WHAT? I’m not a loner? But . . . .
Many here know the story of a grade school Radine who hid in her closet to read while her mother entertained friends at her 8th Birthday party. (Mom, when she found me, insisted I join the party.)
My disinclination to enjoy large group events has persisted through the years–even in high sch0ol and college where a date to a party or dance with one nifty guy (and of course there were several of those over a number of years) did not constitute interacting on a loud level with a raucous group outside my personal sphere.
It isn’t that I don’t like people. I am just content, most of the time, to enjoy very small groups, the companionship of my husband, or my own company. Anti-social? I don’t know, it’s okay if you call it that.
However, I do know this, that the Internet has changed interpersonal connections just as it has changed so much else in the writing world.
I wrote for magazines and the news for a number of years before I settled down to write and sell my first book. After that, even before the Internet, publicity needs did dictate I do public signings and programs. Okay, I was focused on my special interest, talking about that, and relatively comfortable in my slot.
By the time my mystery series featuring amateur detectives Carrie McCrite and Henry King was making its way, one book at a time, into the public, the Internet was beginning to be a factor in publicity. But, still interested mostly in personal appearances and hampered by slow rural Internet connection, I was similarly slow to adopt extensive Internet publicity. For an additional time I remained largely safe in my private world.
And now? As much as anyone, I depend on Internet connection to the “outside” world of writers and readers. This is only partly for publicity purposes.
There are a number of lists and groups connecting mystery fans on the Internet, plus many other groups with members involved in writing everything from enlightened poetry to–porn. We are a truly varied profession. Along the way I have discovered it is very difficult to even think of pursuing my career without these multiple connections to people I will probably never meet face-to-face. (Hm, maybe this is rather like hiding in my closet?)
Via these connections and through reading online lists of comments, I learn what is going on in the writing profession: Who read and commented on this book or the other; what list or group or firm made decisions possibly detrimental or beneficial to publishers, bookstores, writers and/or readers; how other authors are promoting; what conventions and conferences are coming up–and on and on. All the information I read keeps me connected to my profession and its news.
We need the information pouring into our computers to help us make informed decisions about our work as authors and the next steps in our careers. Therefore, like it or not, we must pay attention to our larger group and our world. We are, and must be, joiners and participants and learners. We need connections.
Are you a loner? What do you think?