Monday, September 11, 2006

Keeping your life private when your words are public

A couple of weeks ago, Writers Weekly ran the article, "Writers Should Be Cautious of What Information Is Put Online," by Diane Craver. The article discusses the precautions that writers should take in order to avoid unwanted intrusions into their personal life: keeping contact information (such as address and phone number) off your website, making sure to say on your website that you don't live alone, using a private registration or using false information in your website registration, and using a fake signature for book signings.

This article really hit home for me, because I have had my own reasons for keeping my contact information off of my site. I have always been careful not to mention where I live; when I post pictures on my blogs, I even edit out any identifying details. It's a lot of work to always have to consider what information you don't want the creeps and loonies getting a hold of, but after a while it becomes instinctive.

Of course, for a writer's website to be truly effective, it must contain some sort of contact information. Prospective clients have to be able to get a hold of you! Some website hosting services allow you to post an email contact form, which I have done on my Services page. If you don't have this option, I suggest posting an email address that is dedicated to work use only. Email addresses can be canceled and changed at any time, and therefore offer a relative amount of security. Some email accounts even allow you the option of blocking a person from contacting you.

The bottom line is that even as a writer, you need to protect your identity in order to stay safe.

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