With all the talk about this digital stuff for creating your books, I think you probably see where I’m going. Reliable internet on your devices is just as important as having the software. With publishing and self-publishing options growing and the world getting smaller all the time, the Internet is a necessary tool in order to deliver your files, whether it’s to readers through a website, to a printing company that is going to run 10,000 copies of your book or one print-on-demand order, reliable Internet is necessary. There are options for any budget and if you’re having a hard time accessing reliable Internet for yourself, here are a few pointers.
Reliable Home or Cell Service: The most obvious and easy step for getting a reliable Internet is to have it installed by a local Internet provider in your home, whether you use a hardline Ethernet cable or a Wi-Fi modem so that you can use your devices wirelessly when at home, the fact is you need the Internet service to be reliable. Internet has become such a common part of communication in our culture that it’s likely that you have multiple Internet providers in your area. If you try one service and you find that it’s not reliable, like it keeps disconnecting while you’re in the middle of uploading a large book file to a printer, you can always cancel your service and try a different provider. You may even find that if you call your current provider and explain to them that the service that they are providing is not meeting your needs, they may be able to help. I’ve even had service providers come to my home and inspect lines and put in new ones to make sure that the Internet connection was more reliable. Alternatively you might be the kind of person who no longer has a home phone or any home service lines coming in. That’s okay too. If you’ve got a cell phone and you’re using it to make comics already, you may want to look into a data plan. Your data plan will let you use the Internet on your phone and enable you to send the files that you need by email or website upload. Be aware that using your cell phone for Internet is usually more expensive than having a home service, so be aware that if you’re going to be uploading large art and copy files, that you will likely take a hit in the wallet with increased cell phone bills.
Library: Chances are that somewhere in your community, there is a library. Many libraries nowadays have fully embraced the digital revolution, meaning that they have computer network stations or even free Wi-Fi service within the building. Library cards are free and reading books will not give you an allergic reaction. Embrace the resources available at your local library. You may not want to spend the money to get home Internet service or upload large files from your cell phone, so the library is a great option. If they have Wi-Fi service, it’s usually free for card-carrying members. So don’t overlook your library and use the resource that you’re entitled to as a member. You can also get some work done, like designing your website to help promote yourself or sending out important emails to your business associates and people that you’ve been networking with. So there is no reason to suffer from lack of Internet connectivity. Even if you do not have any computer or mobile devices at home, you can utilize the resources of your library. If you’re making your comics completely by hand in the traditional manner, you can go to your library and set up an email address fairly quickly and easily with websites like hotmail.com or Gmail.com. Your library may have photocopying or scanning services available, if not then look to local copy shops for those services. For a minimal fee, pages can be digitally scanned or photocopied and sent to your email address. From there you can use the computer systems available for public use in your own library to assemble your pages into book form and get them out to the world.
Public places: I think I’ve driven home a point here. The Internet is everywhere. It has become the norm. In fact you can take your laptop or mobile device and connect to wireless Internet beamed through the air in more places than ever. Public Wi-Fi Internet options are growing more every day. Many shopping malls have Wi-Fi hotspot areas, usually around food and dining options, but sometimes the entire mall. You can sit and upload print files for your amazing graphic novel while you chow down on food court faire. Look at your local community centers. Many of them now offer free Wi-Fi for members as well and having a community center membership is often a very affordable option, not just for having access to the Internet but also look at the other services offered at your community center. There are a lot of affordable resources for learning, physical fitness, special events and more. Even just meeting other people in your community and making connections and friends. You never know, they may just be able to help you with your comic career. You might even meet me at your local community center, depending on where you live.
Some cities have even created Wi-Fi-enabled downtown core areas, where wireless Internet access is available to residents and pedestrians within the city. You can also go to your favorite coffee shop and the chances are more likely than not that they also offer free Wi-Fi services.
Make friends with hippies. They are on the inside track of some of the newest trends in free access to services. For example, I now do a lot of my work at a free co-working space in my community. Make some friends and ask around, you may find out that there’s one in your area as well. Also it’s a great kind of place to meet fellow artists and future collaborators.