Tuesday, June 08, 2010

People Talking About Me Behind My Back

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…

PC

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.

13 comments:

Cheryl said...

Of course I would want you to drop by and comment on a blog about your book. It makes me feel good - the author did show up and, OMG, she actually read the review! Get used to it - you are a good writer and people like your books! If the blogger has gone to the trouble of reading your book and then commenting on it, you should feel proud and very special. Keep commenting, even on the less than flattering ones. The way to make those people change their opinion is to be above it and kill them with kindness. You can't really argue with someone who takes criticism with class. And you have loads of class...

Jean said...

Sure I would. I'd be flattered. I think you're wise to remain silent about unflattering comments. Everybody can't like everything. One of the things about the web, it's gives us all the opportunity to illustrate that we are authorities on our own opinions.

As to the personal space evasion--there is no such thing. That's why it's called the World Wide Web.

Further, I do not put ANYTHING ANYWHERE on the web that I mind anyone seeing. Occasionally, I hear of people who get upset because strangers are reading their blogs. I wonder if they never go into Barnes and Noble and see those lovely little blank books.

Cheryl said...

Maybe it's the litigator in me - I just can't resist a response. Maybe you're right Jean about not commenting but I just can't seem to get over it; something makes me want to respond. Just an arbitrary nature I suppose.

Instigator said...

I need to take off my google alter for my book titles. All I get these days are posts about music and exercises. I do get the alert for my name and every once and awhile it's fun to see. I really enjoy it when I find someone talking about me in cyberspace. Kinda neat.

Instigator

Playground Monitor said...

I'm with Jean -- if you don't want folks reading your blog and/or commenting, buy one of those little blank books at Barnes and Noble.

I'd be mighty flattered if an author commented when I mentioned his/her book. Heck, I was tickled pink when the woman from Santa Claus, Indiana commented on my Christmas places blog back in December. I'm sure she picked that up with Google alerts.

catslady said...

I didn't have a clue that could be done but I see no problem with you commenting. As a reader I think it would be cool to hear from an author on the spur like that. I'm sure I've mentioned books that I've enjoyed on different sites but I really don't think I've mentioned ones that I haven't cared for. I figure there's something for everyone out there so I only mention the ones I like.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I have commented before on books and authors that I enjoy reading. I wouldn't post anything mean, if I didn't care for the author I just wouldn't read anything else by that person. I would be flatter if an author were to take note and take the time to post a comment.
robertsonreads

Angel said...

Oh, yeah. Totally cool to get an alert that you've been talked about! Personally, good or bad, I'm just nosy enough to want to know. :)

And it would be totally cool to have the author comment! I've had a couple of authors who have found out about my reviews of their books or been forwarded info when I've mentioned them on the blog, who have then emailed me a thank you or a comment. I was so totally thrilled!

Angel

Kathy said...

Isn't modern technology great? ;)

Problem Child said...

Okay, so I'm not creeping people out.

Whew.

M.V.Freeman said...

I am always late...

But I think that is so neat that you do respond and you monitor your name and book titles.

I think that would make my day if an Author did jump in and respond to something I wrote.

You know, I need to learn about those google alerts...

Smarty Pants said...

My firewall at work has decided to start blocking social networking sites. Sigh. Even if someone was talking about me, I couldn't go to their blog until I got home fom work.

LA said...

I thought it was totally cool that you stopped by the TuesdayWeavers blog after I sent you a shout out!!! It let me know that you were still "on your toes" and not just dancing!