I admit it. I’m a writing dinosaur. No, it’s true. At my first job at a daily newspaper they were still using slugs and hot type. Not sure what those are? Not to worry. Like Tara, they’re gone with the wind. The paper quickly switched to a computerized version -- read here a computer the size of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey swallowing up the entire production room -- and eventually to a half-breed version, a neat little machine that replaced our IBM Selectrics.
My point in sharing all this is the exponential speed in which publishing has evolved. In fact, it was fodder for discussion at the recent Killer Nashville writing conference I attended. To wit, back-and-forth discussion concerning Kindles, Nooks, et al, replacing the traditional book. Consensus? Content will always remain the same but the delivery system will continue to change. I mean who would want to curl up with a clay tablet or scroll today? Really.
And as I venture into the brave new world of e-publishing and digital-everything, I’m hitting a steep learning curve. I recently used an e-publishing site for my first novel “Jane” and found that I had formatted every blessed paragraph incorrectly. Then there’s Smashwords. Don’t get me started. I’m still trying to format my second book using their Style Guide and have totally massacred formatting for normal Word documents.
Even though I find it tedious to plow through and learn formatting issues, what I do find exciting are the many avenues available to promote and market my book. I never knew such a vibrant collection of networking contacts existed until I actually started digging. The sites are like connecting tunnels in a subterranean world of promotion, one leading to the next and next, such as http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/board,60.0.html or http://www.bookrooster.com/for-authors/?ap_id=wwm or http://bookblogs.ning.com/.
In fact, I’m posting on this site because a friend told me about SavvyAuthors and said -- try here.
I’m sure for many of you, e-publishing and attending sites are ho-hum and as the kids would say, “so yesterday.” But for me, it’s transitioning into an arena that smacks of Star Trek as I take my writing fate into my own hands on this Sisyphean-publishing journey. Despite the technical end of the industry today, what I do hold in good stead are the 30-plus years of honed seat-in-the-chair discipline of writing for hours for newspapers and magazines and meeting deadlines. Those skills are transferable as I now, at semi-retirement, am finally focusing on my novels.
Even with those traits firmly in place, however, I am faced with yet another dilemma. The many hours required to promote my book via social media -- Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc., and to research other marketing sites -- when do I find time to write? I’m hoping to strike a balance down the road. For now, if only I could find a computerized HAL version that says aloud when I start to write something cliché and sophomoric, “Just what do you think you’re doing, Marielena?”
Marielena Zuniga has been writing for way too long. Still, she’s proud to have won numerous writing awards, recently placing 12th among thousands of entries in the Inspirational/Spiritual category of Writers Digest Magazine’s 80th annual writing competition. Her first novel “Jane” is a contemporary re-telling of the classic Jane Eyre and is currently available for Kindle on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Jane-ebook/dp/B005V12YVG and will be available for Nooks and I-Pads in the near future. She lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where she enjoys the company of wonderful friends and great books.
*Edited by Teresa Crumpton*