TOCCON Wednesday round up

After having Friay and a whole weekend to get over my jet lag, I still haven’t. And it means that I still haven’t blogged about the Wednesday of Tools of Change.

If you’ve been interested in these posts, you should follow @toc on Twitter. It has great links to round ups and articles about the conference. You can also watch various videos. No matter who you are, I strongly suggest watching LeVar Burton’s opening keynote for inspiration about the future of storytelling.

First thing on Wednesday, I watched a demonstration of the most amazing software. It took a bunch of numbers, processed it, asked the data a bunch of questions and then popped out a story. (Have you read Roald Dahl’s THE GREAT AUTOMATIC GRAMMATIZATOR?) Rest assured, authors, this wasn’t fiction. The program relies on having lots of numbers to compare, so imaginative stories aren’t under threat. But it can then write narrative copy about things like the real estate market in a certain area, the performance of a company or a round up of a sporting event. Anything where there are stats, this program can tell a story.

The next talk was about new ways to sell books: subscription models and advert-paid-for stories. (What do you think about either of those options?) Then I went to a talk about new ways of bringing a book to market — releasing parts at a time, having a decreased price for early adopters, offer parts for free and then upgrade to the full product, or paying for continued access to a conversation with an expert. All of these were based on non-fiction and it’s very interesting to think of what could work for fiction. The book recommended was EVERY BOOK IS A START UP. And, like music to my ears, the one thing that was completely pivotal in all of this was THE AUTHOR and what their stories want and need.

I saw a demonstration of a product that will build animation in an app without knowing any code (DemiBooks) and heard a pitch for apps that were being sold door to door, along with other physical products (InkPad Press). I saw mind boggling things happen with complex math visuals (Wolfram Alpha Pro) that, thankfully, in my line of work, I will never have to try to understand.

All in all it was an awesome experience. My next step is to prepare a talk for the Hot Key team summing up my 43 pages of notes into an hour!