10 Ways a Writer Can Take Advantage of Today’s Technology

10 Ways a Writer Can Take Advantage of Today’s Technology

I LOVE technology! It's made my life so much easier as a writer…among other things. I remember the days of writing my novels on yellow, lined legal pads or typewriter (yes, I know, I'm dating myself) and then came the awesome personal computer: My first being a Tandy 1000. Sure, it was DOS based and monochrome, but HOLY COW, no more white-out or retyping a page!

Then the development of the Internet and WHAM! the world of writing exploded in so many ways. The best part about the Internet, as far as I'm concerned with writing, is E-MAIL SUBMISSIONS!! The days of packaging up that 250+ page manuscript are over! YAY! The latest technologies of tablets and eBook readers just makes my head spin when I think of all the possibilities! Apple announced it's two newest features for the iPad, and it inspired me to write this blog entry to chat about ten things writers can do to take advantage of today's technology to either write or promote their writing. E-mail, computers, and the Internet in general are givens, so I've thrown out some options that incorporate those. Here they are (in no particular order):

  1. Blogging – An obvious one, since you're here reading this blog entry. Blogging is a great way to put samples of your writing out there, but also promote what you write. It's a nice, personal platform to announce to the world your wonderful talents! Not only that, but blog tours are a fabulous way to get around without catching something! (What?! You know, colds, flu, etc.)  Check out some of the more popular blog web sites: www.WordPress.com, www.Blogger.com, www.TypePad.com, and www.LiveJournal.com. Most are pretty easy to set up and customize, with templates and color schemes that fit any personality.
  2. Resources – Never have an out-of-date dictionary, thesaurus or etymology reference ever again. Not only that, just visiting your favorite search engine (e.g., Google, Yahoo!, Ask.com, etc.) gives you access to MILLIONS of pages of information. Be sure to check SEVERAL sources on a topic, though, as not all information out there is correct. Of course, the amazing Wikipedia.org is one of my favs, but I still check other sources. My favs: Dictionary.com & Etymonline.com.
  3. Self-Publishing – If you have a personal pet project that you'd like to see published and share with family and friends OR if you're brave enough to put your work out there and do all the marketing and promoting for your book to generate sales, then self-publishing may be an option for you AND it's very inexpensive thanks to current technology. CreateSpace.com and Lulu.com are a couple of popular Print On Demand (POD) options that make self publishing not only affordable, but it looks pretty darn professional, too. My mother and I self-published our children's book Where Art Thou Unicorn through CreateSpace.com (she did the artwork) with GREAT success. I'll be setting up book signings in the local area over the next few months.
  4. eBooks – As writers, we must do LOTS of reading…for research, to develop our craft, read what we love to write (so we're on top of the current market), and just for plain fun! As such, eReaders help me carry lots of books around and not have to put strain on my back. Some of my favorite eBooks sites are eReader.com, The Wild Rose Press (I'm not biased, I swear!), Ellora's Cave, AllRomanceBooks.com, More importantly, for the writer, electronic books opened up the way for small presses to open their virtual doors. That translates into more opportunities for us to get published! Personally, I think it's one of the best ways to break into the industry (that's another blog post). Don't forget, you can get your favorite writing magazine on your eReader, such as Poets & Writers & New York Times Book Review.
  5. Networking – Writing is a lonely occupation–save for the constant companionship of our characters' voices inside our heads–and keeping in contact with other writers, readers and people of the industry is important. Why? So we don't develop our stories in a silo and wax clichΓ©. The Internet has allowed us to find networking venues for writer's associations, conventions and conferences, writers groups, social networking (such as Twitter, Facebook & MySpace) and mental health professionals (hee hee). Here are some of my favorites: Meetup.com, WriterSpace, Yahoo! Groups, Writing.com, WritingForums,
  6. Reviews – Writers, take advantage of the plethora of review sites out there! Readers want to know if a book is good or bad before they buy it and there are so many resources for them to visit in the way of book review sites. Since I'm a romance novelist, my resources mentioned here are for that genre…however, you can easily visit your favorite search engine and look up review sites for your genre. My Favs: Romantic Times, Eye On Romance, Night Owl Reviews, FreshFiction, Between Your Sheets, and OMG there are so many more!
  7. Writing Web Sites – This deserves a category unto itself. I won't list a ton of them here – just the ones I frequent – but visit your favorite search engine and look up “writing web sites” (or click on the heading for this item) and I'm sure you'll have plenty to visit and decide for yourself which ones appeal to you. My favs: Writing.com, FreelanceWriting.com, WriterSpace.com, Writer's Digest Community,
  8. Freelance Writing Online – Getting paid to write these days is easier than ever. There are soooo many web sites that are looking for article writers on specific subjects, how-tos and many more (e.g., eHow & Suite101 are a couple). This site gives you a whole list you can check out: 101 Best Web Sites for the Freelance Writer.
  9. Contests – Contests are a great way to get your work out there and viewed by industry professionals and award bragging rights boost your credibility as a writer. Though this venue has always been around, the electronic age has paved an easier–and less-expensive–way of submitting your material. Writer's Digest has a slew of them–short story, self-published, annual, poetry. Visit the Freelance Writing web site to see a long list of other writing competitions in which you can participate.
  10. Writing Challenges – Giving yourself a challenge on a regular basis helps you keep your skills honed and pushes you to do better. Here are a few writing web sites I like to visit and take on their challenges: Write Anything [Fiction] Friday, A Day in the Life Of…. Just search for “weekly writing challenge” or “monthly writing challenge” in your favorite search engine.

