A few months ago, I discovered the fabulous playground known as Face Book. A place for friends to gather and buy each other cyber drinks, go green, and send a host of outrageous gifts back and forth. Aside from throwing the odd sheep now and then, I love to send and receive little treasures from the Writer's Toolbox—time to write, copy paper, a million fans, a book contract, an agent,... How fabulous is that?
And then I thought, there is one thing missing...the internet. Imagine the old days, those wonderfully romanticized images of Eric Blair huddled over his crappy desk in a dark hovel, alienating his wife and cutting himself off from all human contact so he can scratch out 1984 only to die completely broke and under-appreciated. Okay, maybe not so hot. Of course then you have Ernest Hemingway, always the life of the party, constantly trying to prove his manhood by running with the bulls and heading out to the high seas to hook a marlin...until he shoots himself in the head.
- #5. Research: No matter what kind of book you write, whether it's historical fiction, fantasy, or the edgiest anthem to modern teen angst, you do research. If you're old (like me), you might not be in touch with what an EMO is or get the latest fads or slang. Hit the internet. And even more practical, who's publishing your kind of stuff or representing it, or reading it? The list is endless.
- #4. Speaking of queries: Not only can you research the publishing industry and all its fabulous fodder, but you can submit via email or online forms. Oooooh...and get the answers that much faster. And even better, you can check your email 150 times a day in the privacy of your own home...no more skulking to the mailbox, out in the open, for all your non-writer neighbors to gawk at.
- #3. Distraction: Hallelujah! When you get that 247th rejection on your teenage vampire/spy/beauty queen novel, you can get lost in a variety of online games and other mindless distractions. Of course this cuts both ways. Instead of working through that writer's block in the middle of your 10th revision, you can waste time visiting 100 different blogs. You might find inspiration...then again, you might find out that everyone else is having more fun than you—or not. Best to set up a daily routine and limit the distractions (can you tell it's working for me?)
- #2. Community: Voila! There it is. THE BIG ONE. This is the thing that keeps us from pulling the trigger. We have FRIENDS. Face book friends, LJ friends, Blue Board friends, Blogger friends,... There is a whole world of human contact out there. Okay, maybe not exactly human contact, but it's real and active and something we come to count on. When your non-writer friends have no clue what a hook is or what a galley looks like or what the hell a good synopsis looks like, you have cyber friends. People at all stages of their writing careers who are willing to show you their bloody wounds and battle scars. They'll commiserate with you in your failures and celebrate like no one else in your successes. And when you travel two states over for a conference, they'll even welcome you into their home, feed you, and haul you around even though they've never seen your face before. Because the know you from the internet. I know, that could sound a little creepy, but children's writers are a different breed. They understand compassion, empathy, and good old cathartic key-banging. I don't know what I would do without my connections (in case you missed it, that was a pun...okay, not a very good one, but...).
- #1. Where to find Your Book! Yep, the internet will have the Publisher's Marketplace announcement of your deal, your ecstatic declaration on the Blue Boards and on your blog, and the cover image on Amazon (shhhh...we still support the independent book sellers!).