I’m excited to be speaking on “Structuring Topics Without Structured Authoring” at WritersUA Central in Chicago on October 21. This conference for technical communicators has long been one of my favorites, but it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to attend.

What will I talk about?

I’m going to outline my history of trying to deliver the right information to software users at the right time, and in the right format. Today that means being flexible in developing help for mobile devices, on the web, and for traditional desktop computers. Using structured, topic-based authoring is one of the best ways to do that. Traditional help authoring tools like Adobe RoboHelp don’t always give you a direct way to enforce structure, but with some self-discipline, it’s possible.

What else is going on at the conference?

Over two days, you can get a lot of information from some pretty smart people in our profession. For example:

  • Former STC president Nicky Bleiel on Interviewing Subject Matter Experts and Collaborating in GitHub
  • Scott DeLoach covering best practices in several areas
  • Leigh White on Organizational Challenges in CMS Implementation
  • Mike Baron on WordPress as a CMS
  • Joe Welinske (the founder of WritersUA) on a variety of topics

Good stuff, huh?

More fun stuff

Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago...
Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago as seen from the Chicago river (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The conference is at the Willis Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world. There’s a visit to the Skydeck on the agenda, so you can see all of Chicago at once. There will be networking lunches, and general fun with available adult beverages at the close of Day One.

So count on some fun too.

Monday, August 31 is the last day for early bird pricing for the conference, so head over to the conference website right now!

Hope to see you in Chicago!

Excited to tell you that I’ll be speaking to the Independent Writers of Chicago (IWOC) on Tuesday, March 10th on “Building Your Author Platform.”

Freelancers Building a Platform

Build Your Author Platform What am I going to talk about? Still working on it, but I intend to focus on:

  • The value of building a platform for freelance journalists
  • The value of writing books for freelancers of all kinds
  • An overview of the 14 steps to building a platform that Carole Jelen and I detail in our book
  • Reminding you why social media is critical in building that audience.

Of course, I’ll take questions, and give away a copy of Build Your Author Platform: The New Rules.

Networking and refreshments start at 5PM at the Gratz Center (Room 4A), 126 E. Chestnut Street, Chicago (just behind the Fourth Presbyterian church pictured below). My part of the program starts at 6PM.

English: Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago...
Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, taken from across Michigan Ave. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More information and advance registration for the event at the IWOC website.

Look forward to meeting more readers, and writers.

Related: Surprise from SlideShare

This morning I got an email from SlideShare telling me that my presentations were in the top 25% most-viewed on the site in 2014. The top two slide decks were:

Yep, you read that last one right. My five-year-old talk did nearly as well in page views as my most recent outing. For that, I thank (again) my Aussie conference buddy Sarah Maddox. She was in my audience that day in 2009. Last February she was gracious enough to include the deck in her “Super Useful List” of technical writing tools. One of these days, I need to update that deck…

Let me also point out that the LinkedIn presentation also received a terrific boost from the Washington, DC chapter of STC.

All that to say that my IWOC slides will also be available at SlideShare after the talk. Feel free to share the deck with your readers too.