Published Authors: 5 Tips to Protect Your Privacy

January 2, 2014 by  
Filed under Handmaidens on the Move


The hardest thing for published authors to believe is how much actually having a book on the shelves legitimizes them to the people they know and meet on a daily basis. Once you have a published book people no longer see you as someone with a dream, but as a person who is living it. They’ll think you’re selling thousands of copies, sitting on stacks of money and vacationing in the Riviera-even if you’re not. With this newfound celebrity you will begin to network, meet a host of people and exchange business cards and other information with them-but although you want to appear approachable, as an author you still need to take a few precautions.

Promotion is the ultimate key to making and keeping yourself successful as an author. You’ll definitely want to host contests where you’ll have readers sending in postcards, however, make certain that you are utilizing a Post Office Box. Many people use their home address for their business so that they won’t have the added expense of a Post Office Box or the added “to do” of making a weekly trek to check what could be an empty box. Unfortunately there have been reports of overzealous fans showing up on the doorsteps of authors, celebrities and other personalities, so, safeguard not just your residential address, but your family and overall privacy as well.

A telephone line strictly for business is an absolute must for anyone who has taken on the title of “author”. Remember to use your “business line” number on business cards, websites and all promotional information NOT your residential, work or personal number(s). Giving out too much personal information about yourself to people you meet at events can lead to feelings of entitlement. Imagine your dilemma when years down the line you realize that dozens of people you don’t even remember have your personal information, namely your home number. You want to sell books, but you don’t want to end up with an obsessed fan or someone who has taken an unusual fancy to you and ends up calling you in your personal down time on your private line. Remember, you can’t tell what makes someone tick at a glance. If you don’t have a business only number, always opt to take theirs instead.

Spreading knowledge is commendable. You may meet people who are just as eager to learn about the book business as you were when you started investigating publishing. It is definitely to be expected. There is nothing wrong with lending a hand and assisting individuals who may approach you, but don’t get so overeager to help that you spread yourself thin. At first you may want to limit yourself to mentoring two beginning authors. Fact is, if you don’t set limits on your time nobody else will and your willingness to help may lead them to believe you’re available around the clock. Keep in mind, the more people you help, word will spread and more people will come seeking help too. Learn to say, “no” or “my schedule doesn’t allow for…” when you need to. Don’t feel like you have to yield to every request just to convert a reader. If you start getting too many requests it may be wiser to just opt to do a formal seminar on what you know instead. Collect the contact information from anyone who needs assistance and inform them when you’ve pulled the seminar together. Even if you charge a small fee, if they’re serious-they’ll come.

Safeguard your date of birth. In an era where nothing is impossible as an author you have to realize your entire biography is on the Internet for the world to see. Couple that with the fact that you sign your name in every book you sell at a function and realize that with access to your date of birth, your signature and your geographical location, identity theft could be lurking on the horizon. How to not become a victim? Remove your birth day, month and year from your bio and stick to book related information. You may want to opt to eliminate your wife or husband’s name too since the book is ultimately about you the author-it doesn’t benefit the reader’s experience to know your children’s names either. Keep it simple. Keep it safe.

As authors we just love our readers. When we meet them at appearances, book clubs and other excursions, we want to get to know them, pick their brains and try to decipher what they truly feel about our work. One thing that both men and women need to be cautious about in the age where everybody wants to file a lawsuit is that even though you are eager to meet your public and your public may be just as eager to meet you-both men and women you meet can misconstrue actions, statements and gestures that you make just being friendly. In college I was cautioned by a professor who nearly had his reputation ruined by a woman he was consoling who developed feelings for him and tried to ruin his reputation when he didn’t return her feelings. Err on the side of caution and save the touching, hugging and leaning for people you actually know personally. Go easy on “the next time I’m in town I’d love to take you to dinner,” comments too. Some consider that in poor taste while others may read way more than you intended into it. This doesn’t mean be standoffish, photos are appropriate, just know that you don’t have to promise back rubs and foot massages to gain a loyal following of readers. Be an author, draw the line and insure that no one crosses it.

LDGHollandLinda Dominique Grosvenor-Holland is an active member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. She is currently pursuing her advanced degree in Professional Counseling in an effort to help facilitate the various facets of ministry. She the author of several books and relationship courses. For more information on Linda visit her on the web at

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