Fearless Leader: About Ninclink

- by Laura Resnick

One of Novelists, Inc.’s most popular features is Ninclink, the members-only e-list where Ninc members talk about almost everything imaginable—but mostly about writing books, selling books, researching books, the writing life, editors, agents, the publishing industry, the book market, electronic rights, piracy, writing software, good resources for office supplies, whether self-promotion is valuable or not for a novelist, reader mail, bestseller lists, writing awards, and whether there’s any way to convince your cat not to lie down on your keyboard.

Since everyone in Novelists, Inc. is a multi-published professional novelist, everyone on Ninclink is, too—since only Ninc members are on Ninclink.

This makes Ninclink an online group with an unusually broad range and sophisticated level of publishing experience, as well as an exceptional resource for market news, writing craft discussion, and research help.

Which is probably why, as of this writing, 73% of Ninc member subscribe to Ninclink. It’s one of the best resources Ninc offers to its members—and yet, in effect, all Ninc does is maintain the e-list as a gathering place for members. It’s the members themselves who make Ninclink the most vibrant and informative writing community anywhere on the internet.

Ninclink has newcomers every month, as new members join Ninc and sign up for the e-list. It also has longtime members who’ve been posting on Ninclink since it was founded—which was waaaaay back when I was still using a DOS computer (remember those?). This longevity and continuity are among the reasons that Ninclink is so relaxed and close-knit an online community, despite its size (more than 450 novelists are enrolled in the e-list); and the regularly-arriving newcomers are what keep Ninclink fresh and constantly revitalized.

Ninclink is also PRIVATE. We have very few rules on Ninclink, but one of them is that nothing from Ninclink may be shared with anyone else without the express permission of the original posteur.

So if I share the Secret Handshake with my fellow novelists on Ninclink, you’ll never know about it unless you’re on Ninclink. (Because I’ll never give anyone there permission to repeat it! NEVER! MWA-ha-ha-ha-HA!)

The privacy of Ninclink means that list members can be unusually candid there with their fellow professional writers about the trials and triumphs of their publishing careers, their frustrations with specific aspects of the business, their problems with the IRS, their confusion over when wimples became common headwear in medieval Europe, and their stunned fury over a particularly unpleasant letter received from a reader with an axe to grind.

Because what happens on Ninclink stays on Ninclink.

And with hundreds of experienced professional novelists from all genres participating in the discussion, Ninclink is an extraordinary research resource. Where else can you always count on getting multiple prompt and informative answers to a range of questions such as:

How do I kill someone instantly with a hatpin?
Was King Richard I gay?
What are the scenarios for a tiny airplane surviving a collision with some large geese?
What were some pre-industrial birth control methods in Europe, and were they effective?
How long will it take my 18th century character to ride from Truro to Bath?
What are the symptoms of untreated syphilis?
How many rounds are in the clip of a Browning automatic?
What’s in mead?
What’s the best map of 17th century Venice you’ve used?
Give me an example of a fricative.

The depth and breadth of Ninclink knowledge is rarely, if ever, stumped by a research question. And the cumulative bulk of the members’ publishing experience ensures that the e-list is also rarely unresponsive when asked for market information, opinions about contract clauses, or explanations of arcane royalties terminology.

However, no one on Ninclink has yet figured out how to prevent your cat from lying on your keyboard if it really, really wants to.

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