OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
But if you are serious about your career as a writer/author, think about these 5 reasons you need to embrace technology (by which I primarily mean the internet!).
- People are online. Those people could buy your book. Even if you don't like consuming ebooks or on mobile devices, millions of other people do and more join the fun every day. You want to reach them so you need to be online or at least have your information available to be found. If you are engaging on social network sites, providing information on your blog or producing your work in podcast audio format, you are more likely to get readers of your work than if you just wait for a publisher to find you, or bookstores to stock your book.
- It is the best way to build an author platform. The author platform is now critical for everyone except the top authors and famous celebrities. It means people will find you, hopefully engage with you and then be interested in your writing/books or business. The old way of building a platform was through traditional media and PR (which costs money), or through 1:1 contact/networking as well as speaking. All of this is still relevant, but if you also have an online presence you will reach people globally when they are searching or browsing. You can also utilize word of mouth online which can boost your platform much faster and much further.
- The tools have never been easier and they are free. You don't need to know how to program to have a website or blog now. You don't need $20,000 to have a website. You can have one for free. You don't need to know much except how to drive a mouse. Point and click is all you need for most of these tools plus the confidence to try them out. The recent list of the most influential websites in the world included Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, all of which are great tools for platform building and all very easy to use.
- Publishing is changing and ebooks are exploding. Ebooks and ebook readers will become far more common in 2010 as prices come down and people realise how brilliant they are. Readers are avid consumers of books and ebook readers enable faster consumption. You need to get in on the act (even if you don't want one yourself). Enable people to buy your book in any format they like. Check out Smashwords.com if you already have a book, and also author Joe Konrath's Kindle predictions and success. Also check out what publisher Michael Hyatt has to say about the end of publishing as we know it.
- Mobile devices are exploding and the internet is going mobile. You may not know people with an ebook reader, but how many of your friends and family have a mobile device? Most of them? All of them? In fact, 1 billion mobile web users are predicted in 2010. Some of these people absolutely love what you do. They want to know you, connect with you and read what you produce. You need to be online to connect with them. The exciting thing is that this opens up the market to millions of people in countries who can't afford a computer but who can surf the web on a mobile device. Wow! A whole new world of readers.
Check out this video if you need convincing, it's a brilliant look at this mobile, connected world.
How can you embrace technology and not go mad?
Pick a site and start somewhere. Grow from there. That's it! Here are the most influential websites online – they include some great sites to start playing with technology including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
If you are overwhelmed, start with these 3 : Decide on your goals. Set up a blog. Start on Twitter. [Read the whole article here].
Yes, you will get frustrated. You will find it a bit hard to get started. You will have to play around, spend some time with it, and you may get it wrong. But the rewards are endless!
Please do let me know any questions you have on this. I'd like to help you!
Personal note: I am an IT consultant, but not a programmer. I am Gen X and was not brought up with the web or computers in general. I got my first email account at 21. My degrees are in theology and psychology, not IT. I am a geek but I have learnt this stuff, it doesn't come naturally. So this is something I am still learning myself! Come and join me!