A friend once described the changes she had gone through as being “under new management” – just like the restaurant that closes for a few days, then re-opens with new red checked tablecloths and a different menu. Well, it now happened to me. I’m under new management, partly due to being away for a time. Funny how taking a step back can actually be a step forward, in the scheme of things.
New Management ideas are percolating through my mind and I’ll share a few of them here in the next few blog postings. I’ve been involved in so many different blogs and activities that I’ve been a mite neglectful of this one blog that is mine and mine alone. New management may migrate this blog over to self-hosting. I can’t help but notice that the number of blogs hosted by wordpress.com seem to be diminishing – where are they all going to? Is there a purge I’m not aware of, or is the word that blogging is dead filtering through even those of us who really do care about it. I recall when I first began and the number of blogs that wordpress.com hosted was around 25000 or so. I was, in that sense, a late adopter. Watching the numbers rise over time, I couldn’t help but feel that this was an ongoing surging wave. But like so many things in this current economy, there are now changes even in the blogosphere.
We don’t know where we’re going with all this change in the economy, the climate, the blogosphere, or our own selves. All I can say is that I’m under new management, and I hope this restaurant is going to survive with its new decor, two-for-one coupons and a lot of wishing.
We’ve launched a new blog service, Alphablogs, as a division of Alpha Glyph Publications. One of our first efforts was to do a workshop on creative blogging for marketing and promotion, through the Alliance for Arts and Culture here in Vancouver, with follow-up sessions a week later to answer any specific questions that participants have about their blogs.
I’m especially happy to welcome Isabella Mori as a colleague in the Alphablog endeavour. We came to know one another better when I was helping her self-publish her book of poetry. Isabella is a long-time blogger with some great blog SEO experience. Her blog, Change Therapy, was established for her work as a therapist here in Vancouver, but her interest in things bloggy and technical allows her to apply her expertise to the business needs of others as well.
I just shared a BNI network lunch with Isabella, where I presented some of the main benefits to businesses to have a blog, and outlined how we could help indie entrepreneurs get their blogs going on a strong footing.
I’ve been doing video for client blogs for some time now, and it’s been a wide range. Here are two clips from recent postings:
Alma Pasic, Mortgage Broker, on new mortgage opportunities for the self-employed.
Robert Meyer, Double Bassist, on conductors.
I just felt that it would be good to sum up where we are to date, before launching into the next phase. So here’s a quick overview of what’s been going on since Alpha Glyph began active operations in January of 2006. I’ve helped many clients with various stages of their book and publications projects, and have produced some work myself that had been waiting for my attention.
Coaching I’ve found that the book coaching service we offer has been very helpful to people who are in the process of defining their project or if they need the accountability that a book coach can provide. It’s been wonderful to be able to participate in the early stages of a writing project through book coaching.
Website and Blog I created the website for the company very early on, and have adapted it over the year with a few changes. The blog came on-stream partway through the year, and has given me the opportunity to reveal more about what we do, for anyone who is interested in finding out more about this endeavour.
Some client questions, which have come up over the year:
- Is self-publishing for you?
- Is this the right time for you to put out your work?
- Is print the right medium, or do you want a website, a blog, a video blog, a podcast?
- Do you need to go back and look more closely at your work before bringing it out?
- And so many more questions have appeared from various clients, and clients-to-be, each specific to their needs.
The first full book I worked on was a comprehensive educational publication for early childhood teachers. From substantive editing at the manuscript stage to the final layout, cover design and publication, I worked closely with the author, despite our physical distance from one another. The book was challenging as it was comprised of five very different sections which needed a unifying theme in order to be seen as part of one whole. As well, it was illustrated with photographs and line drawings, and also included musical notation. The whole project was a success and the author was very happy with the resulting book.
A brochure for a financial planner hit the skids, however. It didn’t see the light of day, as the client wanted a look and feel that was quite different from the approach that I had taken. Instead of “BUY “NOW”!! (flash flash red yellow flash flash) and Win the Race!” (photos of racehorses), I had taken a more subdued and reliable-seeming direction, saying with colour and form “your investment is safe with us.” Ultimately he took the project back and did it himself, adding his own personal flair and pizazz.
First E-Book The next book I worked on was simple book design and layout for an e-book. It gave my InDesign skills a workout and also enabled me to try the download system.
Archive Site and Blog The comprehensive Shamcher archives are an ongoing Alpha Glyph project. Last year I produced two websites for these archives – one static site and one blog site, which is being kept up on a regular basis. I’ve prepared articles as PDF downloadable documents available from the site, to accompany the other materials that are posted on the regular archive. Categories and tags are important here, and the process also involves document scanning, editing and posting.
Poetry Book In the last year I edited and laid out a book of poetry which includes full colour images inserted into the publication. With this book I worked closely with the author, and found it was important to do so as each word could have an alternate spelling. With poets every space can be as important as the words themselves, while some word could be invented for its sound quality when read aloud, or for the image of the type on the page.
Facsimile Book I produced an archival facsimile book of images taken from a 1970′s early zine-format book. Here the original was scanned and reduced to become a commemorative book for a small community. A fun project, and a good example of publishing for a small audience using print on demand.
