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Hi! You have reached the online home of Michael McCallister. I write about technology, software, and the Internet in a variety of venues. At this site, you can learn more about me and my life, buy my books, find where you can see me at any given moment, and read some thoughts on the writing life. My main blog, Notes from the Metaverse, continues on at WordPress.com.

This site is not-so-new anymore, but you’ll see changes in it from time to time, with a big one coming down the road.  Watch this space! I built this site myself, with the incredible assistance of the global WordPress community. Any errors on this page are mine alone. Spot something? Contact me.

By the way, if you’re looking for the former CEO of Humana Health, that’s someone else. I’ll stop there.

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Sharing Platform Goodness with Independent Writers of Chicago

The Great Chicago Fire, an artists rendering, ...
Chicago was on Fire! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a terrific time with the Independent Writers of Chicago last week. What a lively group! They took my instructions that this was an interactive presentation to heart. Folks were so engaged, and asked so many questions, I barely got halfway through my planned talk. Nonetheless, have a look at the complete slide deck (click the link if the embed isn’t working):

Build Your Author Platform talk at Independent Writers of Chicago

To those of you who attended, you’ll enjoy these slides  more than what you saw that night.

The Big Four social media sites

I focused my talk on why having a website (like this one) is important, and connecting with the most important social media sites:

The slides will give you a hint on why these are the most important, and pros and cons for each service.

But can you make money with it?

Karma as action and reaction: if we sow goodne...
Karma as action and reaction: if we sow goodness, we will reap goodness. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Much of the conversation focused on the fundamental question for any freelance writer: Is social media really a valuable investment in time? One writer noted that she set and achieved a goal to get 10,000 Twitter followers, but that she found it impossible to communicate effectively with that size crowd. Not discouraged, she divided her followers into lists based on who shared her content and other criteria. She, in turn, spent more time reading and sharing posts from the folks who supported her.

I also pointed out that many agents and publishers use audience size as a way to decide whether a new author is willing to do the marketing work needed to sell books today. No audience, no sale.

 New places to build platform

One thing I wish I could have shared is my time-honored advice for social media success: get in early! I’ve told this story often, learned by way of the Most Influential Person in Technical Communication, Tom Johnson.  In short: One of the main reasons I was once on the list of Most Influential that Tom was #1 on is that Tom and I both discovered – and posted to – Twitter early.

Eight years ago this month, some friends came back from South by Southwest to spread the word of the usefulness and fun quotient of the 140-character mini-blog tool. I signed up, and the rest is certainly history. (Psst…you can follow me using the button on the right).

So let me hook you up with two (relatively) new services that I’m on. I have no idea whether they will become household names over time, but if they do, I want to say I helped.

  • Ello: This service was the hottest thing in the blogosphere for a week or so late last year. Not unlike Google+, this ad-free zone was torched by the same bloggers and journalists for not dethroning Facebook quickly enough. Nonetheless, this beta service continues to grow, add features, and remains pretty interesting. I’ve got invites…
  • Known: I learned about this site by way of a comment on an article by Dan Gillmor
    Dan Gillmor, American technology writer and fo...
    Dan Gillmor, American technology writer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    on Medium. I haven’t done much here, and don’t entirely get its purpose yet, but you might find it interesting too. Gillmor (one of my tech-journalist heroes, BTW) calls himself “a big fan.”

Thanks again to the Independent Writers of Chicago (especially Tom Kepler, James Kepler and David Steinkraus) for inviting me to speak, and providing such a great audience. Oh, the pizza was great, too!

My writing life: playing the long game

Beyond that, though, here’s something else that might be interesting to others pondering building a writing career: big chunks of my income are completely divorced from when I do the work. In 2014, I spent most of my time working on projects that generated absolutely none of my 2014 income. – See more at: http://lauravanderkam.com/2015/03/writing-life-playing-long-game/#sthash.M4vAgMEb.dpuf
Beyond that, though, here’s something else that might be interesting to others pondering building a writing career: big chunks of my income are completely divorced from when I do the work. In 2014, I spent most of my time working on projects that generated absolutely none of my 2014 income. – See more at: http://lauravanderkam.com/2015/03/writing-life-playing-long-game/#sthash.M4vAgMEb.dpuf

Source: lauravanderkam.com

Discovered by way of Chris Gillebeau and  “The Art of Non-Conformity.” This post by Laura Vanderkam  is partly about the weirdness of generating (and receiving) freelance income, but overall keeps a hopeful and confident tone. As I often say, “It will work out.” Sometimes I even believe it!

See on Scoop.itBuild Your Author Platform: New Rules