Ah, the wonders of Google. I have Google Alerts set up for my name and book titles, so I can see who’s talking about me on the web. It sounds paranoid, but it’s not. Really. I promise. Aside from alerting me to pirate sites and the fact I’m widely for sale on Ebay (and those two things comprise the majority of my alerts), Google lets me know when I’ve been mentioned on someone’s blog or review site.
And I can then go see what they said about me and my books. If it’s a nice review or comment, I’ll always respond. (I refrain from commenting on the snarky ones; nothing good comes from engaging in that situation. Ever.)
In a way, those alerts are always the most fun. These are folks who probably don’t expect me to read their comment or review – because if they’d done it in the sole hope I would, they’d have emailed me and let me know it was up. I’m not saying that I don’t want people to email me and let me know they’ve blogged about my book, it’s just kind of fun knowing they did it without any expectation I’d ever see it. (Although with Google Alerts being so common, everyone should realize that the person mentioned will see what was said soon enough. The internet is a pretty small place sometimes.)
Most of the time, the comment just lives there in cyberspace, with nothing more said as the blogger has moved on to other books or topics. More than once, though, I’ve popped up on someone’s blog to thank them and tell him how glad I am they enjoyed the book, and the blogger has been floored that I showed up and commented. All of a sudden, I feel special. Ohmigosh, the author has shown up. She’s here! In some cases, I’ve ended up in a conversation about books (mine or otherwise), Harlequin, etc. Once, commenting on a review on a small blog led to an interview and spotlight on a larger, more popular blog. (I didn’t know that the small blog was a side project of a reviewer when I commented there.)
I’m still new enough that I’m still floored by the fact people read my books, much less feel the need to tell their friends about them. (Gasp! Someone thinks I don’t suck!) I’m utterly awed that anyone would feel “honored” (their words, not mine) that I’d come by and comment on their blogs. I’m just little ol’ me. Nothing special here. (The Geek constantly reminds me that not everyone knows a couple hundred published authors, and that most folks still find that to be unique and cool. Hm, maybe since the majority of the folks I know are writers, my perspective is a little skewed there.)
So, riddle me this… if you mentioned on your blog or FaceBook or whatever about a book you’d read, would you want the author to show up and comment? Or would that feel weird to you, like your space has been invaded? I want folks to know that I sincerely appreciate each and every person who reads one of my books, but I don’t want to make folks uncomfortable or seem like I’m looking for something more when I do comment. Y’all tell me, because this isn’t one I’ve been able to come up with a good answer for yet…
PS: Angel is blogging with the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood today about strategies for surviving the summer with kids underfoot, and managing to actually get some writing done.
PPS: Insstigator is blogging at the Blaze Author's Blog today about getting through the summer.