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Writing the NET
by Kathryn Lay
I was dragged onto the information highway,
pulled from an ancient, windowless, mouseless, and internet-less computer. I was
perfectly content to stay where I was, even though I spent countless hours
searching for help and not knowing where to turn while researching for my books,
articles and stories.
"Your writing sales are going to explode," my
writing friends said. "Just wait until you connect to the Internet."
I had long been known as a marketing whiz with
my writing. I couldn't see how the Internet would make it any better.
Yet, in the less than two years I've been on the
internet, my sales have more than doubled, my writing income in six months
doubling from the whole of the previous year.
Are you new to the Internet? Been here awhile
and wondering how it can help you as a writer? Are you unpublished and just
trying to find a way to get started? If you're reading this, the information may
be old hat. Then again, it may open a new world of opportunities to your career.
Here are 5 ways the Internet can help published and unpublished
Although I still love going to the library, I've
found that researching through the Internet is much faster and gives me a
broader scope of research opportunities.
When I recently did an article on assignment
from a major woman's magazine, I was required to interview experts. Through the
organizations website, I found phone numbers as well as sending emails to find
the contacts I needed. Their website was loaded with information that I had
immediate access to, rather than waiting for days or weeks for brochures to be
mailed. My workload was cut and my experts more accessible.
If you write only what you know, you're fairly
limited to the wonderful world of your imagination and interest. When writing a
story on a specific topic where my knowledge is limited, I find more information
than I can ever use while searching the Internet.
Cost of Mailing:
Beyond the initial setting up of an office, a
writer's main and constant expense is the cost of postage. Sending manuscripts
and queries with return envelopes can get expensive. Many print magazines are
now willing to accept submissions and queries through email. Although I have
submitted much more this year, I have also spent less in postage and
Getting Guidelines and Finding New
In the past, I have written to magazines, asking
for guidelines and copies. I've had to include enough postage and a return
envelope to cover these items.
Now, my Guidelines Notebook overflows with
downloaded guidelines and magazine information. Both print and online magazines
often have archive issues where I can study what's been done before with each
Although there are some areas on the web that
will publish anyone's writing and not pay, there are also many paying online
magazines and writing contests. By receiving such magazines as Writing for
DOLLARS!, Inklings*, and others, you will find lots of information
on new markets.
By submitting manuscripts and queries through
email, not only are my postage expenses lowered, but I have received quicker
responses from editors than I did before my internet connection.
I have become spoiled at the fast turnaround. In
the past, I've waited months before response on a query or manuscript. With
email submissions, I often hear back within days or weeks, sometimes, even
hours. Recently, I was shocked to hear about an online magazine, look it up,
check past issues, email a manuscript, and receive an acceptance all within an
Even print magazines and book editors will often
respond through email when I have placed my email address alongside my phone
The online magazines for writers are plenty. I
know, I've written for most of them. They provide me with dozens of market
possibilities each month.
There are also writer e-groups where I can meet
other writers. I am on lists for children's writers, writers who are mothers,
writers for fantasy and science fiction, and religious writers. Many of my
recent sales have been due to market information passed among writers on these
list-serves. The information is recent and often straight from an editor or
writer who is dealing with a publisher at that moment.
I have met writers who have passed my name onto
their editors. I have made friendships with online writers who share my passion
for writing and willingness to help one another succeed.
The Internet has changed my writing life in many
ways. I publish more online than off, these days. I spend less time at the post
office or library and more time on the computer. But now, I have more time to
actually write and to play with my daughter.
My friends were right when they said I'd burn
rubber down the information highway. I only hope I'm not pulled over for
© Copyright 2000, Kathryn Lay
Kathryn Lay is the author of 26 books for children, over 2000 articles, essays and stories for children and adults and the book from AWOC.COM Publishing, The Organized Writer is a Selling Writer. Check out her website at www.kathrynlay.com and email through firstname.lastname@example.org
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