Remember last week when I told you that I worked with an editor who I got along with really well? Can you believe that I never met her? Can you also believe that I’ve never talked to her on the phone, even? Yep… Our relationship was completely Web based, and she was great.
I got online in 1996, finally, after 10 years of owning a computer. It was a Compaq DeskPro that we bought in 1986 for $3,500. Can you believe that? It had an amber screen and the OS was DOS. No Windows had been invented yet. Everything I did involved some bit of code, and it worked OK for me, since all I did was write on it. We had a program that I used called “PFS First Choice.” How funny to think of it now.
Anyway, when my daughter was born, I told you how we struggled financially, so it wasn’t until she was older that I was able to trade my old and broken POS for new hotness. We got an IBM Aptiva, which was a mere $2,500, and I thought I was in heaven. Working on a Windows computer was like, so amazing to me.
And I got online. Dial-up, of course. 28K modem.
You couldn’t do much really. No videos could be watched because it was so danged slow. If you’re too young to remember this, let me tell you, even though it was archaic by today’s standards, it was still great to me at that time. Now, I had a way to connect with other writers and to find writing work! I was sure it would be much easier.
Except… Publishers were slow to adapt the new technology. So, I would scour the Web for ads from publishers hoping to land some work. I remember Craig’sList being one of my stops on the journey. And I found sites like Writers.net, which is still around today. I put my info up there about the books I’d written, the magazines and such and I did that on any other site I could find.
And I went through my “work” list sites day after day after day, and I was persistent. I never stopped trying to find someone who would let me write for them, and show them what I could do.
Low and behold… Didn’t I get an email from an editor?
She told me they were starting a biography series and did I want to write the first one? Heck, yes, I did. I didn’t care what age group it was for… I’d figure that out. And I just knew that if I had a chance, I’d find the magic to open the door. That book happens to be The Dalai Lama, which was published in 2002. I wrote three more books for her.
So, you see… Put yourself out there. If you’ve done some work, let people know it. Editors and publishers do look for talent on the Web. Be persistent and never, ever, ever give up. And who knows? You could be the next email on their list.