I Self-Publish I also published two books of my own, from material that had been circulated earlier in various forms. One had been self-published, but not as a perfect-bound book in a standard size. This was laid out with some copy-editing and republished. The other had been published episodically in a periodical but never as a single volume, so I laid it out and published it as well.
Additional writing projects have always been a part of the Alpha Glyph work this past year.
- Business Plans I helped to coordinate the material and finesse the business plans for three very different businesses in the past year.
- Project Proposals As well, I produced two complex project proposals, compete with rationale, full outline of content, timeline, milestones, personnel and itemized budgets; one for a broadcast video series, the other for an interactive media production.
- Copyright Search I also did comprehensive copyright search and permissions for a client.
Manuscript Assessment I’ve done manuscript assessment for various books and one book series in the past year, and have met with many individuals regarding their book or card projects, either in person, by phone or through email.
Blogging has been a very busy activity for the company, which has seen over 800 articles posted in the blogs we’ve created over the past year, many including links, illustrations, photography and video.
Video blogging has been a fun part of our services and so far we have produced 44 short episodes that have been posted to clients’ websites or blogs, and on YouTube. These range in length from 1 minute to 7.5 minutes.
Other Materials For one book which is still in the first draft stage, I have also been engaged in creating fundraising and ancilliary materials to be used to gather interest in the project as a whole.
Professional Contacts I’ve participated in the monthly Blogger’s Meetup Group and various networking groups for entrepreneurs, as well as the Northern Voice Blogging Conference, all as part of professional development and for potential client contacts.
In process as I write this are three books in the layout/final copyedit stage, almost ready for the printer. There is one book in the manuscript stage (still in early days) and two nascent long-distance projects in the works.
Promotion of the company Being so busy with actual projects, we have had to leave some of our plans for promotion for the company on the back burner. We keep this blog going as one of our main forms of contact.
In fact, we are expanding the company’s blogging capability, through alphablogs (which I mentioned in my last posting). In this post, I haven’t mentioned all the blog experiences or the refinement of the blogging processes that we’ve been developing, but watch this space!
Focusing on the needs of small business and independent entrepreneurs, we have been working to create alphablogs, as a division of Alpha Glyph Publications Ltd.
We know blogging and we can help you get started and keep your blog going. We also help your blog find its audience, ultimately reaching many more clients and contacts through application of the latest web technology.
When you wish to reach an audience with your message, the blog is the ideal way to contact your clients, both current clients and clients-to-be. With the capability of indepth info (as much as you wish to generate) and the potential for many-to-many contacts that web 2.0 offers you will find yourself in the new universe of 21st century communications. Your blog posting can also be converted to a newsletter which your clients may subscribe to for up to the minute info.
Enter the realm of transparent communications, which the new web offers. It’s much more than just a blog, but can truly replace the old idea of the website completely. You will find that there can be continual updates on your info, and you can make those updates yourself. No need for high setup fees: for under $500 you will have a website ready to go with all the high functionality you will need to be confident in the 21st century marketplace.
We will patiently guide you into the workings of this new communications environment and will give you the tools to do as much of it yourself as you want to handle. Or we can set it all up and run it for you. Get yourself an alphablog, and find out what we are talking about.
Add video or audio to your site easily and inexpensively. Prepare your own information or we can put it together for you. And we help you get hits for your postings. Each blog posting is like a tiny website in itself, and is viewed independently by search engines like google. What this means to you is that you have the potential to reach many more clients through micro-targeted content. It also means that you don’t have to be one-track-minded in your messaging, but can branch out to the subtleties and overtones that are the intangibles that make your business tick, and that make your approach to your business unique.
Ultimately it is up to you. Your vision of your work and field of endeavour can be personally and professionally reflected through an alphablog site. Need a website? We can set that up for you. Need a blog? Naturally – it is our first love! Need a video blog or audio podcast? We can get that started for you and keep it going. Comprehensive sites use many capabilities which we also provide, including writing, editing, research, SEO for blogs, photos and images, links, comments, and community development (if needed).
We are really excited by the potential and possibility of this new aspect of publishing, and will be officially launching alphablogs soon. Meanwhile, for more information, you can reach us through the Alpha Glyph contact info.
Check the blogs page of this site for some examples of work to date.
Anyone who has a self-published book knows that networking and hand-selling really do help get some buzz going around your latest venture. As an entrepreneur with my own business, I often attend various networking events around the Vancouver area, to meet prospective clients and to create awareness around the services we offer through Alpha Glyph. Right now we are expanding our blogging services, which we’ve found more and more interest in from clients. Watch this space for more info on the blogging side of this business.
Last week, I attended a SWAN networking event in North Vancouver, and it was one of the best – very warm feeling, and all women.
As a guest of isabella mori, I went to their breakfast meeting, which featured some lightning networking rounds, in which each woman presented her business to the group at her table. Then we switched to another table, to do the same thing. There wasn’t a possibility of reaching the entire group at that rate, but we did see a great range and variation of women’s businesses in the networking sessions.
