Monday, November 12, 2012

You Spin Me Right Round Baby Right Round

In May 2012 I was invited to co-deliver a plenary session talk at The Ontario Writers' Conference (with Cynthia Good, Director of the Creative Book Publishing Program at Humber College) called Storytelling 360°: Storytelling in a Digital Age.

We had decided to split it up and have Cynthia focus on specific examples of trans-media storytelling, while I focused on looking at the history of storytelling and how the art of storytelling has evolved with technology.  I also used the concept of 360° to make meta reflections on my own mulch-faceted role as a storyteller, a bookseller and Director of Author Relations and Self-Publishing at Kobo. I outlined my own journey from using a typewriter to various electronic and digital options as a writer while quickly outlining the journey from oral storytelling, the scroll, the printing press and digital books.

It was challenging to do this talk, particularly when I wasn't yet able to talk about the forthcoming Kobo Writing Life DIY platform built to help authors get their work into Kobo's catalog.  We had scheduled the official announcement for the platform to take place in early June at Book Expo America - so while I had been extremely excited about KWL, and dying to share it with a room full of writers, I couldn't yet mention it.  Talk about a challenging test of my self-control . . .

Cynthia opened up the session with a fascinating talk.

I then did my bit . . .

And afterward the two of us participated in a quick Q & A.

It was great collaborating with Cynthia on this talk -- always a pleasure to work with her.  (In a past life, I used to pop in to talk with one of her classes about POD and the Espresso Book Machine - that was always a good time) Ontario Writers Conference was a fantastic day spent with writers, participating in workshops, listening to talks and, of course, networking with other writers. 

All of the talks and workshops were entertaining and informative. One of my favourite bits was when Douglas Gibson did a wonderful job of entertaining the crowd with his "Stories About Storytellers" segment, asking the audience to mention a Canadian writer from his latest book and then telling an interesting story about that author from his personal experience.

As recently as last weekend I had people approach me and state how much they enjoyed my talk that afternoon. That is pleasing to hear, particularly since I have agreed to teach a workshop for the 2013 Ontario Writers Conference, which will be taking place May 4, 2013 entitled BEYOND THE SLUSH PILE: The Ins and Outs of Digital Self-Publishing.  And yes, this time, I will certainly be talking about Kobo Writing Life as I outline possible strategies, step by step details and various elements of tackling the world of digital self-publishing.

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