Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Technophobe's view of Technology

I'm old enough to remember not only typewriters but actual manual ones. (Pause to allow for jaw-dropping moment and to wonder if it's safe to let this woman out on her own.) Well, I haven't forgotten where I live yet!

I've always been drawn to reading, and writing, and penned my first tome many years ago using an (electric) typewriter and carbon paper with a pot of correctly fluid to correct the errors. I didn't develop my writing career until many years later and by then word processing ruled the world. How did I ever manage to type up my thoughts that first time without changing stuff and going back over it a million times, like it's so easy to do now? More to the point, how did I manage without the Internet at my fingertips for instant research purposes? Looking back I can't help wondering if I would have got seriously into writing much sooner if those facilities had been available at the time. Still, that's no excuse for being lazy. Lots of other people managed it. Some wrote out their books in longhand. I know of one or two who still do.

Whilst I've embraced modern technology with enthusiasm, I freely admit that I find it totally baffling. I'd go one step further and defy anyone with a full-time writing career to keep up with all the new stuff. There simply aren't enough hours in the day. Neither, in my opinion, is it necessary. I love twitter, feel intimidated by Facebook, haven't even looked at My Space, hijack other people's blogs and have my website professionally maintained. I get by.

But don't ask me what the hell an RSS is. I have this pretty icon on my laptop telling me I'm the proud owner of one. Wish I knew what I was meant to do with it. I think it's supposed to be really simple so what does that say about me? As for cookies...well, that's something you eat, isn't it? And if someone talks about viruses, I assume they're feeling unwell. Is there a doctor in the house? Firewalls? A precaution against your house burning down, obviously.

Still, I'm not entirely clueless and am proud to say that I've got my mind round URL's, (I think!) but even the thought of live link conference thingies brings me out on in a cold sweat.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that whilst technology has made the actual process of writing, researching and communicating so much easier, it's also brought a complete new vocabulary into play and many of us more established citizens find it difficult to keep pace with it. I also can't help wondering if social-networking is a misnomer. Sitting behind a computer all day, 'talking' to people in virtual offices, in train stations, in the bath, or wherever, but never actually coming face to face with them is more anti-social, isn't it?

Before I sign off I have one final confession to make. Promise not to laugh? Okay, here goes. My cell phone is a dinosaur. It has two functions only. To make/receive calls and send/receive texts. But that's still one too many functions for me since I'm proud to say that I've never sent a text message in my entire life. Still, on the up side, the battery in my phone lasts for two weeks!

Wendy Soliman

Wendy Soliman is a British author, now dividing her time between Andorra and the west coast of Florida. She lives with her husband Andre and a rescued dog of indeterminate pedigree. In spite of her technophobility she is the author of numerous Regency romances published both in the UK and the USA. She's currently forging a career with Carina Press, writing Regencies as well as marine crime mysteries. Her latest Regency, Of Dukes and Deceptions, is available from Carina Press or now.

Visit her website
Follow her on twitter: @wendyswriter

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

From Ink to Data Streams

Painted Cave, Santa Barbara County, California per Wikipedia

Once upon a time we authors scribbled our thoughts on parchment with ink from a variety of sources, even blood. Heck, even before that we were scratching our stories out on stone tablets, cave walls—you get the picture (snicker).

Eventually the press was developed and then the typewriter. The power of the written word opened the minds of the masses. Then came the computer, and many of us laid down the pen for good. Now we have laptops and the web. Information flows faster than water. And I have to say, thank god. My handwriting is atrocious! Seriously. I think if I had to write anything longer than a letter by hand (and even that I have nearly replaced with email, facebook and twitter posts!) it just would not get done.

I have a laptop, and I love it. I have the power to go where I want, write what I want, and I will be able to understand it later! There were times when I have picked up a handwritten note and have had no idea what I was trying to say.  Now I can type a note, create a file and a sub-file in a matter of moments! I know you are all laughing at me, all you techies out there with your data management systems, but this is big stuff for me.

So I am happy, but technology keeps changing! And I want more. Now we have ebook readers (and I admit I own both the Kobo and the Kindle and the original ebookwise and my daughters both have Kobos!) and the ipad, and tomorrow? Well take a look at this concept video. J


Can you just imagine? Now that will be cool. I might just have to trade in my stone tablet…er…I mean my Dell Inspiron 1520 and get one of these babies when they come out. Unless there’s something better out there. Anyone got any recommendations?


Sci-fi erotic romance with Carina Press – The Confederacy Treaty Series
Alien Revealed - June 7, 2010
The Naked Truth – June 13, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Free Tech For Book Promotion

So you’ve got a new book out and a limited budget for promotion. I bet you’re wondering how best to promote your book without breaking the bank. Well, all book promotion is cumulative, meaning there’s no one thing that an author can do that’s going to create awareness of their title. Everything you do promotion wise is going to help you get the word out. So what else can you do for little or no cost in addition to acquiring reviews, blogging, tweeting and Facebooking?

Mobile Site-Have you dreamed of having an app created for your book but found the cost of hiring an app designer way out of your budget? While it may not have all the bells and whistles of an app, a mobile site can provide all the same content in a mobile ready format easily accessed by readers on their mobile devices via a QR Code. Winksite is a free service that allows users to create a mobile ready site in minutes. Click here for the one I created for my latest novel, The Paris Secret.

QR Codes-Speaking of QR Codes, you’ve probably seen these square 2D barcodes in magazine ads and on buildings and not known what they were. QR stands for quick response. They’re barcodes that have a url embedded in them. They can be scanned with a smart phone and will take you to a website, a text message, a video, etc. Including a QR Code on your promotional items, postcards, business cards, posters, is an excellent way to connect print content to online content. There are numerous free QR Code generators online as well as free barcode reader apps for your smart phone. Sites like Zazzle even allow you to order T-Shirts and coffee mugs with your QR Code printed on them!

BookBuzzr-I’ve yet to sign up for BookBuzzr, but here’s a quote from the site: “BookBuzzr is a suite of anti-obscurity technologies for authors. Our mission is to figure out every new technology and then figure out a way to make that technology promote your book for you. BookBuzzr changes every day because the technology environment changes every day (who had heard of an iPad 2 years ago?) But the operating principles (help authors promote their book as efficiently, innovatively and painlessly as possible) remains as unchanging as the northern star. BookBuzzr is available in two variations. The free version (yes, completely free with no strings attached) referred to as BookBuzzr Author Lite and the paid version for authors serious about their book promotion referred to as BookBuzzr Author Pro.”

Have you had any experience with any of the above promotional tools? If so, how did you use them?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wanted: Tech Savvy Authors

Are you an author who loves and embraces technology? Are you using technology to either write, publish, or promote your work? Then I'd love to hear from you! I'm looking for authors to interview or who'd be interested in submitting a guest blog post about how you're using technology.  Not sure what I'm talking about? Here are some examples:

Have you...

written a cell phone novel?

serialized a novel online or through podcasts?

created a book app?

created an online or video game for your book?

created a mobile site for your book?

created a soundtrack for your book using Garage band?

used QR Codes to promote?

created a digital magazine or comic?

used social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Foursquare in a new and interesting way?

used or developed writing software?

created a web series?

promoted your books in a virtual community like Second Life?

These are just examples! I'm open to interviews and guest blogs from any author who is using technology in interesting and inventive ways. If this sounds like you, please email me at: techsavvyauthor (at)

Looking forward to hearing from you!