Monday, June 18, 2007

Ah, the Internet

Isn't the Internet amazing? When I wrote my first nonfiction book (The OS/2 Power User's Reference: From OS/2 2.0 through Warp) way back in 1995, I had to communicate with my editor by mail. (I had email, but he didn't.) He snail-mailed me this huge package with galley proofs to edit by hand and mail back to him. What a pain! (And the postage costs weren't trivial, either.)

Fast-forward to 2007. Now I e-mail my manuscripts to the editor, she reads them online, emails me the contracts, and we do all the editing and other necessary communications by email. By going all-electronic, we managed to reduce the editing process for The Mars Imperative from two months to two weeks. I expect the same to be true for The Tesserene Imperative (coming soon to bookstores near you). This means the books get to you that much sooner, and the revenues flow to the publisher and me that much sooner as well. Everyone wins. (Some/all of the major publisher still do things the old/slow way, which is why it can take a novel six months or more from contract-signing to bookshelves.)

The price we have to pay for this ease and convenience is spam and the elimination of "disconnectedness." Where once we could leave the office at the office, we now seem to be connected everywhere and anywhere. Between laptops and PDAs, Internet-enabled cell phones, text messaging and IMing, blogs and websites, it seems almost impossible to rip oneself away from the Internet for more than a few hours. (I've found emails from my editor at all hours of the day, including late nights and weekends. While I applaud her industry, I have to wonder about her stress level.)

I suppose that in time, as with most things, we'll all come to some accommodation with the pace of life and find some balance between connectedness and peace-and-quiet. In the meantime, I'll just keep writing my novels, checking my emails and blogging away, wondering how my life got so hectic lately.... 8^}


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