As authors, our number one goal with a blog is usually to get readers to notice us, our books, and our writings. It’s important to remember though that not everyone who stumbles upon our sites is going to be friendly.
I read this post this morning, and it brought home to me how careful you need to be when it comes to blogs and websites for authors. Authors, more than most, need their websites and blogs to reflect them and their books in a way that pulls readers into their worlds.
There’s an article I wrote about having a “professionally personal website” that I never got around to posting, but I’m going to quote it here.
“…be careful about giving out too much personal information. Talk about your family if you want, but keep it brief, avoid mentioning full names (in fact, consider pseudonyms for your children), and don’t talk about personal subjects that might make your visitors uncomfortable. Sure, you hope your readers want to know a little about you, but you’d do well to remember that some readers will be put off by too much personal information. And not to belabor the point, but don’t talk about personal subjects such as marital difficulties.”
Although I wasn’t talking about issues of safety and privacy, nor about blogging, in this article, these same principles apply. If you put out too much of your personal business on the web, you could be asking for trouble.
Blog safety is important for authors.
Tips to keep us safe on the web
Use a post office box or your publisher’s address when you give out your address on your website or blog. Readers like to write to authors on occasion. We want to be safe, but we don’t want to make it impossible for readers to contact us.
Ignore comments that seem threatening or strange. Delete the comment, block the user or email address, and move on.
Plan ahead for the worst. If someone figured out where you live, do you have measures in place (like a security system or neighborhood watch program) that would alert you to someone stalking around your home?
I know it seems vague and unlikely, but cyber stalkers exist. Darren Rowse can attest to that fact and does, “‘Stalker’ is such a harsh word and one not to be used lightly but in December of last year I realized that I had one.“