Authoring Challenges in a Multiplatform World

Scott Meyers (Independent Author and Consultant)
Location: Empire-Hudson (7th Floor) Level:
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How should authors approach their task, given that what they produce
may or may not appear in printed form, may or may not have color
available, may or may not be able to display dynamic content, may or
may not have Internet access available, and may be viewed on devices
ranging from widescreen monitors to cell phones — unless it’s
consumed as audio? The challenge is
particularly acute for technical authors, because, in addition to
words, they typically employ charts, diagrams, and tables to convey
their messages. How do you (usefully) display such things on an
iPhone, not to mention via an audio stream? Publishers need to
concern themselves with these questions, because multiplatform
publication is much more likely to succeed if the content was designed
for it in the first place.

Authors experienced only in the creation of traditional books rarely
think about the constraints and opportunities associated with other
forms of publication. Electronic books can use animations to depict
dynamic phenomena, for example, and frames from these can be used in
print books, but how many authors (or their publishers) are adapt at
creating animations? Cross-references within a book are great for
avoiding the need to repeat information, but how do you treat them
when you want to break the book into chunks for independent

There are ways authors can addresses these issues, but they must occur
during content creation, not after the fact. In this talk, Scott
Meyers introduces some issues authors need to keep in mind as they
write, discusses how tools and techniques can help them, and explains
the role that publishers can play in the creation of content that’s a
natural part of a multiplatform world.

Scott Meyers

Independent Author and Consultant

A technical book author since 1991, Scott Meyers has written or
co-written nearly a dozen titles in print, PDF, and HTML on CD
formats. For most books, he prepared camera-ready print copy, and he
also acted as primary designer for their electronic versions. He’s
currently working on a new book designed from the outset to be
consumed in print, electronic, and audible forms.

  • Impelsys Inc.
  • Ingram Industries
  • oXygen XML Editor
  • Adobe Systems, Inc.
  • codeMantra
  • Connotate
  • DPCI
  • Innodata Isogen, Inc.
  • LibreDigital
  • Lulu
  • Malloy
  • Mark Logic
  • Media Services Group
  • Quark, Inc.
  • ReadHowYouWant
  • RSuite
  • Safari Books Online
  • Smashwords, Inc.
  • Sterling Commerce
  • Verso Digital

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