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Why You Should Think Before You Post

As writers, we know free speech is one of our most important rights. But that also means we should be more aware of the power of our words, and not use them in haste.
I'm going to out myself as the writer mentioned in this amazing blog post by Janice Hardy, author of The Shifter, although I wasn't the only one who mourned its temporary disappearence. I think it's an important wake-up call to all the aspiring writers out there -- and readers, and bloggers, and pretty much anyone who uses the internet (so yeah, you!).
In this technologically candid age, where a big portion of our social lives plays out on our screens, it's sometimes easy to forget we're in public. We might feel safe in our forum threads, surrounded by pals, but anyone can drop by our rooms. Our jokes and dialogues -- public. Our rants -- public. And while that avatar might make us feel anonymous, we're usually not.

That WIP title in your signature? Googleable. Your book on sub? Googleable. The link to your blog? Googleable.

And agents do Google. So do editors.

And so do authors. The farther along you get on that publishing career, the more you'll realize authors aren't suspended in a separate universe, unmindful of us little ones below. They're people sitting in front of computers, just like us. And when you author-bash and book-bash (beyond thoughtful book reviews; I'm talking mean-spirited, bitter-edged commentary) sometimes, they find out.

Or their agents do. Or their friends do. Or someone who really, really likes the book or author does -- someone you've just deeply insulted.

I kind of doubt this, but -- maybe you don't care who finds your rant. Your words were impulsive, but you were only being honest! Well, there's another reason you should care. Those authors you bash might one day be your colleagues. And careerwise, I can't think of much more humiliating than meeting the subject of that bashing session -- an author who remembers your name.

Kirsten Hubbard

Kirsten is the author of Like Mandarin, Wanderlove, and the middle grade novel Watch the Sky.

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  1. Very good post.
    It's something I'll keep in mind while blogging.
    Also, there's a difference between stating an opinion (nicely) and being straight out rude/mean/harsh. If you'd like to say a book was bad, I don't think there's a need for expletives or name-calling.

  2. Great post!

    This is definitely something to think about, I'm going to be more careful with what I say in the future :)

  3. Awesome post, Kirsten. This is all so true. I'm sort of dreading going back and checking over my posts in forums, ha. That'll be a long day :)

  4. Excellent Post and very honest and truthful.. we all do need to remember as well that yes we may be passionate about this so called rant, But everyone is entitled to there own opinion.. so with that said sometimes you need to sit on your hands and continue reading.

  5. *cowers in fear*
    Definitely something to always keep in mind. People have found their way to my blog by googling far stranger things than the titles of my WIPs. It's not hard!

  6. Yes yes yes. Great post, Kirsten.

  7. Well said. I'm very cautious about what I say on my blog and forums (plus, I don't usually rant :p) Like Kaitlin pointed out, I've had hits to my blog from people looking up my titles and even my agent's name.

  8. Great post. I originally read that post by Janice and am glad she has re-posted it. I am very cautious about what I write on blogs and forums, because I've realized that things you write online stay there forever. Rants about other authors and/or their books definitely will not reflect well of us to other publishing personnel.

    There is, admittedly, a fine line between saying too much and saying too little, though: I feel hesitant talking about books I do not whole-heartedly enjoy, mainly because I do not want to step on toes. But I am trying to find a balance I am comfortable with.

  9. Sandy, I am working on that toes things, too, especially since I review books occasionally. How do I express my concerns with a work constructively without offense to the author? Focusing on the work itself and not the person writing it is the only way - offering positives is helpful, too. But bashing an author? Doesn't make sense to me.

    I've come across a number of people whose policy is simply to only review those books they like and ignore the rest. Not sure how helpful that is, but it makes life easier. :) Keep up the good work.

  10. You make some great points. I think diplomacy is the key to posting online, and at those times when you are feeling overly emotional it's probably a good idea to hold off on posting anything online.

  11. Excellent post. I really do think we should remember this when we post. I know it's so easy to think we're all just hanging out, talking, when really everything you do online can be eventually seen by someone else.

    Thanks for the reminder :)

  12. Excellent post, Kirsten! I think the old rule our mothers taught us can be adapted for online use: if you can't blog anything nice, don't blog anything at all. (Seriously, why burn bridges?)

  13. An excellent reminder to be mindful.

  14. This is very true. marvelous post.


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Item Reviewed: Why You Should Think Before You Post Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kirsten Hubbard