Friday, November 19, 2010

17 Ways for Writers to Publish Their Content

By Joel Friedlander

As self-publishers we usually think of books as the primary way we distribute our ideas, our stories, or our teaching—in other words, our content. Books certainly are the best delivery vehicle for long content, for collections from a variety of writers, or for explaining complex ideas and providing a text to study over a long period of time.

In this age of chunked content, re-purposed content, and the many different ways to re-use your old content, there are more ways than ever to publish interesting, educational or entertaining ideas. You know that the internet, blogs, article sites, multimedia presentations and many other online formats make use of text in different ways. The flexibility of ebooks also clearly shows that the text we prize so highly is still data, and can be manipulated in lots of ways. Each of these formats represents another channel through which you can let people know about your ideas, your books, or your community.

It just makes sense to explore these content channels. When you also get a link back to your website or blog you’re not only spreading your ideas, but enhancing your traffic. If you are selling from your website, either directly or indirectly this will also affect your bottom line.

It’s unlikely that anyone could make use of all these different ways to publish content, but it’s amazing how many of them might fit with the subjects you’re writing about now.

17 Ways to Publish Your Content

1. Printed book—the standard-bearer for long text for the last 500 years, looks like it still has life as a text delivery system.

2. Ebook—the future of text, according to many. Common workflow today is to prepare the print book first then use the final text to generate ebooks in multiple formats for use on different readers.

3. App(lication)—the rise of the app stores has created another opportunity for publishers. Whether you just package your book as an app, or incorporate some of the functionality of today’s smart phones, you gain access to tens of millions of smart phone owners, a vast new market.

4. Audiobook—recording someone reading your content gives you access to people who like to listen, rather than read, for enjoyment or education.

5. Serialization—A favorite for fiction writers for a couple of hundred years, issuing your story in episodes can present a long story in bite-size chunks, making it easier to approach for today’s attention-challenged readers. And a great way to use social media status updates.

6. Blog—writers are constantly being exhorted to start blogs, build their audience and thereby spread their message. Blogs also thrust your content into the social media space, where readers can give you instant feedback.

7. Articles—massive article sites like ezinearticles.com aggregate articles you can take from your book, or which you write with an eye on keywords and web traffic, allowing you to passively spread your message, and links to your website, throughout the web.

8. Teleseminar—this audio format using either telephone lines or teleconferencing software creates a de facto classroom in which you or a panel of speakers discuss ideas and take questions from the audience.

9. Webinar—similar to a teleseminar but with video and visuals, webinars are becoming increasingly popular as a means to connect with interested readers and deliver your content with the addition of slides or other visual aids.

10. E-course—delivered primarily by email, an e-course presents your ideas or instruction on a particular topic one lesson at a time. This is a robust and growing form of at-home training and education.

11. Workshops—gathering a group of students at a physical location, workshops give you the chance for one-on-one interaction with students and may vary from just a few people to hundreds of attendees.

12. Free reports—using one piece of your content as a freebie, perhaps in exchange for an email opt in, helps spread your message. Sites such as Scribd.com and Smashwords.com give you a global platform for distributing your ideas this way.

13. Infographics—some ideas, processes or new ways of looking at existing data can be incorporated brilliantly into a graphical presentation. If your infographic becomes popular, it can easily go viral and spread to a huge audience.

14. Interviews—the question-and-answer format of interviews can be very useful for giving potential readers a good idea of what you are writing about. And interviews inject a welcome personal element that allows those readers to appreciate you on a personal level.

15. Animation—do-it-yourself animation tools can help you put your ideas into a form that more people may appreciate. Videos like Zoe Winters’ Zoe Who? videos, reach audiences that may never have seen your book.

16. Web video—establishing your own Youtube.com channel and issuing videos that describe common applications of your ideas, or in which you read from your book and answer questions, for instance, gives you yet another way to connect to those people who would rather watch than read.

17. Speaking engagements—as an author you are already an expert in your niche. New processes or new ways of thinking about things can easily become the basis for motivational or educational speaking opportunities, content you can adapt from your book.

So there you have it, 17 ways you can slice, dice, stir-fry and serve your content to whole worlds of readers who may not have heard of you before.

So many of these venues for content are new, unleashed by the power of the internet to connect people with similar interests. It’s undeniable that even more methods of content publication will be coming as web 2.0 matures.

What have I left off? Are there other ways you’ve published content that I don’t have on my list? I’d love to hear.

Joel Friedlander is a self-published author, a book designer and blogs about book design, self-publishing and the indie publishing life at TheBookDesigner.com. He's also the proprietor of Marin Bookworks, where he helps publishers and authors who decide to publish get to market on time and on budget with books that are both properly constructed and beautiful to read.

4 comments:

Saving Stories said...

Thank you for sharing all these ways to publish content. I had not thought of several of them. I appreciate the Tweet!

Carol said...

Great article Yvonne!

Sharkbytes said...

Good ideas here!

Anne R. Allen said...

Excellent, comprehensive post. So many writers get kind of married to the book format and forget how many other options are open to us.