Waterbrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO (a division of Random House), 2000. ISBN 0877888760.
Reviewed by Lee Ambrose
Posted on 06/25/2002
Nonfiction: Creative Life
WriterSpeaker.com—no, that's not a website— well, actually there is a website by that name. But in this case, it is the title of a uniquely informative book.
If someone other than the book's author had asked me to read this book, I doubt I would have bothered to do so. And, oh what I would have missed had I not read it! "Technical reading" is not usually my choice. In fact, the last time I read a technical book it was assigned reading in college. I swore then that I would never use my precious reading time for technical reading again. Carmen Leal managed to change my mind on the matter, and I am very glad that she did.
My chance meeting with the energetic and engaging author of several books must have been one of those fortuitous moments we all hope for. I found myself face to face with a published author who was real, down to earth, and interested in my personal desire to write. Her energy is contagious. Her passion for writing—and helping others to do so—is overwhelming. She makes the whole writing process from beginning to end seem so easy. With an attitude that says, "If I can do it, so can you," she encourages writers and would-be writers to strive to reach their goals.
Over the past year, I have had the pleasure of interacting with Carmen Leal on numerous occasions. She always takes the time to inquire about my writing life. She never misses an opportunity to inform or encourage. No wonder WriterSpeaker.com is so reader-friendly. Its author is reader, speaker, and writer friendly as well!
In addition to this, her first technical book, Leal is the author of Faces of Huntington's and the co-author of Pinches of Salt, Prisms of Light. She teaches writing classes for the Collier County Public School System's Adult Education Program, lectures on various writing topics for the Friends of the Library at the Collier County Public Library, and travels extensively to speak at various writing conferences.
Whether the Internet is a constant companion or a new acquaintance, this book offers an amazing wealth of information. Its pages are filled with information specifically designed to meet the needs of writers and speakers. This is a reference book unlike any I have ever read before. In just 269 pages, Leal has addressed internet features, research, tips for finding writing resources including copyright laws, self-publishing hints, business savvy, online writing opportunities and classes, website development, and much much more.
In a highly unusual move, Leal has taken her readers into the "web" via a web address which links to the untold numbers of resources found in her book. She is quick to point out, "All links are checked periodically, and dead websites are eliminated. New websites come with brief descriptions."
Written from her heart, Leal guides the beginning writer through the keys to becoming a successful writer: "Read and listen. Join. Work at your craft. Attend a writer's/speaker's conference or convention. Know the publishing industry." Internet sources to work at each of these keys are addressed in WriterSpeaker.com.
Leal writes that the internet can take us "beyond research and on to success" in our craft by (1)"allowing us to target our work to specific editors," (2) "providing a place to showcase one's work," and (3) "streamlining the communication process between writers and editors."
WriterSpeaker.com has been placed on my desk next to the computer. It is already looking a bit old and worn, but it will likely be my new best friend as I work at perfecting my own writing life with the help of Internet features and great friends like author Carmen Leal.
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