The Internet is a funny place. Place? Is that even a correct term? I think so. Because it’s, you know, everywhere. So anything you say or do can end up . . . here.
Most of the time, it’s harmless. In fun. But even those things can backfire. You have to always be conscious that what you say may offend someone—and I’m not talking about strongly held beliefs, I’d never ask or expect anyone to compromise those beliefs. For example, say you’re against some politically charged topic; you don’t have to tell someone that “maybe you’re right,” but you can also refrain from calling that person a dumbass.
Other things to avoid, as your author persona, are Debbie Downer posts, rants and raves, whining, complaining, etc. And cussing. Do *I* do these things sometimes? Probably. Doesn’t make it right. What I suggest, however, is that you have a separate page, or account, depending on your choice of social media, ONLY for you as an author. It should be public, to where any potential readers can find you, and it should be welcoming to all—all kinds of people read, after all. You can save the more personal stuff for YOUR page, and set the privacy however you wish.
Sure, someone might make the connection, but you’d be surprised how many won’t. I’m still stunned by people who message me about the bookstore, or RHP, or even my books and who are totally clueless that these are all connected. Stunned.
All of this is particularly important if you write kids’ books, even YA. You simply can’t blog about “stupid people” or curse like a sailor or post pics of yourself in a leather bustier. Not that I’ve seen that last one, I assure you! As an author, you’re in the public eye—if you want to sell books.
Get an extra account/page and post whatever you like on your personal site. But tone down the rest on your author page—focus on your writing, your books, press and interviews, and anything connected with those things, like animal rescue or bullying or whatever “thing” is related to those.
Pay attention, too, to news items or interviews of other authors—particularly as their books relate to yours. If you write romance, for example, connect with romance authors and share links. You post theirs, they’ll post yours. Think of your author page as a place where READERS look for information. If you’re a children’s author, and you put up a blog post bitching about something, you’re going to lose readers. Parents will see that and question your ability to relate to children—not to mention wonder about the appropriateness of your book for those children.
Think before you post—and/or make sure that you separate your personal life from your professional one. This applies to being out in public, like grocery shopping, for instance, or a letter to an editor, or a phone call, and so forth. Stay true to your brand. As I said in my marketing book, dress—or in this case, behave—like the team owner, not one of the players.
Well said, Robin, and good advice to be heeded “:)
I am continuously amazed by the stuff people share in public these days.
LLBR still gets requests for reviews every week, even though we shut down in January 2012. Sometimes people only see what they want to see, or read what they want to read. They aim for the parts that are only beneficial to them, but miss what’s really important.