Sunday, March 8, 2009
Are you Privy to Privacy?
by Danielle Jackson
There are a ton of things to think about when you’re on the internet—especially since the World Wide Web is where you do most of your promoting. It’s easy to get carried away on an anecdote about something that inspired your novel, and before you know it, the comment section is full of little bits and pieces of your actual life: your current town, your first pet’s name, why your best friend inspired your antagonist, and those hot sex scenes? Possibly everything your husband hasn’t done.
You’ve heard me say it before, but THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE POSTING before you post it. Why’s that you ask? IT NEVER GOES AWAY! And you never know who might be reading it? You might think your first grade teacher it too old to know what the internet is or how to even turn on a computer, but you never know…
Additionally, I know that many of you in addition to this blog, have personal websites, are on Facebook, have a MySpace page, Twitter, etc… I don’t mean to sound like the overbearing mother, but please be aware of what you post to these pages. I think it goes without saying that putting up your address or phone number or personal email is a big NO-NO. Consider setting up a contact form on your site, or creating a separate email address through Yahoo! or Gmail for free so your author mail is separate from your personal mail.
Also, a question that comes up quite a bit, and one I even struggle with answering—how much is too much information when you’re interviewing. For example, with Robin’s Domestic God Series, it makes sense that she would talk about growing up in Brooklyn, her family dinners every Sunday with her loud Italian family, and the fact that she is married to her very own DG (I know, I know, I didn’t believe it either, but then I met him and I’ve heard so many stories—he’s the real deal, ladies!) because these all relate to her novels. Or with Cheryl—how she’s had a crush on Mr. Spock since she can remember because those hot Zetithians carry similar features—at least in their pointy ears and eyebrows (wink). Just remember that it all comes back to promoting your books, building your brand as an author, not necessarily building your own personal soap box to talk about anything on the fly.
And finally, you know I’ve devoted an entire post to commenting, but please please please be wary of what goes into the comments. They sometimes seem like an after thought, but I know the comments section is where things tend to shine in intention. Yes, we’ve all seen our fair share of people who find it necessary to say something negative in the comment section on someone else’s blog when your book is reviewed, but you do know that the review process—whether someone likes it or not—is part of this whole writing business. But logging in under anonymous or using a fake name doesn’t cover up where the comment is coming from. So posting a glowing thank you note with your gmail account and then being sneaky and saying you’re anonymous and answering a negative comment doesn’t save any face for you—many people, especially those who have their own sites, or have become very popular through their blogs pay attention to IP addresses and can tell when someone is commenting from the same computer. When in doubt, just say “thanks, I appreciate your thoughts on my book!” or don’t say anything at all. And also, you never know who is reading those comments…be it your childhood archenemy or your favorite publicist…
This post isn’t meant to defer you from never mentioning your personal life (who knows, your 13 year old daughter might have said something totally random and voila—you wrote a novel!), or deferring you from commenting, but it is meant, as many of my posts are, to alert you to be cautionary while you’re out there in Cyber-land. Pay attention to what you’re putting up there on Facebook (because who knows if that stuff will EVER be deleted), what you’re saying in those comments, and what you’re doing to further your brand and represent the Sourcebooks, Inc. brand of amazing work and integrity!
Have you had any internet snafus that were frustrating, annoying, possibly even a little funny (after the fact)? I know that I have (and I also know that there are a few of you out there that have, too). Any questions, comments, concerns, per usual, are appreciated—but be forewarned—it seems I am always scheduled to be on the blog on days I know I will be away from my computer. Be patient, and I’ll be sure to check in later in the day.
Your faithful stalker… I mean, publicist,
Yes, that’s another Leyendecker—very rare, but I thought this stolen kiss was fitting for our privacy discussion!