on 26 June 2000
This is a well-produced book, and Nick Daws covers the purely technical issues excellently for the most part. It's especially good to see virus hoaxes debunked, but some of the advice fails to mention the downside: for instance, the author cites a source for HTML tips ("awesome graphics!, background sound, and GIF animations" ) without mentioning the speed and browser problems they may cause. However, the book's main problem for me is the subtext that the Internet exists just as a billboard for self-promotion and a vast menu of free stuff to devour: cheap phone calls and faxes (never mind the effect on bandwidth), free advice, free software, cheap advertising, etc. Furthermore, the book presents a vastly overoptimistic view of the likelihood of fiction posted or promoted on the Net being talent-spotted by real publishers or agents. This will be a useful book for writers of proven ability taking their first steps in the Internet. But you will be in for a disappointment if you are "William, a retired train driver" with a novel based on his life's experiences (yawn) and imagine that joining an Internet forum will get you "an enthusiastic letter from a literary agent".