2018 Festival Author Andy Boyle to Discuss Digital Storytelling

Storytelling in the Digital Age

By South Dakota Magazine

Editor's Note: This feature story was originally printed in our 2018 South Dakota Festival of Books Guide, which was produced by South Dakota Magazine. Download a free copy here or by clicking the button below. 

Andy Boyle Featured in Writers' Support Track

Do you want to be a writer?

Chicago author Andy Boyle has a simple bit of advice for you.

“Put your butt in the chair and write. You don’t get better as a writer if you’re not actively writing,” he says. “If you’re a busy human and have to run around a lot, write in your phone. Multiple chapters of my books have been first written in my iPhone’s Notes app.”

Boyle, part of the writers’ support track, is a first-time presenter at the 16th annual South Dakota Festival of Books, which will be held Sept. 20-23, 2018, with events in Brookings and Sioux Falls. Other tracks include fiction, non-fiction, literature, children’s/YA, history/tribal writing, and poetry.

Speed Wins

Boyle learned the advantages of speed during his days as a newspaper reporter.

“I try and slam something out as fast as possible, the roughest of rough drafts,” he says. “You just try and bang something out, because you need something on paper before you can make it better.”

A cooling-off period and revisions follow, but that’s natural because “nobody ever writes anything of length that’s perfect on their first try.” Now director of platform architecture at Axios, “someone who builds the systems people write stories on,” Boyle is coming to the festival to talk about the changing nature of storytelling in our digital age.

Digital storyteller Andy Boyle will be featured at the 2018 South Dakota Festival of Books.

Digital storytelling is a fast-growing medium as online publishing becomes increasingly prevalent. Andy Boyle of Axios will discuss the changing nature of telling stories in the digital age. 

Viral Blog Post Led to Book

It’s something he experienced personally when his 2015 blog post, “What I Learned Not Drinking for Two Years,” went viral. Its success led to a book, “Adulthood for Beginners: All the Life Secrets Nobody Bothered to Tell You.”

A second book, about “health, fitness and weight loss and why it’s all so dang hard,” is scheduled for release next summer. What’s it like to go viral?

“It’s definitely weird,” Boyle says. “A giant man ran up to me on Michigan Avenue in Chicago and gave me a hug. A woman in my building stopped me and asked, ‘Are you that guy?’ But I think the best part was the kind notes from folks who read what I wrote and said it helped them.”

A great part of Boyle’s appeal is his open and friendly writing style, qualities he shares with one of his favorite digital storytellers, Nicole Cliffe.

“She’s one of the best things about Twitter,” he says. “Part of what she does that’s so great is sharing not only great writing and stories she finds online, but also being open about her own life, and asking her followers to share stories about their own lives, which she then amplifies to her audience. It’s like sitting around a campfire and hearing people tell amazing tales all day.”

More About Andy Boyle

Andy Boyle is a writer, technologist and speaker whose work has appeared in many publications and, in the case of one project, was cited in the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. His first book, “Adulthood for Beginners,” was described by Library Journal as “the perfect gift for a high school or college graduate” and by the Associated Press as “darn funny.”

When not working on his next book about the challenges of a healthy lifestyle, he guides major technology decisions at Axios.

More About the South Dakota Festival of Books

To read more about Andy Boyle and other authors at the 2018 South Dakota Festival of Books, and for scheduling information, click below to visit our website listing everything you need to know about the 2018 Brookings and Sioux Falls event.