I'll admit straight out, I've been paranoid about the Internet. Back in my IT days, the only secure computer was an unplugged computer. I spent several years of my career specializing in locking down systems so that they could only be seen by those machines they were intended to be accessed by. It was a game that I enjoyed, before my health deteriorated. At home, I continued the game to a certain extent - I've tried to remain invisible. I didn't understand social networking, as it opened people up to be noticed by the outside world, which was bad!
But one cannot sell or even share books while at the same time remaining invisible. Especially not e-books, and as I am far too fond of trees to allow any to be cut down to be made into books that may not sell... electronic books are really my only choice, aside from print on demand. So, nearly consumed with fear, I opened a facebook account. I contacted old friends there, and while it was wonderful to reconnect with long lost friends, I at first had very little luck in either promoting my writing or finding like minded individuals.
Then something unexpected happened - another author found me, tried to help promote my books, and added me to the Indie Author Group. (Thank you, Shaina Richmond!) My internet life began to change dramatically. The transformation was slow at first, given that it was still school season and I homeschool one of my children, but transform it did.
Lately I have come to rely on my new online friends. I have run into many problems, both with the mysterious online world and with editing for e-publication, but the people in the groups I've joined are there for me, offering assistance every time I've asked for it. It is a wonderful feeling I don't know how to describe. For a long time there has been a part of me that very few understood - my need to write my own story. Finally I've found people who understand the need to write, even if what we write isn't perfectly targeted to a paying audience. People that understand that sometimes you just have to write from the soul, and if it sells, that's nice, but if it doesn't, at least we have shared the visions that cry out from us to be shared.
And so to all of you who have helped or even just exchanged notes with me so far, and to anyone else who understands what I'm trying to say... I thank you.