21st Century Classroom

When I started writing, I idolized writers like John Updike, Erica Jong, Raymond Carver, Margaret Atwood, and Alice Hoffman. I still do. I have always loved to write, and when I started writing those first tentative novels, I assumed my career, if I was lucky enough to have one, would be something like they had. On a much less grand scale. But it would work the way their careers did. They wrote the book and their agent and publisher and publicity agent did the rest.

That is all I wanted. Just to write. Very 20th century thinking. Little by little, just about the turn of the century, I became aware that publishing was changing. I was right in the middle of what seemed like a revolution. I blogged so I wouldn’t be blown away by the new winds. In real time, I found it difficult to keep up. I still mostly modeled myself after literary writers, publishing stories and poems in magazines. But my novels weren’t literary. They weren’t romance or any other genre, either. I saw genres come and go and stay way too long and still could not find a place in the tornado of novel publishing.

Finally, an editor took me in hand and showed me exactly how to write a romance. She had me cut a subplot, create a meaty conflict, make the hero more alpha, soften the heroine, let the reader in to their emotional lives. Then, after I’d done all this, she offered me a book contract. That book contract happened when I thought I’d finally found my tribe among the indie contingent.

So I decided to go ahead and self-publish my indie novel (which is not a romance) to Kindle while signing a more traditional contract with The Wild Rose Press. The first thing I noticed is that my indie novel went public way before the traditional, still unpublished novel. I like the speed and ease of indie publishing. I don’t like making my own covers, promoting my own books, or formatting my manuscripts to Kindle.

One thing these two deals have in common is that promotion is all down to me. I’m slowly learning the marketing ropes with the help of a wonderful community of indie writers I have found on Twitter. Yes, Twitter! Who knew? Not me. I’m still learning. And I’m learning mostly from indie writers I found on Twitter, my 21st century classroom.

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  1. The thought just came to me that writers now need more than a critique group to support their writing ~ they would now benefit with support for all the aspects of publishing and marketing, too. Maybe Twitter is one answer to that need.


  2. Lots of people shudder at the idea of adding another social media outlet to their already full computer lives, but Twitter is great for learning. The writers there share all kinds of blogs, articles, and information. It’s a warm and helpful environment, if a bit hectic at times.


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