I know I didn't get them all, but that's a good start. Do you have a tip or resource for writers? What did I miss? Leave a comment to share with others!

That's my two pence…

16 thoughts on “10 Ways a Writer Can Take Advantage of Today’s Technology

  1. HI, Gina! Awesome post. As an author of paranormal, fantasy, or historical romance, my NETBOOK has increased my productivity. Why? Because I can sit, write, world build, and research something online in a blink by minimizing/maximizing a window… Say I need to know a name of a location, style of clothing, choose a surname from a culture, etc., I just pop into the internet and open google. It’s that easy. No more hunting down a book among the thousands I own. I actually am more productive researching this way. You solve your detail issue in a story in a few seconds and continue plodding forward. πŸ™‚ ~Skhye

    1. Hey, Skhye!

      YES! Isn’t it a beautiful thing!! We have a lot in common about what we write and I totally agree. Not only do we not have to search through volumes of tomes at the libraries and in our own book collections, we don’t have to purchase as many books for our home collections. Of course, I end up doing that anyway because I do LOVE to have books on hand. I LOVE my eBooks, but there are a few I love to hold. *sigh*

      Thanks for posting a comment, hun! By the way…we may have a friend in common. Does Genella deGrey ring a bell??

      Arial πŸ˜‰

  2. I’ve been at WriterSpace before, but never spent much time there. Can any author join or is it all about those who are pubbed with the NY houses?

    There are so many resources out there. More than a lot of us have time to connect with. I love learning about all the different places other authors like to ‘visit’ and ‘hang out’. One of my favs is Savvyauthor.com – a fabulous group with a whole lot of knowledge to share.


    1. I don’t believe you can join WriterSpace.com like some of the other resources I posted. This is more of a place to go to keep current with what the big houses are publishing. However, from what I understand, you CAN get listed on their site for your books for a fee, but some of the fees are like $100 a month. I believe this is more of a reader site for the free stuff and services for authors (web design and book promo).

      I agree on Savvyauthor.com! GREAT place and workshops!

      Arial πŸ˜‰

  3. Hi Arial,

    What a helpful post (and website)! I’m a fellow Wild Rose author who is still struggling to make the most out of technology. A question – how do you handle information overload? I tend to get overwhelmed by social media, even though I realize I should make better use of it.

    Your Twitter posts are great. I signed up for Twitter months ago and figure maybe it’s a good idea to actually start using it:)

    I look forward to reading more of your work. And thanks again for the extremely informative post!

    Pamela Loewy
    Author of SAVING JEMMA, Romantic Suspense from The Wild Rose Press

    1. Hey, Pamela!!

      GREAT question! I told Velda, “One byte at a time, hun! One byte at a time!” I know it’s very overwhelming and there is so much to do, but just take it slow. It does take time to build a presence on the social networks if you have a life and other things that occupy your time (like writing and revisions). Start with Facebook (FB). There may be a little time up front you need to spend to get familiar and find friends. But once you find a few friends, their friends (who are also usually your friends) end up friending you and then…we’re all friends! LOL

      When you friend a couple of people on FB, you can then look at the people they have on their friend’s list and you may find friends you know and you can friend them, too. That’s kinda how that works. Then, once you’re up on FB, you can actually link your FB profile to a Twitter profile and any posts you make on FB will AUTOMATICALLY get tweeted on Twitter. In essence, you update both at the same time you update one.

      You can take it even further (at least with WordPress) and have your blog connected to both FB and Twitter and BOTH of those will get updated whenever you make a post on your blog. Again…one-stop shop for all your posting needs.

      If this is all still confusing, drop me a private note through the groups and I can help you further.

      Good luck and hang in there!!

      Arial πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks, Sandra! Yes, CreateSpace.com is an awesome resource and especially since it’s an Amazon.com company…which means your book will automatically get listed in the Amazon.com database and is available for sale to all it’s millions of customers. No kidding!! My next project will be “How to get noticed on Amazon.com” since there are so many books. How do you get your own book noticed? That’s what I aim to find out! I’ll post what I learn on my blog.

      Arial πŸ˜‰

  4. I’m a typewriter baby too, and am trying so hard to learn online presence, but there’s so many sites and so little time. Thanks for all the links. I admire you for your tenacity in listing and linking to so many. Back to learning to swim in this new pool.

  5. I am SO glad you’ve joined the ranks of the Roses at The Wild Rose Press! Much easier to pick your brain about all the “geek speak” I don’t understand. Great post, my friend. Keep’m coming!

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