Updated: Apr 18, 2021
As an upcoming author of the 21st century who finds 18th century authors an inspiration,
I'm able to appreciate the privileges I have today when it comes to doing what I love to do.
Here are just a few of the ways we authors have it easier nowadays.
Email vs Snail Mail
I know what I'm about to say might sound impossible, but try and imagine a time where the
internet didn't exist…
Querying agents and publishers is simpler than ever when submissions are all done
electronically. No writing or printing out your manuscript, stamping an envelope and
including a SASE in the hopes they return it.
I was able to query dozens of literary agents this summer thanks to the ease of electronic
submissions, and get what I suspect were even quicker responses via email instead of
having to wait for that snail mail to arrive.
Self-publishing is a Breeze
Did you know A Christmas Carol author Charles Dickens self-published his famous
Can you imagine Dickens in his frock coat and top hat as he sat behind his laptop screen,
typing out his story on a Word document, designing a book cover on photoshop and
publishing it on Amazon Kindle?
Yeah, that may not exactly be what happened.
Charles Dickens had to write out his entire story with a quill and ink by candlelight, then
hire an artist to hand-draw illustrations and pay what little money he had left into getting
the book made.
Self-published authors of today have it so much easier, again thanks to the internet and
platforms available to get your stories out there.
Computers, phones, iPads, oh my!
Instead of typewriters - or worse, a quill and paper - we authors of the 21st century always
have access to a writing tool. All I have to do when I get struck with inspiration is pull my
phone out of my pocket and start typing away, then click Save and back it up on the drive.
But look at Louisa May Alcott, for example. When she was struck with inspiration, she had
to run up to her room, light some candles, whack out the 'ol quill and ink and start writing
out every word on piece of paper after piece of paper.
In my early days of writing, young and cell phone-less, I would do just that… minus the
quill, of course. I still have notebooks full of notes and ideas and excerpts of my novel that
I wrote by hand. And although these gadgets make it quicker and easier to bang out a
book, these crinkled pieces of notebook paper are pretty cool souvenirs to have from my
Oh, how I wish I could follow Charles Dickens on Twitter and like every one of Mary
Shelley's Instagram pictures. I'm sure she would love all the Frankenstein fan art.
Of course, fans of these novelists got to follow their journeys with newspaper articles and
book tours, but can you imagine if they could tweet and snap and tik and do all the things
authors of today can do?
We authors are able to grow a platform on social media before we're even published. We're
able to introduce ourselves with videos and share our thoughts in 140 characters and
promote our writing with links and websites.
Imagine Jane Austen's linktr.ee?
- Jane Austen Official Website -
- Pride and Prejudice OUT NOW! -
- Subscribe to my Letter! -
- New Merch - Jane Austen Bonnets now available! -
Okay, I'll stop. But between the speed of the internet and the access to social media and
the invention of computers, this writing thing can be a piece of cake for us 21st century
But we mustn't lose sight of the hardships our predecessors faced or forget those writers
who came before us.
After all, where would we be without Little Women or A Christmas Carol? Not the writers
we are today, I'm sure.
Ashley Amber is a 26-year-old upcoming author who calls Boston home. Whether it was her first picture book that she entered in a Reading Rainbow contest at 9 years old, loads of fanfiction as a teenager, or her own novels, Ashley has always been writing. When she's not writing, she's making videos on Youtube as an "Authortuber." Ashley is currently expanding her writing credentials while she seeks a home in publishing for her LGBTQ book series.