What do romance novelists and new solo lawyers and bloggers have in common? All have within them the potential to catapult to success as the result of Internet technology. Whereas back in the mid-1990s, the Internet and the dotcom boom turned many ordinary folks into gazillionaires in unbelievably short periods of time, today the Internet is now responsible for taking some writers – and potentially lawyers – who toil in obscurity – and making them stars as reported in this article, Romance, Writ Large from today’s issue of the Washington Post. Listen to this story from the article:
Here again, technology has had an impact. MaryJanice Davidson, a 36-year-old Minnesota writer, described her career as going “from the trailer park to the New York Times bestseller list in zero to 60.” She had been trying to sell her manuscripts since she was 21, and “was tired of being told that no one was interested in paranormal or really sexy books.” So she turned to e-publishing. Her first book, “Adventures of the Teen Furies,” was a young adult fantasy about a group of teenagers who were into gaming and their gaming personalities took over. It was published by e-book publisher Hard Shell Word Factory. “Little did I know,” Davidson said, “that the New York publishers were keeping an eye on the e-books.” In 2003, Cindy Hwang, then senior editor for Berkley Books, read Davidson’s novel “Undead and Unwed” online and called her, seeking to buy the print rights and offering her a three-book contract. It was, Davidson acknowledges, “like winning the lottery.” The series, which has transitioned into hardcover, is about a secretary named Betsy Taylor who, in Davidson’s words, “is turned into a vampire and fired on the same day. She has to find a new job and figure out where she is going to live. . . .
The Internet allows established publishing houses to see how a book “plays in Peoria” before publishing it. And the Internet gives lawyers access to a nationwide audience through weblogs and online publications where clients can get a taste of their work before making the hire. Moreover, if you’re this kind of a lawyer blogger, you may be plucked from anonymity to write a book.
How can you use the Internet to shine a light on your practice and take it to the next level? These days, it’s not just a daydream, but a real question and a goal that might demand a serious strategy.