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Medium – A New Writing Tool For Authors

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Communications

Walter Isaacson uses it. NY Times journalist David Carr uses it. Author Emily Gould, Journalist Ben Smith, and Entrepreneur Elon Musk use it too. What is it?

It’s a new site for authors called MEDIUM.

It was founded by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone in August 2012. On this exclusive site the authors post to a communal blog, then the site groups the posts together to create broad topics such as “Creative Writing” “On Publishing” and “Online Marketing.” https://medium.com/about/writing-in-medium-df8eac9f4a5e

The thought behind the interworking of Medium according to the founders, was to provide a place where the authors could write a post longer than 140 characters—Medium length content. Medium provides the “what you see is what you get” experience to provide the right amount of formatting. According to the website, you cannot change fonts, font color, font size. You can’t insert tables or use strikethrough or even underline. Here’s what you can do: bold, italics, subheads (two levels), links, lists, and block quotes. Anil Dash, cofounder of @thinkup and @activateinc said, “It’s true: Medium has the best web-based editor I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen them all.”

According to the media experts at Medium, “Notes are one of the best parts of Medium and useful for lots of things: They help improve writing. They add valuable supplementary information. They incorporate new viewpoints. They give meaningful feedback to those who write things. And they let people connect over ideas.” Excerpt examples of a note edit:

The collaboration of ideas among others and readers is another main idea of Medium. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Steve Job’s biographer Walter Isaacson said,” My book was formed by being posted and allowing people to make edits.”

“While I was writing The Innovators I posted the chapter about software and received many ideas from people within the technology field. I like that there is a way to collaborate with books online, where the author is the curator and others could contribute their edits. In the end we would split the royalties,” said Isacson.  Isaacson is the bestselling author of the biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein and most recently Steve Jobs.

David Carr, Journalist for the New York Times spoke about his experience while using Medium and said, “The writing tool is intuitive enough to seem psychic. Just when you search for some function, it pops up out of the background. Medium’s most important feature may be all the stuff it leaves out, including endless options for sizing text or positioning pictures.”

Evan Williams, co-founder of Medium said, “Our goal is to make Medium the best platform possible for everyone to share great ideas or stories. This should certainly include those whose profession is doing so.”

The Bottom Line: MEDIUM, a site for serious collaboration and the verification of facts. Tap into the brainpower of MEDIUM, and allow others to comment on your not yet published work. It’s the perfect way to crowd source, fact check, and edit your work all while gaining insight from some of the best minds on any given topic.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.Book-Marketing-Expert.com   or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Authors: Crowd Source Your Next Book Critique – New Service Does the Work

I recently contacted several Amazon and GoodReads reviewers to obtain a blurb for the cover of a new book in a series. Most of the reviews were very complimentary but then I got one back that stopped me in my tracks. In that email the reviewer pointed out some flaws in both the writing and the cover. There was inconsistency in what the writer said and what the cover designer selected. Furthermore the reviewer pointed out that a couple of the characters were ‘formulaic’ and ‘underdeveloped.’ She mentioned a few other things but you get the point. And so did the writer, who thanked me and the reviewer for taking time to point out these flaws and gladly made the changes…before it was published.

The point? Imagine if you could get not one, not five but 50 people to read your book before it was published and give you some feedback? Would you want that? I know that most writers would jump at the opportunity.

Well, there is a new service offered by my friend Clark Covington that offers in effect a ‘crowd sourcing’ critique of your manuscript.
The service called ‘Collective Intel’ doesn’t shield you from the feedback, they encourage you to embrace it, and use it to get better. The service uses a simple equation to create the Collective Intel book score.

Here’s how it works: They’ll have 50 people read your book cover-to-cover. Who are these people? They are avid readers of books. Some are highly qualified editors, English Majors, proofers and even authors. They love to read books and they know a good one when they see one.
Then, they have each person fill out a ten question survey ranking satisfaction of each question. For example, on a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the rate the way the author wrote about the setting in the book? On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the relatable nature of the characters in the book, 1 for you couldn’t understand who they were, and 10 for feeling like you’ve known them all your life?

Then they take your total score (out of 500) and divide it by 50 to get your mean book score, or Collective Intel score. You are then given a total score, and a breakdown of your scores by each question so you can see how you are performing in each area pertinent to being a great writer, like setting, plot, tempo, etc. If you have a collective intel overall score of a 9, you probably have a bestseller on your hands. Conversely if you’re a 3, it might be time to get back to the drawing board. This data is awesome for so many reasons, because it helps you break down what you do well, and what you need to work on, which as I’ve illustrated above is often totally out of sight to hardworking writers.

In addition to creating collective and Question-by-Question mean scores for your book, they also provide you with each survey individually, and the notes from each reviewer on what they liked and what they didn’t when it came to your book, and most importantly what they want you to work on.

Think of this service as the ultimate focus group, a way to get honest feedback on your book, learn to be a better writer, and understand your audience better.

Let’s face it, if you have your friends, family and workplace acquaintances read and comment on your book, are you really going to get the feedback you need to create a best-selling well rounded book? I don’t think so. That’s why this service sounds like it could really be a useful tool for all authors.

Learn more and sign up here