Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A freelance writer's dependence on email

Today on Will Write for Chocolate, Debbie Ridpath Ohi discussed how to keep one's emails professional. Her article has some great tips, and is worth reading.

I can only imagine what a freelance writer's life was like before email, when the only methods of communication were telephone and snail mail. Personally, I don't like telephones very much. I screen my cell phone (my only phone) almost obsessively, rarely answering numbers I don't recognize (or people who will likely distract me from whatever I'm doing at the time). That leaves snail mail, and... well, the name says it all.

I love email. I send my cover letter and resume in response to a job ad, and sometimes even get a response the same day. I can discuss terms and project specifications with a client quickly and easily, without having to move away from my keyboard. I can even scan signed contracts and send them via email. I suppose in some ways the ease of email communications encourages my hermit-like tendencies, but it also helps me get the job, get the work done, and get paid much faster. Email has also enabled me to work with clients in other countries without experiencing any inconvenience - email and the internet makes them only a click away, instead of an entire ocean away.

Email clearly is beneficial for writers, and it seems to be that way for publishers, too, as more and more of them are accepting queries and even submissions via web forms and email. Of course, literary people tend to be more resistant to change than technology-based professions, so the email revolution is somewhat slow in coming to the publishing world. It'll be here before long, though, I warrant... There will come a day when all of this is done via internet and email, and we'll all wonder how we ever did our job any other way.

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