I fell for it.
A random friend request from a stranger on Facebook turned into a scam to try and recruit the rest of my friends to an internet dating site…or worse. I get a lot of friend requests from people I don’t know, and I assume they are readers who have found me on Facebook and just want to keep informed. I don’t post status updates very often (and never about things like that nasty rash on my back…love the Facebook Song by Studio C! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glVaMyDRpII )
So I get a private message from my new “friend” with a come-hither invitation to get to know her better and a phone # to call. By adding this new friend, it gave the spambot access to all my other friends, one of whom (that I know of) also got a private message with a similar request from her. So, needless to say that she’s no longer my friend and now I’m asking folks to send me a private message before clicking on the ‘invite’ button on Facebook. If you are somewhat lucid (and better yet–a real fan), I’ll accept it.
The walls between authors and readers have been falling down. It’s more like a fence now…you know, like the kind in my backyard where the wood is a little warped, some of the knots in the panels have fallen out, and even the nails are rusty and the planks wiggle out. And sometimes, when it is really windy, entire panels come crashing down. This is a new world where it is so easy to get in touch with artists we admire. We can follow them on Twitter, friend them on Facebook, and who knows what else is coming next.
I’m in favor of all this openness. Some writers are terrified of their readers. I’m not. I’ve found you all to be a delightful group. We share some beliefs in common and others not. We don’t see eye to eye on every issue, nor should we. I spend months and months crafting stories that you guzzle down in a couple of hours. But I love hearing from you. I love getting reviews on Amazon, whether they are positive or not. I love getting e-mail from you or tweets. I’m flattered that you enjoy the worlds I live in inside my head.
So far, nothing too scary has happened between the fences so far. I think that means that my writing attracts really decent, wonderful people. So far so good. In the spirit of wanting to keep the good things going, here are a few things you should know.
- My wife has access to my Facebook account on her phone. She can read any post, any time. When the private message from the spambot arrived, the first thing I did was hand her my phone and show it to her. It’s only common sense that we should be transparent with our spouses with our on-line activities. I don’t try to be someone else on-line than I am at home. And I know too many sad stories that started off as Facebook flirtations.
- I send my wife copies of all the e-mails I get from my readers. She enjoys reading them too. We both love hearing from you. She won’t e-mail you back however from my account. That would be weird.
- Seneca once wrote: “We should live as if we were in public view, and think, too, as if someone could peer into the inmost recesses of our hearts.” I think these are wise words. I’ve been very transparent on this blog about my personal beliefs, my opinions, and my gratitude towards you…my readers and friends. I love hearing when my writing has made someone want to be a better human being. That’s my goal. There is plenty of darkness in this world. We need a few more light bulbs.
- I don’t comment on reviews posted to Amazon, unless it’s to respond to a shout out from the reviewer to me personally. Same thing for Goodreads, though I have been known to ‘like’ a review that touched me personally and made me smile. If readers want to discuss my books amongst themselves, that’s great. If you’d like me to comment on something, invite me to the conversation.
This year has been an amazing ride as I’ve witnessed the full power of Amazon’s publishing platform. I feel lucky and blessed to have experienced this rise with you. By June we passed 100,000 sales. As of this posting, we’ve more than doubled that across all my books. The ride isn’t over yet. Thanks for being a part of it!
Your friend (really),
P.S. One more thing–I was on TV this month! No, not an interview but I was in San Francisco on business and was caught in the background while the CEO of my company was interviewed by Fox Business News. I’m the guy slinking off-screen about 41 seconds into the interview: http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/2663051260001/what-computer-does-the-intel-ceo-use/
Now I know what I want for Christmas this year! So many cool tech gadgets to choose from…