Katie: I’d like to welcome to my blog today e-book guru MaAnna Stephenson. MaAnna has many years of technical writing, web design and marketing behind her. She has produced a new instructional series entitled Just the FAQs, the ultimate user-friendly guides to the technical aspects of internet marketing and promotion.
MaAnna, please tell us how many Just the FAQs books you have and how you came to deciding to write these instructional manuals.
MaAnna: At the moment, there are five books with more on the way. I had taken a break from my web design business during the four years of extensive research for The Sage Age – Blending Science with Intuitive Wisdom. When I was ready to start creating my online marketing campaign for that book, Web 2.0 had become all the rage. So, I had to do a lot of catching up to do. I was appalled at the lack of good documentation on the internet and, as a tech writer, began to make my own. My editor asked a question about her blog and I sent her the documentation. She became very excited and suggested that I make these resources available to others. That’s how Just the FAQs books came to be.
Katie: What about your background makes you uniquely qualified to write these books.
MaAnna: As an electronics engineer, I’ve had the opportunity to hone my technical writing skills by creating a variety of materials including engineering change orders, process documentation, training manuals for technicians, and end user manuals. Each requires using different language and layout techniques to make the material easy to understand. For over a decade I was the Web designer and director for several non-profit agencies and small businesses. I’m also a composer and wood carver. This unique combination of experience and skills gives me the ability to translate complex technical concepts into layman’s terms and make them appealing to more creatively-minded folks.
Katie: You currently have five Just the FAQs books: a Quick Step Guide, Blogs, RSS Feeds, Web Sites, and Articles. Which is your favorite and why?
MaAnna: I’ve enjoyed creating the entire series. It’s the first time I’ve been able to bring fun graphics into my technical writing. The books contain color graphics along with other colors and symbols to help folks find the most important information quickly and follow the step-by-step guides very easily.
Katie: Each of these books are written very plainly for the non-geek, and are exceedingly well organized. Did you use the same organizational structure for each book? If so, what?
MaAnna: I used the same structure for the blogs, RSS feeds, and article directories books. They are mainly step-by-step guides that give you a additional information so you can understand what each setting choice is and how you can make the best use of it. The website book is in a prose format and details the information you need to be aware of when creating a site, as well as the worksheets I provide to my clients that will help you collect the content for each page and create a site that actually works for you to promote your book. It also contains information that will help you avoid the expensive pitfalls I saw some of my clients experience on their first site.
Katie: What purpose did you have in mind when you created these books?
MaAnna: I’m a big believer in education and the books are written to help you become a confident site owner and create an online presence that gets results. Many creative folks are just not wired to tackle the technical aspects of developing an online marketing campaign. Just the FAQs books and classes dramatically reduce the learning curve and make it a pleasant process. Using these resources, you will know what you are doing and why and, you’ll know how to get the most out of the tools.
Katie: What should people who are interested in buying these e-books expect in the book?
MaAnna: An explanation of what each online tool is and how you can get the most out of it. Plus, step-by-step guidance in setting up a blog with RSS feeds, starting an article marketing campaign, and creating a website that gets attention.
Katie: What is the primary way they help readers?
MaAnna: Education. The Internet is full of gurus offering advice about how to promote by using a blog, but very few folks are telling authors how to create a blog in the first place. I believe the best way to help is to ensure that folks feel comfortable using these online tools and then build on that knowledge in a step-by-step fashion. That’s why I developed classes that give folks exercises in using the technology and help build up their skills. The classes also offer advanced tips and tricks that are not found in the books.
Katie: If you would want a reader of this blog to understand one thing about your e-books, what would it be?
MaAnna: Help with the techie aspects of online marketing is available in language that you can understand.
Katie: Thanks, MaAnna, for being a guest today on my blog. Her series can be picked up at http://www.justthefaqs.net/.