10/06/2013

#3 How to Be An Author: What Personal Information Do You Share?

I have some dirt to dish. Some secret details about me that may just shock you. Brace yourself. Ready? Need a fortifying sip of tequila?
Okay. Here goes.
Despite the fact that the very first question on my nearly three year old interview series, Crawl in Bed, is about the sheets…I don't actually care about the thread count of the cotton I sleep on. I don't use silk or satin sheets either, because my SO says they're too hot and make him sweat. I indulge him, because it doesn’t matter.
What does matter to me is towels.
Thick, absorbent, soft, huge, fluffy towels.
Towels are important. Sheets are not. (Just ask Ford Prefect)
When I first joined the literary online world, I thought I'd share some of who I was, connect with readers and other writers personally as well as professionally. Then, all kinds of epic shit storms started hitting the interwebs. I was aghast.
I couldn't believe my innocence, my naiveté. I found myself being stalked, more than once. Mea culpa. I deleted all personal data and information about myself from my profiles everywhere. My SO took one look at some of the crap I was dealing with and had a meltdown.
He didn't want any part of a fishbowl existence, even just as an ambiguous accessory, my E. So, we hammered out some guidelines, some rules, to protect our privacy as a family and our position in the community.
As an author, that's for you to decide. YOU get to figure out how much of your personal data you put out there. Some readers and bloggers will try to make you believe you owe them a photo of the inside of your underwear drawer because they bought your book. Ignore them.
They'll scream long and loud, but the fact of the matter is that they are a minute portion of your audience. Most of the world doesn’t really care what size shoes you wear or whether you prefer boxers over briefs. If you want to show off your neatly rolled socks and starched cotton boxers, go for it. If you don't, your choice.
Most of the people you meet online, or at conferences and signings, don't care about that. They just want you to write another book because that's what attracted them to you in the first place.
Just one caution, and this comes from my heart. People love reading good news, your new releases, your good reviews, your latest contracts signed…They LOVE to see that.
But there are things they aren't going to love.
If you're having a bad day, week, month or whatever, people are going to be sympathetic. Of course they are! But if all you're sharing is the misery…the agony…the failure of being a writer, don't be surprised if there's no jump in sales.
I have an online acquaintance who updates her newsfeed periodically with "no books sold this month" and all sorts of sighs and whimpers and poor me's. At first I tried to be encouraging, to say the sales will come, that she just had to be patient. Then when the woe is me story continued, I tuned her out. And most likely, so did her other prospective readers.
So there's my caution, the lesson I learned. Share as much or as little as you're comfortable with, but remember that there is truth in these two old adages:

Familiarity breeds contempt

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar

1 comment:

  1. So you broke out the good stuff when we crawled in bed with you aye? /wegs/ Loved the blog.

    ReplyDelete

Be Yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955