Monday, July 28, 2008

E-books and book fairs

It must be heaven, all those books!

A previous e-book seminar student of mine, Jane Schauer, wrote to me about her recent experiences at a book fair in the US.
It is my opinion that authors already have the best distribution channel already at their finger-tips for the distribution of their own digital products: the internet, but Jane's experiences might be of interest to others.
It thrills me to see people I've taught move ahead with their projects.
Here is Jane's new web site:
Attending BookExpo America
by Jane Schauer
As a new publisher I thought I would mark my publishing debut by having a stand at this year’s BookExpo America. It is the second largest annual trade book show in the world (Frankfurt is the largest) and I thought readers might be interested in knowing about it.
Each year the show is held in a different U.S. city and this year it was held in Los Angeles in June. One of the main aims of BookExpo is for publishers to be able to showcase their works (including audio and e-books) to trade book buyers, such as book stores and librarians. However, interested members of the public can also attend the show.
The main activities at the very well organised show were:
  • publishers and writers displaying their works in exhibition halls
  • talks and book signings given by famous writers
  • expert panels conducting education seminars on the publishing trade
  • networking and rights selling
The show this year was huge and rather overwhelming (over 37,000 attended). It took me an hour and half just to walk around the exhibition halls without stopping to chat. Two highlights were Ted Turner launching his biography and Salman Rushdie signing his books.
I had a stand in the independent publishers’ row, which I found I was stuck on most of the time. When the show is in New York next year I will probably not have a stand, instead I will put my books in the show’s New Title Show Case. Then I will be able to attend seminars and network.
If you are interested in the show and are wondering about costs, this year they were in US dollars:
  • to be an attendee for 3 days (including education seminars) was $225 (cheaper day only tickets were available)
  • to be an exhibitor with a provided stand in the independent publisher’s row $2,810 or in the writer’s row $ 1,697
  • to display books in the New Titles Show Case was $210 per title (you don’t need to attend the show to display books and you can also send your books to other book shows for cheaper costs)
You can find out more by visiting the show’s website You can also contact me at

Who would think of this at the beach: managing documentation projects

Writing Projects

How long is this thing?

I recently attended the AODC 2008 conference on the Gold Coast, which by the way, is a great place for a conference for the early morning walks along the beach.

The presentation I most wanted to hear was called 'Estimating Documentation Projects' by Stewart Walker.

I was interested in this topic because many of the projects I have worked on have the notorious habit of 'scope-creep,' whereby the project gets bigger and bigger, but the deadline doesn't move!

Stewart's talk combined two methods that are commonly employed by project managers in documentation projects: the cradle to grave metrics model advocated by JoAnn Hackos in her book Managing Your Documentation Projects, and the bottom-up, task by task method that makes it easier to manage the work on a day-by-day basis.

The beauty of this approach is that you get the benefits of both, which I hadn't considered before.

A fellow technical writer, Sarah Maddox, wrote copious notes at the conference and posted them on her blog for us all to see: