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Guest blogger: Tracey O’Hara

11 April 2010

Before I start my post today I just want to thank all of you who nominated me as a finalist for ARRA’s Favourite Australian Romance Author of 2009. I was absolutely stunned and thrilled. And the calibre of the other finalists has me humbled and tickled pink that people took the time to put my name forward. You guys are awesome. It is such an honour.

Being an Aussie writer has its problems, but it also has its own rewards. One of those is the camaraderie of the Aussie authors and readers. Just over a year ago, I attended the inaugural Australian Romance Readers Convention and met a few of you. It was amazing. I got to meet so many great people – including Sherrilyn Kenyon and MaryJanice Davidson. But what I really enjoyed the most was sharing the love of books and romance with like-minded people. For while I write, I also read and can get just as fan-girly as the next person.

Having such great guests goes in part to what I wanted to talk about today. The world has become so much smaller with the introduction of the internet. Today you can chat with someone on the other side of the planet or hold a conversation in real-time with someone in the UK and the US at the same time using email or twitter or a chat program like yahoo messenger.

It’s also how I, as an Aussie writer, can create stories based in US places I have never been to before. I have many friends in the US. Again, thanks to the web, I am able to maintain long-distance friendships via email and chat. And while it is good to ask them questions, having the internet allows me to see things for myself. Pictures, descriptions, I can walk along the streets of New York thanks to Google maps. While it may not be as good as being there, it gives me enough so that I can at least let my imagination fill in the rest.

The other great thing about the web is that it allows me to talk with people who have read my books. It is very gratifying to hear from someone who loved the story and world I created, who is eagerly awaiting the next book from me. While it doesn’t quite beat meeting people in person, it is nice to know there are people out there reading something I have created.

Twenty years ago, how many of you would have thought to write to your favourite author and thank them for a wonderful book? And how many of you today would not think twice shooting off an email gushing about what you really loved about their books? (I have sent a few of those emails – like I said- fan-girly). More often than not, authors are happy to respond to people who contact them.

The other advance with the web is now we can get instant gratification. When a book comes out, we can download a copy immediately. No longer do we have to wait weeks or months for it to be released in Australia or ordered from Amazon. With a few clicks of the mouse you can have your very own copy on your e-reader, computer or iPhone within minutes. This revolution has not really hit our shores in a big way as yet, but it won’t be long. I thought I would be reluctant to take on ebooks – preferring the paper copy – but I have found, to my surprise, that I really love the convenience.

So what as readers are you grateful for with the introduction of the internet?

I have a Night’s Cold Kiss T-shirt, which can be personally signed, to give away to one commenter, so write me a note.
Tracey O’Hara

  1. Allison permalink
    15 April 2010 1:45 am

    Hi Tracey!

    I don’t have a dedicated device, so I can only read ebooks on my computer, which I find a necessary evil if I want to read the story. Most of my ebooks are from Ellora’s Cave and I like the convenience of being able to download them outside business hours. Another couple of times I was waiting for a new release in the US that wasn’t immediately available here and I got the ebook to tide myself over during the wait. I got the paperback when it arrived, too.

    I just find reading a book to be easier on my eyes. A few times I’ve read off my screen for so long that I get afterimages of how the lines are spaced. Also, from a fangirl perspective, it’s nice to get a book signed. I’m not sure how you’d do that on a Kindle.

    As a reader, the internet has made it easier to compare prices from bricks-and-mortar and online stores, so it’s easier to find good deals. Then there are sites like Goodreads and Shelfari to help me organise the books I want to buy and what’s already in my TBR, and meet other people who read the same books as me.

  2. 12 April 2010 8:47 pm

    Cathleen – google is the greatest tool in world for helping research. I use it at least once a day. And thank you, you spicy girl – for loving my book. 🙂

  3. 12 April 2010 8:00 pm

    Helen – thank you so much. Don’t you just feel so giggly when they reply. I really hope I am able to get away and make it to the awards dinner.

  4. 12 April 2010 7:55 pm

    Eleni – the internet has definately made the job of a writer less isolating. Some of my best friends have been made online.

  5. 12 April 2010 11:12 am

    I can barely think of a time before google. It has made keeping in contact the writers, readers and friends so simple, not to mention research for an author. I can’t wait until my iphone arrives so that I can use it as an ebook reader. Like you Tracey, I never think I have enough time to read, so having my extra books on my phone when I’m waiting for appointments will be fabulous. I also think as a writer, that with the Internet it doesn’t matter which country you write in. The only thing we don’t get to do is go to as many conferences as we would like to like they can in America.
    Loved your first book Tracey.
    Cathleen Ross

  6. Helen permalink
    12 April 2010 8:50 am

    Hi Tracey

    Huge congrats on the nomination I look forward to seeing you at the awards night it is going to be a great night.

    Like you I love the way I can interact with writers and know when books are coming out I don’t know what I would do without the internet now not a nice thought. I love to send an email off to authors when I have read their books and am really excited when I get a reply love it.

    I don’t have and ebook reader I too still love the paper books but I do see ebooks being the way of the future.

    Have Fun

  7. 12 April 2010 12:32 am

    Tracey, it’s amazing how much things have changed. When I started working in libraries in 1996, there was talk of ebooks but the technology wasn’t there for it yet. I couldn’t see it at all. Now, the devices are better. I’m still being converted – like Rachel I love the smell & fell of paper books, and my eyesight is better for reading them. While I have a couple books on the iPhone, I find it a struggle to read more than few pages at a time. Maybe when the iPad hits Aus & all kinks have been worked out.

    And I have made some great friendships via the internet & do not feel isolated as a writer.

    E 🙂

  8. 11 April 2010 9:41 pm

    Kylie – being a fan-girl who has had emails answered by some of my fave authors – it is really a thrill. I love to hear from people as well.

  9. Kylie Griffin permalink
    11 April 2010 9:13 pm

    Hi Tracey!

    I think you’re spot on with the comment about being able to connect that much quicker to your readers and vice versa – readers to the author – with the internet.

    The access it allows alleviated the geographical isolation, important for those of us on one side of the world and the target/initial selling market on the other. Accessing information on websites, buying books, dashing of fan-girly emails (yep, guilty of this!) – all a plus.

  10. 11 April 2010 8:23 pm

    Mel – you are so sweet. Like I said – I love making a connection with readers because I am a reader too. Just wished I had more time to read more.

  11. 11 April 2010 8:22 pm

    Rachel – I was the same about ebooks. But I got an iPhone which has allowed me to download and read ebook. I still love a paper copy – there is nothing like the smell of a new book. But I can see the conveinience of an ereader and ebooks. I now carry a dozen books with me where ever I go at the moment. If I am waiting in the doctors or to get picked up, I pull out my phone and off I go, exactly from where I left off last time. I am coming around.

  12. 11 April 2010 8:15 pm

    What I love about you Tracey, is your absolute down-to-earthness!
    You’re more than happy to chat to fans about your work, and to give away a little something in celebration of your book! =)
    Can’t wait now for book 2!!

  13. 11 April 2010 8:13 pm

    Hi Tracey! You know, I was thinking the exact same thing about the internet a couple of weeks ago. The internet has let me meet so many fabulous people – other authors, readers, new friends.

    I’m not very comfortable with eBooks yet – I think partly because I’m on the computer all day and I like to change to a paper book at night, but also because I just love the physical object of a book. Love holding one in my hands. But you do make a good point about the immediacy of eBooks. There are a few books I’ve found hard to get and if I just step a toe over onto the dark side, I could get them tonight…

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