Hi Ian! Thanks for joining us today on Night Owl Reviews. To get us started, what is your latest book?
Twitter In 30 Minutes (3rd Edition): How to connect with interesting people, write great tweets, and find information that's relevant to you
What's your book about?
The third edition of Twitter In 30 Minutes is a short guide that’s not only intended to help people get up to speed with Twitter, but also show what’s possible with the social network. I think that’s something that a lot of “how to” guides don’t do particularly well. There are lots of examples, from a food truck to a famous celebrity and even a cat! I also show how everyday people use Twitter to connect with other people, share information, and better understand the world around them.
The book is aimed at newbies as well as people who have tried Twitter but never really got the hang of it. However, some experienced Twitter users have told me they discovered something new after reading earlier editions of the book.
What should readers expect from you titles?
When people pick up an In 30 Minutes guide, they can expect to learn a mildly complex topic in a short period of time. I avoid confusing or overly technical explanations and really try to put the reader at ease. Someone once left a review for Excel Basics In 30 Minutes that said the book’s tone was more like a friend or co-worker explaining how to use Excel than a technical manual. That was a great compliment and one that validated my approach with the In 30 Minutes series.
What's your writing process like?
I started my professional writing career as a television and newspaper journalist, but my go-to writing process derives from blogging. Over the years I have written thousands of blog posts. I love the easy-going conversational style, and I have applied that style to about a half-dozen In 30 Minutes guides. The books are short, and I structure many of the sections like blog posts. It usually takes me a few months writing nights and weekends to finish a manuscript.
I have also tried NaNoWriMo for a science fiction title and am working with a professional development editor on a business book about Lean Media (more on that below).
What's next for you as an author?
I am in the process of writing a business book about Lean Media, which is a framework for creators of media such as books, film, website content, videogames, and music. This is an important framework, in that it can help other media people create new and innovative media using fewer resources and working more closely with audiences. The book will include many well-known examples, from The Simpsons to Stephen King, but there will also be lots of “ordinary” examples as well as tools that authors and other creators can use to develop new media. I will be posting blog posts and updates on leanmedia.org.
What is your favorite way to procrastinate?
Unfortunately, the Internet provides far too many distractions. At least I try to make my procrastination somewhat useful during the day — I like to browse the author community on Kboards for tips and also to share advice. I am also a big Twitter fan, and use my personal (@ilamont) and work account (@in30minutes) to connect with people and follow interesting topics. To keep myself from glancing at Internet distractions, I use special tools to lock down my browser during certain times during the day. One example is Leechblock for Firefox. I also find that the evening is the best time for me to work, because most other people are watching TV or asleep!
Do you have a favorite or interesting reader meet moment?
In the back of Twitter In 30 Minutes I printed my Twitter handle (@ilamont) and encourage readers to connect. Scores of people have done so, including entrepreneurs, students, retirees, teachers, and many other people from all over the world. I follow all of them back, and it’s interesting to get a glimpse into their lives and know that Twitter brought us together!
What technological advancement could you not live without?
The Internet. It is such a transformative technology and it is so exciting to be able to participate in conversations and activities that would never have been possible before the advent of Internet technologies such as the World Wide Web. I was a young adult when I discovered it in the 1990s, and knew that I wanted to get involved in working in an Internet-related field. I learned HTML and some other Web technologies, started creating websites, and later worked on professional websites. When I was in grad school I actually had a chance to take a class with Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web. It was amazing … like being able to study under Gutenberg!
Thanks so much for taking the time to join us.
Thanks for having me! I think your service is a great resource for people who want to get a handle on the best new books hitting the marketplace.