Atavist platform

February 26, 2016 | Leave a Comment

Aja Frost at Contently tells us about the powerful Atavist platform, a content management platform that’s “like Squarespace for longform stories, allowing you to drag and drop various elements like you were building an article with LEGO blocks.”

With the ability to embed images, add pull quotes, and include custom interactive maps, this platform lets you publish digital storytelling projects that look very professional. The paid version also lets you brand your work and include a paywall, potentially monetizing your content.


I’ve been using a Zoom Handy Recorder H4n audio recorder and Sony ECM-MS907 microphone to record interviews for the travel podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer.

But when I travel, I like to carry as little gear as possible, so I asked fellow travel writer, Dick Jordan (Tales Told from the Road), who shoots video with his iPhone, about using my iPhone instead of my (heavier, bulkier) Zoom. Here is Dick’s incredibly detailed and well-thought-through response — which he has allowed me to share.

headphonesMeagan Francis at Contently gives us the basics on podcasting: How much technical ability is required, how much time and money a new podcaster needs to invest, and how much money you can make from podcasting.

SanFranciscoSeen any good books lately? A book trailer is a short video posted on the Internet designed to help authors sell their work; PictureYourBook helps authors by creating short, effective, economical trailers.

Here are a couple of samples: With original music, photos and illustrations from the book, the charming trailer for Chronicles of Old San Francisco tells what this book of historical tales and walking tours is all about. And the Cut by Cut book trailer takes you into the world of entertainment and examines the art of film editing.

Both of the above books—as well as the trailers—are by Gael Chandler, author and film editor.

Thanks to Cheryl McLaughlin for letting us know that Kevin Smokler’s is closing. We hope Kevin leaves his excellent ten-part series (“Everything you Wanted to Know about Book Promotion but were Afraid to Ask”) on the web as he moves on to other projects (his next book!)

In their quest to blanket the world with superior apps, Sutro Media is looking for expert authors for the following European destinations. If you’re an expert on any of these areas, get in touch with acquisitions editor Kim Grant.

England: Most regions (but specifically Cornwall, Devon, Kent, Cambridge, Oxford, Yorkshire, Bristol); London.

Wales: Cardiff.

Scotland: general country guide, and Glasgow.

Ireland: general country guide, and Dublin, Belfast, County Cork, County Wicklow, County Galway, County Kerry, Northern Ireland.

Norway: general country guide, and Oslo, Bergen, fjords.

general country guide, and Stockholm.

Finland: general country guide, and Helsinki.

Thanks to travel writer Dick Jordan (Tales Told from the Road) for his review of the App Happy class Suzanne Rodriguez and I (Laurie McAndish King) taught for people who want to develop and market their own mobile travel apps. We developed so much content for the class that we’re nearly finished with an an e-book on the same topic.


I met Teresa LeYung Ryan at the Bay Area Travel Writers meeting on Saturday, and had a few minutes to look through her 100-page workbook, Build Your Writers’ Platform & Fanbase in 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and media Attention NOW. It looks like a good resource; let me know what you think if you’ve read/used it.

Amphitheater made from recycled automobilesSuzie Rodriguez and I (Laurie McAndish King) are developing an iPhone app about the San Francisco Waterfront. We’re having great fun doing this “work” as we write about some of our favorite places and discover hidden gems. One of my favorites so far is the public amphitheater pictured here; it’s made from recycled automobile hoods!

We expect the app to be available in a month or so; in the meantime, here’s a link to the Facebook page we set up to let people know what we’re up to and gather ideas about the best places to include. We’d sure appreciate it if you’d visit the page and “like” us. Thanks!

From Saul Tarasoff at GPS My City: We’re about to launch a new travel article section on our website and are willing to pay authors $50 apiece for quality articles outlining the use of smart phone travel apps.

Thanks to Lee Foster for explaining the economics of selling mobile applications compared with selling (traditional, paper) books in his article, Apps – the Future of Travel Journalism? Here’s an excerpt:

“Royalty rates for authors of apps are much higher than for authors of books, and for good reason. The deal is that I get 30% of the gross income from my $1.99 app sale, or 60 cents. I am told that this is roughly typical of the app world—30% each to the author, developer, and Apple store, with 10% going to admin. For my book, I have a 15% of net rate, which is good and possibly a little high. So, for selling two apps for $3.98, I get $1.19. For a sale of my $14.95 book, my royalty is 15% net, and the book will probably be discounted 55% to sell on Amazon or through a distributor. My royalty for that sale is $1.01.”

Lots of us are blogging these days, and many of us are not certain why we are doing it. Scott Rosenberg spoke at the last Left Coast Writers Literary Salon from his new book, Say Everything, about the history of blogging (which is ten years old, in its current form!). Reviewers call the book “elegantly accessible” and “certain to be a classic.”

Scott also provided some insight into the future of blogging. Here are some of my notes from his talk:

One of the reasons blogging is important is because writing in public—blogging—helps us develop ideas. [Blogging is a particularly good medium for that because of its immediacy and democracy.]

What defines a blog?
Generally, it’s 1) personal, it 2) has lots of outbound links, and 3) the latest post is on “top.” (No interminable internal editorial meetings to determine which story will be the lead.)

Is blogging going to go away?

Is it going to change?

Here’s a link to an article on Matador by Lauren Quinn, written after she attended my favorite travel writing conference, the (18th annual) Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographs Conference.