At my tables, I promised the group that I’d mention them in my next blog post, so here goes:
First, here’s isabella mori, a therapist and writer, who had invited me to SWAN as her guest.
Joanie Brown is an independent consultant for Arbonne International pure Swiss skin care, in North Vancouver.
Jacquie Wilson is a Reiki practitioner in Deep Cove whose company is called Tierra Sol Mar Reiki.
Anita Ming Lee, D.C., MAOM, has a new chiropractic/acupuncture practice. Their site is still under construction, but here’s the contact page.
Tracey Wait is an advertising consultant for the North Shore Outlook.
Carol Lea is a Mary Kay consultant in North Van.
Some of the women at my tables didn’t have a website listed, so I couldn’t create links for them, but I can list them here: Riette Gordon is a designer with Decor&More decorating services; and Oksana Airiants is a consultant with Investors Group.
It was a supportive and rewarding event – thanks!
The Web Worker Daily has a good report on new entrepreneurship experiments, and you will be pleased to see Lulu mentioned here. As you know, we work with Lulu for some of the books we have published, and so they come with a good recommendation. Still, to create these books and web-based publications, it’s good to have an editor or creative coach to bring out the best in what you have to offer. Naturally, this is what we do at Alpha Glyph.
It’s always good to see the media is starting to get it: the whole idea of “publishing” becoming an expression not only in print, but in many other media too. Ultimately you will have to experiment and find your own way to develop your expression further, using whatever medium is best for you. We can help you find that way. My own background in video and audio production and licensing combines with my early new media experience. All this has grown out of a firm foundation of print editing and writing skills. Our consultations with you will naturally include the media you need to get your message out there, in more fun ways than perhaps you had originally thought!
I’ve really enjoyed working with Robert Meyer on his Musical Reminiscences. A double bassist who worked with Britten, de Sabata, and many others, Meyer participated in much of the classical recording and performance that occurred in London after the war, until the 60s when he moved to Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. His newsy reminiscences are always interesting to me. How do I help him? I take the emails he sends me and help them become bloggable. Then I post them with links to relevant additional information. And I handle any spam issues.
We included his extensive discography which is introduced by a great article that really reveals the life of a working studio musician in London in those days. Through the blog Robert has been in contact with others, and has brought out even more stories than those he includes in his self-published book.
Check it out here.
A blog can really help when you are writing of a memoir, as it is episodic, and can be completed in stages, as it grows naturally. It seems easy, then the compiled blog postings can be edited together in book form. The people at Lulu have named this “the blook” – a book created from blog postings.
What is literacy? A deep and amazing process which enables a reader or writer to create, perceive and participate in worlds of thought across time and place. Here minds have participated and evolved since pre-history. Listings just don’t do it.
Now that the contents of publications can be searched by word or work groupings on a massive scale, we feel we have knowledge nailed – computers win as the texts of the world become an Alexandria of wisdom.
These word fragments mean as much to us as the letter “a” or “t” would. The process can be seen as a kind of alphabetization of words. There is no context or meaning to this kind of information. Instead, we have more fragmentation. We think that by listing and accessing all documents which include the word “Alexandria” we can have an accumulation that will yield the knowledge of Alexandria’s burned libraries. But if we look at the process used for this, we could just as easily be listing all words that begin with the letter “w” – an interesting exercise, for those who enjoy reading the dictionary.
Of course it’s great to be able to have info at your fingertips, to catalyze more cross-references, more awareness of similarities and differences. But will this process contribute to the continued development of thought-worlds for generations to come?
In a way, these listings could be killing off the fairies. They could be the death of the rich inner thought world that literacy creates. They are replacing resonant meaning with searchable content.
How do we develop and enable literacy in such an environment?
I’ve found that blogs are an excellent way to manage the content of digital archives, particularly while working on them. To wait until all material is digitized before presenting it is the old way of working. By digitizing and posting the material together, it is possible to get a sense of the body of work, and at the same time use the category functions to sort the material for the future. The posting has the added benefit of giving the material out to the community of interest.
Working with the archives of Shamcher (Bryn) Beorse has been richly rewarding but also very complex. His material stretches from energy and economics to yoga and sufism, with personal history in there somewhere as well. It has been difficult sorting the material according to category, as much of his writing, particularly in correspondence, was a mixture of his interests and approaches. Luckily, most of the materials in his archive are in print version, so that was relatively easy to manage, but there are still boxes and boxes of papers to be scanned and edited. He kept copies of all his typewritten correspondence, as well as various drafts of books and articles. Blogging this material as it is processed digitally means that there is a public record of his work, and aspects of the work can reach others now, rather than in years from now.
Of particular interest is OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion). For decades, he worked to have this energy generating system, which was first introduced in the 1920′s, adopted by US government and industry – despite the opposition from oil, coal and nuclear interests. Since posting of the archives, there has been interest in that work, and there is more opportunity for this material to see the light of day. Particularly in these times when clean environmentally benign energy sources are of prime importance, the OTEC thread of this archive is needed today.
An OTEC Plantship generates solar power from the sea
I really recommend using blogs to manage personal archives, such as this, and using the categories for your own sorting purposes, in addition to using them as tags in the usual sense.