11 September 2010

Have we reached the age of the introvert?

As a naturally shy writer who lives in her head whenever possible, I've found myself pondering this question more and more as the online world marches forward. After attending a webinar several days ago, I started to contemplate the question again.

I know it's a slippery slope. Preference for conducing all business and personal communication online starts to erode the interpersonal soft skills that are so important in our daily lives.

However, when I can record a reading and post it on my web site, contribute to a workshop through a conference call, or interact with other writers and readers via blogs and social media, I'm starting to wonder what will be expected of serious writers in years to come.

Having recently started a new full-time job, I'm not in a good position to visit libraries, schools, or book stores for readings. And unless you're already in demand, nobody will chase you to do it. Because my work as a novelist is important to me, I want to challenge myself to do the hard, nerve-wracking things that could help me go farther as a writer. But I also believe in working smarter, not harder.

I remember a time when citing online sources or conducting interviews via email was frowned upon. Some publications still have research and reporting restrictions. But the tide has certainly turned in favour of doing things online where there are no time zones and no long distance charges.

So I wonder, will electronic promotion and internet marketing soon take over as the method of choice for writers? Are we there already? Probably not, but I'll be keeping an eye on the situation nevertheless.