Coming out of my Cave

I wrote this for Diane’s blog.  She told me I could also post it here.  So here it is:

It was at Karitos 2009 in Chicago, Illinois when I finally emerged from my Anti-technological cave.  Diane Eble, a publishing coach, graciously offered the writers attending Karitos her services in the form of one-on-one consultations regarding the publishing of our manuscripts. In my great newbie-writer ‘wisdom’, I had decided earlier that I wouldn’t need her help.  Publishing was easy. Send a manuscript to the publisher and buda-boom, buda-bing, a book emerges like a chick hatching from an egg.  But because of a gentle nudge from God, not to mention a swift kick in the pants, I decided to forgo my newbie ‘wisdom’ and meet with her.

 She sat across from me, hunched over my first chapter.  Quiet mmm’s and good’s fell from her lips and an occasional nod as she read my ‘masterpiece.’ Based on these mmm’s and good’s and nods, getting this puppy published would be a piece of cake. Once done, she said with a gleam in her eye, “It reminds me of Lord of the Rings.”

She offered ideas for my query letter, things I never would have seen on my own. The path to publishing lay before me.  Follow the Yellow Brick Road.  Look out, world, here I come.

Then she said the most terrifying thing my ears have ever heard: 

“You must come out of your cave and enter the Land of Technology.”

Technology?  That wasn’t in the plan.  You see, you are supposed to send the manuscript to the publisher and the little magic fairies wave their glittered wands and too-daaa! Poof, a book, marketing, contract signings, book signings and I will be as rich and famous as JK Rowling.  Right?

“No,” she said.  “You must take the Land of Technology. Twitter, Facebook, blogs and Websites are just a few areas you must overcome.”

Titter, and Facebook and Blogs, oh my!!!

After giving me more instructions, she patted me on the back, gave me a cookie, and reassured me I could triumph over these strange and alien domains.  I sat with my friends at lunch that day and told them of my new adventure that lay before me.  One friend laughed at the mention of Twitter.  “All those people say is I’m going to the bathroom.  I’m fixing a sandwich.  How can that help you?” I, too, had the same question.

But, I am a determined little writer, so I hitched up my pants, grabbed my keyboard and set out for the first of the four Realms.  Facebook.  I had a Facebook account already, but never used it.  My friend Elizabeth has an account and she often urged me to join.  I did, but never updated it.  Now I updated it.  I posted pictures of Bessie my cat, and of family members and good friends.  Then I made an astounding discovery: The Blessed Notes Tab!! I could show off my writing skills by posting short stories. I could join writing groups and learn from others.  Yes, that was an area I could defeat.  Yet my cave was still nice and warm with my animal skin rugs, my paintings on the stoned walls and warm fire burning at the entrance. I wanted to go back there, but Diane’s words compelled me to move forward.  There were three other areas I needed to investigate.  I checked my map.  The Land of Facebook was mine.  I set off for the elusive one: Twitter.

With a deep breath, I entered the gates of Twitterland. Twitter.com. The screen instructions told me how to set up my account.  I did, carefully.  Warnings sped through my mind, do NOT give your real name or post your picture.  Scammers, murderers and thieves would hunt for you and rob your home, slit your throat, and steal your kitty.  But the others Twitterers didn’t hold the same fears so maybe I was safe.  I entered my first post without my picture, but with my real name:

On a journey to publish my YA book. It’s ready and so am I. :))

Now I had to find those to follow.  Diane’s words whispered in my head.  “Find other writers.” So I typed in the search box “Professional writers”.  Names came on the screen, some who had gone before me and had books sitting on readers’ shelves.  I followed them and they followed me.  Amazing!!!  I read their posts and learned marketing ideas regarding IPODS, interviews, blogs and websites.  I discovered the correct way to write a killer query letter and even to post a picture of myself so others will know I’m a real writer and not a scammer. And yes, I did post a picture and no one has kidnapped my kitty yet or slit my throat.  

 More of Diane’s wise words rang in my ears like Merlin teaching young Arthur, “See who I am following and follow them.  See who those people are following and follow them and so on.” I’m slowly feeling my way around Twitter, learning the lingo and how to follow Twitter chats.  I’m meeting the most interesting people.  Writers, song writers, producers, the list is endless.  But there is still so much more to learn.  I’m glad Diane is there, holding my hand while giving me cookies.

 With two marks carved into my laptop, I only had two more lands to surmount.  Blogs and Website.  I had a blog already on Blogspot.com. It stood next to my cave and I would bring my fur rug and club with me when I visited it.  I started it last year and I wrote mostly notes on writing. 

 Diane suggested WordPress.com. WordPress is a bit more complicated then my safe Blogspot.com, not to mention I was unable to bring my club and fur rug when I visited it.  There is an area that displays stats regarding how many hits the site has had over the past week, not to mention strange buttons I was unable to comprehend.  Luckily for me, Diane gave me the name of a mighty wizard named Cathy Perkins: http://thewizardteleseminars.com/  I am looking forward to reading her articles and learning my way around WordPress.  It still takes me about twenty minutes to remember how to get to the area where I can create a post. Diane said I can link my Twitter account to my blog and when I make a blog entry, it automatically updates my Twitter.  I’m still in the process of working on this.  I miss my cave.

 I actually made a great discovery regarding Twitter and blogs.  I posted a small twitter entry regarding a couple of blog entries I did on a Character Analysis of the Penguins of Madagascar and Allowing a Character to Grieve.  I got thirty hits in one week.  Amazing!! Thirty hits on my little WordPress Blog!! I had zero on my other blog.  Maybe this technology has a positive side after all.  Maybe my cave isn’t as safe and warm as I had first believed.

 There is one last Land I have not been able to vanquish and that is of Website.  With rolling layoffs and shorten work weeks lying ahead at my place of employment, I am a bit hesitant about having another expense.  Once the danger is gone, then I will proudly enter that land and I will have another tale to share.  I do miss my cave, the solitude, the quiet, the blessed ignorance, the wonderful excuses.  It’s hard work to keep up with all this technology, but as Diane says, I need a platform and this is a start.  If no one knows my name, why would they want to read my book?  How would they know who I am if I sit in my cave all day and twiddle away the hours?

 There are other lands to overcome.  IPOD, YOUTUBE’s book trailers, interviews, so much more.  But that is a saga for another time. J

 Kim Kouski

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I write YA fantasy. Surprise!! And yes, I am a drama Queen.  I hope to find a publisher very soon and get my writing career on its feet.  My blog is https://kimdkus.wordpress.com/    

Thanks for reading!! 🙂

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