I google myself a lot. Early on in my career, I’ve learned that if there are people who like you, there are people who dislike you. Some may even hate your guts. Googling myself helps me uncover things that are potentially detrimental to my career. Case and point: earlier this week, I discovered that someone was posing as me on twitter. (The account has been permanently suspended.) This person had twelve followers and was posting updates along the lines of: “Download Maid for Me (my novel) here for free…” and “Justin Bieber rules my life…”
Other updates were flattering. I can tell this person was a fan of mine. The account’s profile picture was my author picture. The account claimed it was my official twitter account. And people believed it.
As an indie author, one who is also self-published, there are many woes I face. I am my own agent, PR person, accountant, and biggest fan. I am my own worst critic and protector. As flattering as having an impersonator was, it was also scary and potentially detrimental to my reputation and career. I realized how easy it was for people to steal your identity online. Indie authors must be vigilant. They must not be discouraged. There are a lot of hurdles we have to overcome. Nasty reviewers online. Cyber bullies. Poor sales. Haters. And now impersonators.
I’d like to share some tips with my fellow self-published authors out there.
- Google yourself at least once a day. Be extensive in your search. Don’t just look through the first few pages of results. Look through at least 15 pages of results.
- Take action immediately if something goes wrong. For instance, if you find out someone is impersonating you on twitter or other social networking sites, contact the site ASAP.
- Copyright your work.
- Ignore trolls but report reviewers if they abuse the terms of service on websites where they are reviewing your book. For instance, if they are making false claims against you and abusing you on Amazon, report the reviewer. False claims can negatively affect your reputation as an author, and decrease sales. False claims also fall under the realm of libel, and in some countries, libel is a crime punishable by law.
- Commend yourself on a job well done. This road you’ve taken is tough, but the rewards are boundless, as long as you don’t give up.
Good luck and happy writing!