Some things were definitely better in the good old days: apple pie baked from scratch, handwritten thank-you notes, and not being bombarded by Christmas decorations in stores before Halloween! And there are authors who feel writing was easier before the Internet created the need to update social media, maintain an author website, or post on a blog.
But before you start longing for the days of inkwells and manual typewriters, let’s face facts: There are many ways that technology and the Internet have made life so much easier for writers!
Here are nine reasons why authors should be thankful for the Internet:
Easy-to-Find And Inexpensive Supplies. So it’s 1995 and you’re at your bulky Packard Bell desktop with the spiffy Epson printer next to it. You realize you need ink cartridges. You hop in your car and drive to the nearest stationery store, hoping they have the right product. Even if they do, it’s likely you’ll pay top dollar. Today the Internet puts every single office supply store right at your fingertips! Simply type a product code into the search bar and in seconds, you’ll have a list of vendors selling the cartridge. You can order online without spending a cent for a phone call or gas, buy at the cheapest price, and get it delivered quickly. Yay, Internet!
Unlimited Writing Inspiration. The Internet is a candy store of ideas for writers. A quick online search can introduce you to people, locations, experiences, and concepts you’d never have come across prior to the Internet. These virtual “writing prompts” can spark your imagination and enrich your writing.
Readily Available Research. In the olden days, research would require a trip to the local library in the hope that they had the information you needed. Now, you can Google a topic and get all the research sources you need—and more! Best of all, the humungous library that is the Internet is open 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week!
Quick Access To Grammar Guidelines. Wondering whether to use “who” or “whom” in a particular sentence, or how to hyphenate “blue and white striped wallpaper”? Before the Internet, you’d be lucky if you had a style guide like the Chicago Manual of Style sitting on your desk. Now the Chicago Manual of Style is searchable online (with subscription), and there are a plethora of grammar sites and message boards where you can find instant, authoritative answers at no cost.
Cost-Effective Correspondence With Editing Services. Once you complete a draft of your work, you might want to have your writing reviewed by a professional editing service. The Internet gives you the opportunity to virtually search the globe for just the right match. Pre-Internet, you would have been limited to the local yellow pages, and your drafts would have been hand-delivered or mailed back and forth—an expensive proposition. E-mail makes the entire process faster and more affordable.
Self-Publishing Is Easier Than Ever. With the advent of the Internet, ANYONE can easily and inexpensively self-publish his or her work as an e-book, on a website, or via print-on-demand. Just be aware of the industry-wide rules regarding previously published writing.
Your Potential Audience Is Everyone Online. Back in the day, your readers were limited to the people who purchased your book or who bought the magazine that contained your essay, story, or poem. Now, the almost three BILLION Internet users worldwide have access to your work—whether you have an E-book for sale on Amazon or a weekly blog entry on your own website. That’s astounding!
Low-Cost Marketing And Advertising. Advertising was once limited to expensive print, radio, and television ads. Now, authors can promote their writing using websites, social networks, and blogs—less expensive, far-reaching alternatives to traditional ads.
Getting Paid Is Fast And Easy. If you’re selling your book directly to your readers, the Internet has a variety of payment services that provide instant transactions.
So, while the Internet may have its drawbacks and distractions, there’s still plenty for writers to be thankful for!
Photo by Alex W McCabe
QUESTION: Are you thankful to be writing in the Internet age? Or do you wish we could go back to the old days before the Web?