Monday, January 3, 2011

Beware the Googley Eyes

Is there anyone who doesn't know how to 'google' things?  It's even a popular comic line in movies and on TV.  Google can be used as a noun or a verb but either way be careful how you use it.
Like most authors, I set up Google Alerts to catch any new reviews or other news about my books circulating the web.  I have them set up for all my books, those already released and those yet to come.   Lately I've been rejoicing in the alerts telling me someone is searching out news about my latest release, Beyond the Gate.
It's very easy to waste precious writing minutes 'googling' yourself and then clicking around the Internet to read every little tidbit or stare at every online picture of your book cover.  And what you find isn't always inspiring.  You might find a poor review or a simple unfavorable comment when you follow one of those links.  It can not only waste time but deplete your emotional energy.
But what I'm most wary of is the knowledge that, yes, everybody does google.  It's only human to wonder what other people say about you.  So be careful whom you offend online.  If I write a blog flaming a particular agent, editor, or even another author, chances are good they will learn of it.  Take care with personal attacks on organizations or groups.   If I post on facebook a unflattering depiction of someone in the publishing world, I must remember that person might see it.  How might it affect my career?
A number of years ago at the very first writer's conference I'd ever attended, I attended a panel discussion of where the business was going.  The panel consisted of editors, agents and a few very successful authors.  A question was asked and one of the authors answered in a way one could only construe as racist.  I was shocked but I didn't run home and share it on my yahoo groups or my young blog.  I did stop buying her books though I expect her remarks resulted from ignorance more than true bigotry. 
So be careful what you say.  It may affect your career in unintended ways even it only loses you a few fans.  It could cost you friendships, connections and even trust with others in the industry.  Have you ever been shocked by what someone posted on a social network?  Do you know someone who has suffered those unintended consequences by speaking their mind? 


  1. I'm a very private person and I've always been careful what I say. And Google Alerts have kept me from Googling my name.

  2. I tend to speak my thoughts on my blog and in comments (the only networking I do) but I don't attack people and I try to be polite.