Tuesday, June 26, 2012

OK, you're blind - so how do you write, edit and promote??

David, I know you mentioned that you are blind, and that the hero in your previous books was blind as well. What is is like to be a writer who is blind?

For a blind author, clicking and dragging are just two of the terms not likely to be used. A couple things you might hear are, “…my screen reader stopped…help!,” or, “…what do you mean it’s underlined?”

Fortunately, most of the time, those of us who are blind authors are able to flow along pretty smoothly because we’re using a word processing program like Word. The uninitiated observer might be amazed how fast some blind authors can type, fingers flying and the sometimes tinny response of the synthetic speech output indiscernible. I’ve demonstrated my setup to many people over the years, and the most amazing part to them is often making sense of the little robotic voice! I can assure you, it’s quite easy to listen to this computer generated voice, it just takes a little time, and the desire to get the job done.

So how do you type on a keyboard? Have you ever had any typing lessons? I have. And the first thing I was told is, "…no good typist looks at the keyboard." It’s all about teaching your fingers to become familiar with the keyboard and to focus on what you are typing.

And trust me, if you are one of those who hunts and pecks, it’s time to find a blindfold and force yourself to get to know your keyboard a little better!

How about browsing the Internet? Is that problematic? Since the web is an essential component because of research, limited accessibility and other fancy web sites with pop-up boxes and floating banners are a real pain! Most people (sighted) look at any given screen, locate the place on the screen of interest, and click or scroll there and take care of business. It’s not so easy for us. It’s often a technical problem, where pop-ups and moving banners or bars make our screen reader act sporadically or lock up. If a web site doesn’t cause these kind of problems, we often do just fine. In some cases, maybe even better. This is because of the built-in search feature our screen reader’s use, enabling us to search for and land on a word or phrase of interest.

Then there is that huge new area for anyone promoting their books - social media. How accessible is that with your screen reader? The biggest nightmare in our present time revolves around social media sites. Facebook is accessible to a point, using the mobile version, but for the most part, the layout of the site which usually includes images and photos and limited textual content makes these kinds of sites very difficult to use. A new one, Pinterest, is enjoying a surge in popularity among writers, but it is almost entirely inaccessible to blind people since it is largely all about photos and images. Since all authors need to spend time performing self-promotion, which means making use of social media sites, we are at a distinct disadvantage in this realm.

It sounds like you've got technology and can do most of the things sighted authors do, though. All things considered, a blind author is almost on a level playing field with their sighted counterparts. Because there are myriads of promotional paths to follow, hopefully, avoiding the ones which are inaccessible will not prove to be fatal. Deep down, I hold onto two basic thoughts: First, God is overseeing my writing, and this includes promotion. Second, a good story will find an audience. So, my main focus is to pay more attention to the latter point, and let God worry about the former!

~~ Available now! -- A Time To Build --  and The Attache' From Desert Breeze Publishing ~~

(Note from Lynette: David informed me that this blog was not accessible in the current template. I had someone who specializes in accessibility build my website but I had not taken as much care with the blog. You may see me switching between templates for the next few days while David gives me feedback on accessibility.)


  1. Delores Goodrick BeggsJune 26, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    David, I am enjoying A Time To Build, now my latest revisions for my coming book are out of the way. I'm finding it great reading!

  2. First, I LOVE the new look to the blog! Also I bought Leap of Faith and hope to read it this weekend ... Great stuff !!

  3. Hi, Deloris,

    Glad to hear your positive remark about A Time To Build! You will have noticed, it's mostly from the male POV. I'm anxious to know what female readers think about this approach.

    Thanks for your comment!

  4. It is nice to get to know you, Dave. I am fairly new here and am in awe at the authors who are at Desert Breeze Publishing. I am in awe at your accomplishments. You are an inspiration for all of us to never let anything stop us from our dreams.

    Best of luck with lots of readers.

  5. Well, I'm glad to be a source of encouragement to you (and others)! I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, so this is what allows me to keep on pluggin' away!

    With God's help, I'll keep on, and hopefully, I'll improve my writing along the way!