I am a bit schizophrenic concerning the virtue of being online as an author. I just completed my first mystery novel; created and published electronically, resulting in a print and kindle version. This experience was vastly different from two other books I published over fifteen years ago using traditional publishers. This is what I have learned.
- You are part of a 24/7 author cafe. I like to imagine that I am sitting at a table drinking coffee in a cafe in Paris. By using social media (twitter, Pinetrist, FB, Instagram, etc.) I can connect with fellow authors all over the world. These new friends inspire, motivate, teach, and nurture me and my fellow authors, as we move through the different phases of writing our novels.
- You can re–define and banish “writer’s block.” I have a personal strategy that removes the notion of “writer’s block” from my consciousness. When I sit at the computer to write, and find myself stopping or slowing down–I open several other windows and research various aspects of my novel. For example, with just a click, I can find information on places, people, current events, and how to murder someone without being caught. These productive distractions keep me focused on the task of thinking and writing.
- You have a buffet of
Personal Professors at your fingertips. Authors are constantly trying to perfect their craft. Through website tutorials, newsletters, blogs, and messaging, I have the ability to access a range of information and feedback. This provides the ongoing support that enhances my ability to learn about the art of writing and telling stories.
- You are the mistress of your own product. Self-publishing has given me control over the pacing, publishing, and creative aspects of my novel. I am in charge of marketing, which has forced me to become intimate with the plethora of amazing tools available to promote my book.
This leads to some of the challenges of being an author online.
- Learning to manage all of the bright, shiny distractions. Being connected to the world of authors, and author promoters, and readers expands my universe but it also means that every second I can be distracted by a new tweet, post, blog, etc. Learning to dedicate uninterrupted time for writing (without checking email, twitter, & FB) is essential and a discipline I am still learning.
- The age conundrum. If you are older than 30, it is likely you have wisdom, and years of interesting experiences and stories to feed your creative muse. On the other hand, you are likely to be at the end of the line when it comes to mastering the “newest” technologies that multiply like rabbits. My strategy is to have a few “young” friends, who can guide m
e through this maze, and help me prioritize my usage of technology, while patiently assisting me in realizing my limitations. I cannot master everything, so I must make strategic decisions about the technologies that fit me, and the people that are likely to read my novel.
- Relationship, relationship, relationship. Writing and telling stories is based on observing people and incidents, and becoming intimate with the ways humans relate to one another. Keeping my eyes and ears open, and venturing away from my computer is just as essential as the Internet resources that are so abundant. If I am not meeting new people, experiencing new activities, and traveling to new places I am starving my muse, and I know she will wither and die. So I have learned to love this new world of exploding technological possibilities as well as to cherish living fully.