little or nothing about. Where do you come up with all this B.S.? I guess you are addicted to sucking up corporate propaganda. Case in point, you unfair, ignorant comments against “fair trade” products. You obviously know little or nothing about the coffee trade in Central And South America, where local coffee farmers are continually exploited in “slave labor” situations. “Fair Trade” systems help to combat this by treating people fairly.

      The “fair trade” system could be improved, and there are complicated economic aspects to it, but it certainly is not “hoakey”. It is something that is aimed at improving our world in concrete ways that help people from starving. If you see that as “hoakey”, may God help you.

      (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  4. rogerfreberg says:

    Ebooks may actually be the salvation of the publishing industry. Why? Well, publishers make their money ( particularly in textbooks) in their first sale in their first quarter… after that, the used book market takes over and neither the publisher nor the author sees any money. For example, the Cal Poly sells a new book, buys back the book from the student at the end of the quarter at virtually nothing , and then turns around selling it nearly for full price.

    As authors and publishers get paid for their efforts… time has shown that the price comes down. We’ve seen it in the music business.

    (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down

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