Thursday, October 23, 2014

Writing 101: Public Exposure

The days of Jane Austen and Louisa Mae Alcott are over. No longer do authors sit in romantic little rooms, cut off from the rest of the world. Now, authors need to be in the public eye. Indie authors have to be public figures. They have to be exposed. And when you're exposed, you are a target. Are you really ready for that?

In the Line of Fire

I've blogged a lot about marketing and promoting books. I've written about Twitter and blogging and being on forums and all the other stuff that indie authors have to do. What I have failed to mention is the consequences of all this public exposure. I have failed to mention that you are making yourself a target.

Now, it's time to take a look at the dark side of your marketing.

I learned this lesson the way I learn all my lessons: the hard way. During a vacation, I went off the grid. I didn't check in on Twitter look at my email much.. And when I got back, I had to face the consequences of all this relaxation. I didn't realize that I had been under attack. So when I saw 83 Twitter notifications, for a moment I was excited. Then, I began to read them.

Over and over, someone was calling me names and impugning my work. They launched a full campaign against me, and the tweets grew progressively worse as I failed to answer them quickly enough. Don't bother to seek this out; it was not Jade's Twitter account. It was the one I use for my "day job" writing gig. The point is, it was bad.

But I asked for it, right? I put myself on Twitter, and everywhere else I could find, in order to promote myself as an author. When you put yourself out there, no matter where "there" may be, you are actively making yourself a target. Ridicule on social media isn't even a real concern when compared to the other dangers. Many public persons have been murdered y their own fans, and as a mystery author I have to point things like this out.

Public exposure is a double-edged sword. There will be good days, when a fan contacts you to praise your words and communicate with you in enthusiastic terms. Then there will be other days, where you want to find a hole and crawl down inside of it...or find that dark attic room, at least. Public exposure has a very ugly side. Before you put yourself out there, make sure you're ready to face that ugliness.

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