|200 pp., illus; paper, £9.95.
ISBN: 0 7136 5192X.
Reviewed by Nisar Keshvani
E M Forsters famous words, "only connect" begin this book,
but British writer Jane Dorner prophesises that it should now be updated
to "only interconnect". How very appropriate in this modern
Today's writers should embrace rather than shun away from technology
and the world of the Internet is the message.
She describes her book as a cookbook rather than a recipe book, the
difference being the former demonstrates the exact ingredients needed,
whereas the latter "gives general principles together with tips
and tricks from personal experience".
It definitely keeps to its promise. I've met many a writer, journalist
or reporter who doubt and fear change, and naturally so. They say,
"if it ain't broke why fix it?"
This book shows you how to enhance your writing skills and capitalise
on the resources available on the Net. In simple terms it brings high-tech
jargon down to earth. Besides new avenues of publishing, it suggests
ways of connecting with subjects, audiences, and other authors. The
first half of the guide covers getting online, email basics, understanding
web browsers, joining discussion circles and forums.
The second half, though, is slightly illuminating. Dorner talks about
fresh publishing opportunities, Internet publishing practicalities
and online resources. (It provides a list of excellent links via an
accompanying website: http://www.internet.co.uk/) A list of more than
800 writing-related links is accessible online with a password disclosed
in the book.
Lest, one is misled into thinking that the Net is the answer to all
the occupational hazards of being a writer, Dorner is quick to point
out: "It does not replace the post, the telephone, going into
libraries, browsing bookshops, attending literary events or talking
to people face-to-face. It is as well as."
Dorner's honest writing style is in no way intimidating especially
for Internet newbies and serves as an excellent start-up guide with
practical and useful tips. She shares tricks of the trade such as
best times to cold call an editor (early morning is bad as they are
dealing with morning mail, lunch time they deal with appointments
and after lunch they rush to meet deadlines. Her conclusion: between
10.30am 12noon for best results).
I found the guide to be a valuable read. It's a useful reference and
warrants a space on a writer's personal shelf for days when you are
drained of ideas or need an Internet-related question quickly answered.
As a wordsmith, I suggest that someone work on a book on how to overcome
information overload next How to manage the tonnes of URLs, emails,
organise your hard disk for optimal searches, and storing digital
information. Now that would be a bestseller, and I'd be first in line
to pick up a copy.
First published by the Leonardo
Leonardo - Volume 34, Number 2, April 2001, p. 165 - Review