Lauren writes, “Two days later, my brain is still buzzing with ideas, inspiration and information. As I’ve been catching up on sleep and attempting to sort it all out, these are the top 5 lessons that have floated to the top, the froth of the golden brew.” (Use the link above for the rest of the article.)

October 4, 2009
10:00 amto5:00 pm

Lisa Alpine and Carla King are offering a seminar on self-publishing from 10:00 – 5:00 on Sunday, October 4th, 2009, at Fort Mason Center.

Here’s the scoop:

“You’ll learn everything you need to know to do it yourself:

  • What the various POD printers, online services, and distribution companies do (and don’t do) for you
  • How to outsource: book design, mailing list management, blogs, and other essential tasks
  • What to watch out for when using POD “subsidy” publishers
  • Options for distribution and fulfillment
  • How to use your eBook to sell your print book

waterchallengeDick Jordan’s Contra Costa Times article about the Bay Model is a good example of seeing local hidden gems as attractions worthy of travel articles. And check out his Blogspot website, Tales Told from the Road, which does a great job of incorporating Facebook, Twitter, a photo slideshow, and an RSS feed. Nice work, Dick.

Apture: Super Links

April 30, 2009 | 3 Comments

Thanks to Cheryl McLaughlin for this link to a demo video on to a way-cool service (free to small-time bloggers) called Apture, which “makes it easy to add contextual images, videos, reference guides, links, maps, music, news, documents and books to your blog to create a connected media experience that keeps readers engaged on your site.”

By the way, I can’t think of a better way to get up to speed on “new media” than by picking Cheryl’s brain.


April 29, 2009 | Leave a Comment is a free service that lets you create and administer polls and surveys by embedding them into a post or article. Sounds like a useful tool for people who want to develop online communities. You can change the appearance of the poll, integrate the poll into your WordPress blog (I didn’t use the WordPress-specific function here), include images and video in your poll, subscribe to the results of the poll in an RSS feed, set survey response paths using conditional branching, create custom start and finish pages, and more.

To see how it works, answer this poll:

These three “inexpensive customisable photography sites” are recommended by the British Guild of Travel Writers:

IFP3 Advanced Photo Websites
Create Your Own Website. Be Live in 5 minutes.

* Unlimited Images, Pages and Galleries
* Easily Sell Your Images
* No Credit Card Needed for trial
* No Fees or Commissions on Sales
* Full Search Feature Integrated into Your Site
* No Set Up Fees – & Hosting is Included

Our simple and intuitive interface makes SiteWelder easy-to-use for computer novices and experts alike. with the Site manager it’s easy to upload photos, create galleries, make Flash slideshows, and edit text on pages. No computer programming required!

Start by logging in to your WordPress site with your username and password.

Remember that the login info is case-sensitive, so you have to be sure to use capital letters in the right places.

  • In this case, I’m logging in to
  • Be sure you add “/wp-admin” (without quotation marks) to the end of the URL.
  • WordPress updates to a new version from time to time, so it may look a little different than you remembered, but the process of creating a post stays the same.

Flip Video

February 26, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Flip Video Cam

Flip Video Cam

Maybe it’s premature, but I’m flipping for the Flip video camera. Just bought the $150 version a few days ago, then got a notice today from that the $129 version is on sale for $69.99.

It’s small, easy to use (although limited in capability), produces high-quality images … and the built-in USB port makes it easy to upload images. Limited editing capabilities are built in.

For more info, check out the website.

After reading this article titled 8 Ways that Twitter can Grow your Freelance Business I’ve started Twittering. Intermittantly. (My Twitter name is LaurieKing; follow me if you can.)

WordPress Lessons

December 28, 2008 | 2 Comments

Here’s a link to the WordPress HELP section that includes lessons o:

  • Introduction to Blogging
  • First Steps with WordPress
  • Design and Layout
  • Creating Individual Pages
  • Using Images
  • and lots more


December 6, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Thanks to John Montgomery for sending the link to Ozmo: Ozmo is the easy and convenient way to license content on the web. When you see the Ozmo link on content, users know it’s legal and creators know they’re getting paid for their work. It’s a win-win for buyers and sellers.

By Karsten Weide, posted on Webguild: More than half of U.S. consumers with Internet access use social networking services (SNS), such as Facebook and MySpace, and penetration will continue to grow. According to a new study from IDC, consumers are also spending ever-greater amounts of time on SNS, a fact that has advertisers drooling over the opportunity represented by SNS. IDC found that consumers who use SNS also tend to visit the services often and spend a lot of time per visit. More than three quarters of SNS users visit at least once a week, and no less than 57% visit Read more

December 13, 2008
6:00 pmto10:00 pm
Ginny's Farm © Marc Longwood

Fine art photography exhibition by members of Sacramento’s The Focus Group, featuring the diverse photographic imagery of 13 prominent Sacramento photographers: Marc Longwood, Hal Hammond, Dave Brooks, Ron Busselen, Randy Snook, Janine Mapurunga, John Swain, Donald Satterlee, Richard Tolmach, John Palmer, Hope Harris, Gene Kennedy and Mike Powers.

Free reception open to the public on Saturday, December 13, 2008 from 6-10 p.m.

Location: Beatnik Studios
2421 17th Street (17th and Broadway)
Sacramento, CA  95818

Show is up now through December 23, 2008.
Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, 6-9 p.m.

keep looking »
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