Watch Your Words by S.E. Holden
In this digital age of information oversaturation, everyone wants to know more about an author and they want to know it now. A simple bio on a back cover or within an ebook underneath a dramatic glamour shot portrait doesn’t cut it anymore. It simply serves to whet a reader’s appetite, driving them to the Internet to confer with the great and mystical seer perched atop Mount Google. What will they find?
Everyone has a past. One of the great axioms of life is that, unless you have a time machine or know a really good hacker, you cannot change the past. Do your own Google search and find out what surprises the web holds about you before an interested public does and be prepared to handle it if and when someone parades your less than stellar moments in front of you. Perhaps there’s a drunken picture of you at the frat party kissing the ass-end of a lipstick-wearing goat. Or, in the case of us writers, perhaps it’s a particularly nasty piece of fictional drivel we banged out one night and posted, thinking it was the next major contribution to the literary world that has us bowing our head in shame. Contact the site owner to see if he or she will take it down. If they do, great. If they don’t, and it surfaces, be prepared with a snappy retort designed to defuse a potentially embarrassing situation before it goes viral. Own up to it and move on.
Back in the day, before the internet and email and Twitter and texting, a picture and bio was pretty much all the information a reader had. Maybe around release time, bestselling authors went on a press tour and did some book signings and interviews that granted a brief glimpse into the person behind the stories. Now, though, it’s a brave new world, and interaction with readers and the writing community is a daily occurrence.
Contrary to the immutable past, we can control our online persona(s). A lot of us create pen names, or alter egos, like Batman has Bruce Wayne or Peter Parker has Spiderman, that grant us some level of anonymity or separation between our personal lives and our writing lives. With this separation comes great responsibility. (Sorry, I had to work the whole ‘great responsibility’ thing in here somewhere.) We are the puppet masters of our alter egos. We control what our character says and how they say it with the relative bravery of being out of range (Thanks to Roger Waters who introduced me to the concept.)
There’s an old corporate saying (I seem to be captain cliché today), “Be careful of the toes you step on today, they may be attached to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.” This is not only true in the corporate environment, but also in everyday online communication for us writers. You never know who is listening in. If you talk on multiple Yahoo loops or automatically accept every friend request on Facebook, you can never be too sure of your total audience. Be mindful of what you post.
I’m not advocating that you sit back and be a little mouse, afraid to voice your true opinion. No, not at all. I’m saying to be aware that whatever you say can and will be around for a long time. So consider how you present yourself and your ideas. You never know if one of those lurkers could be an editor, publisher, or even a reader. And if you go out there, words blazing, the ramifications could be dramatic and long term.
S.E. Holden Bio
Since he was a kid, S.E. Holden wanted to be an author and explored many genres through high school and college. After greasing the gears of the corporate machine for many years, he escaped the Information Technology vortex to focus full-time on his writing dream. A romantic at heart, S.E. loves to write about committed couples struggling with and overcoming life’s obstacles only to emerge stronger. The fact that they have steamy, mind-blowing sex along the way makes it even better.
S.E. lives with his wife and two children on the west coast of Florida.
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