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Privacy vs Promotion?

Got a question/comment about the business of writing or about the publishing industry? Here's your place to post it!
Chatterbox
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Post by Chatterbox » Mon May 18th, 2009, 1:04 am

You gang of hijackers!!! :D :D :D
Michelle, scary that very bored people who can't find something else to criticize will criticize an author pic!!! At least that kind of criticism speaks for itself when it comes to the critic's credibility... :rolleyes: I'm quite prepared for irrationality as well as criticism based on the facts & the logic. Not quite as prepared for people who deliberately or carelessly misunderstood or mischaracterize what I'm trying to do, or who try to divert attention from the real argument by trying to stir up an artificial controversy.
And yeah, there are a few people I've slammed on Amazon. Not many, but... So if I do this, I should take down those bad reviews? Although by that standard, I guess that since I gave Michelle's last a good review, I can come to her for reciprocity?? :-)
On a more serious note, it is all that weird middle ground between personal and professional that unnerves me. When I write profiles, half the time find myself thinking "I'd never want to answer the question that I've just asked this guy." The worst was having to do a story about Cantor Fitzgerald a week or two after 9/11. That still haunts me, even tho they wanted me to write it as much as my editors did.
Anyway, have reached out to two PR guys I trust who know the space & can evaluate risk/return tradeoff on this. The nature of the issues are so different from the ones that I usually have to assess in terms of cost/benefit analysis that I find I'm unable to make a rational decision.

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michellemoran
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Post by michellemoran » Mon May 18th, 2009, 3:02 am

So if I do this, I should take down those bad reviews?
I wouldn't take them down. They're already out there, and they're honest.
Although by that standard, I guess that since I gave Michelle's last a good review, I can come to her for reciprocity?? :-)
Haha. Anytime ;] Even if you gave me a one star review. A person and their book (unless it's an autobiography, I suppose) should always be two different things. Books are just pieces of creative work, and creative work can always improve and get better. I'm guessing your reviews weren't cruel, but rational and well-thought out criticisms of work that could get better. If someone blames you for that, they're probably having a bout of irrationality brought on by confusing themselves with their work. Ignore them. You've clearly put so much time into your reviews that I really wouldn't delete any. Although changing your real name to a code name does bear thinking about...

I guess you have to ask yourself, what would be the reason for keeping your real name on the reviews? Does it enhance or add to your credibility as a writer of the particular book you're publishing? If not...
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Chatterbox
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Post by Chatterbox » Mon May 18th, 2009, 3:23 am

Well, my real name on Amazon is just my first initial and surname, so it wouldn't make me instantly identifiable. And the e-mail listed on my profile in an alternative one that I only use when I need/want some anonymity.

I used that rather than something like "Chatterbox" to enhance the credibility of the reviews; I never saw the reviews as enhancing my professional work at all, but rather as being something completely separate. I've never reviewed professionally, or at least not since I was about 21 or 22, and don't really see that as a career move. :) Rather, it's a fun writing exercise in a different genre. The reason that I didn't use my full first name was that I didn't want this kind of overlap between work & hobby. This might be a good reason to think about a pen name if I do start trying to publish fiction. Sigh.

Don't worry, Michelle. I promise not to inflict a book about Wall Street on you for mandatory review! (For the record, it was 4 stars...) Reading fiction set in ancient Egypt is infinitely more entertaining than 'reality' in Manhattan's financial universe... And no, I don't do cruel (or personal) in book reviews. It's inappropriate.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Mon May 18th, 2009, 5:38 am

Anyway, have reached out to two PR guys I trust who know the space & can evaluate risk/return tradeoff on this.
Smart idea. They'll probably consider some angles and options that would not even occur to you (or us).
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Mon May 18th, 2009, 2:16 pm

I used that rather than something like "Chatterbox" to enhance the credibility of the reviews;
Heh, I've been attacked a couple of times on Ammy for that. One time it was by a "friend" of ABNA contestant I'd reviewed carrying on about not being able to trust a person who won't use their real name. Here I am with over 200 reviews and I can't be trusted whereas he used his real name but only had one review (can you guess what he reviewed?).

The spelling of my last name is quite unusual so I stick with a moniker. Although if I'd had any idea how far it would go I might have thought more carefully ;) :)
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Chatterbox
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Post by Chatterbox » Mon May 18th, 2009, 3:58 pm

Well the PR guys and my publisher concur -- publicity trumps privacy (this was the view after they had checked my Amazon reviews and found nothing there that worried them!) I won't change my Amazon identity, but anyone curious enough to Google me instead will quickly identify me. The PR guys thought getting a blurb from this guy might be good; my publisher isn't quite as convinced as the area of expertise is, umm, quite different. (celebrity scandals & institutions vs finance!!)

Misfit, LOL! You would think if he was reviewing work by a friend or relative that he'd have the common sense to cover what he was doing by whipping off a few perfunctory reviews so as to give the one that mattered some credibility. Or am I giving people too much credit for intelligent thought here?? :)

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Tue May 19th, 2009, 2:40 am

(celebrity scandals & institutions vs finance!!)
Or you sure those are different?

Chatterbox
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Post by Chatterbox » Wed May 20th, 2009, 10:52 pm

LH, touche!
Too close for comfort, actually.
Although celebrities are comfortable with the idea of being public (albeit heavily mediated thru PR agencies) whereas the folks on Wall Street hire PR agencies to say 'no comment' and say the press has no right to ask questions. Yes, even after they blow up the financial markets.

Nell_Gavin
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Post by Nell_Gavin » Sun May 31st, 2009, 1:57 pm

Chatterbox,

I'm a privacy fanatic as well. I actually have anxiety attacks over it, so I completely understand your position. Sometimes I'll feel okay about putting something out there, only to panic afterward and want to pull it back!

It helps to do it one toe at a time. This review sounds to me like a toe - something you can use to let yourself gently into it, and stretch your tolerance a bit. I don't think you'll have any serious repercussions from it.

Do you know what helps? Make a list of all the things exposure of your name on this review makes you afraid of. These must be tangible things. Once you make them real, list tangible ways to deal with them. They aren't so scary anymore.

Then watch any reality show, and see what kind of exposure people recover from, and viewers don't even blink at anymore!!!
Last edited by Nell_Gavin on Sun May 31st, 2009, 2:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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