Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Warning About Stalkers

Authors and Speakers: 
Do Not List Your Appearance Schedules Online

This article is being written to all who do, or are planning to do, any type of public speaking engagements. It is based on a negative experience I had several years ago when I lived in New Hampshire. I learned from it, and I want you to learn from it.

My reason for writing it is to help other authors and public speakers so they won't have a similar experience.

I belong to many online social, book, and writing communities. In some of them, there is a special place allotted to authors for posting upcoming appearance schedules -- and they're encourage to do so. This includes dates, venues, and times, and all are visible to the public.

While I understand the purpose, and realize their intentions are honorable, my future schedule is something I'm hesitant to post now and I would like to caution other authors not to do it. Here is why...

Do Not Post Speaking Engagements Online
I've had my website, Barking Spiders Poetry, since 1998, even before my first book of the same title came out in 2000.

Once the book was published and released to the public, I created a separate page on my website dedicated solely to my upcoming book signings, poetry workshops, speaking engagements, interviews, and author school visits.

A problem arose quite suddenly and lasted for a couple of months.

Everywhere I went, to any of my speaking engagements, or personal appearances, I noticed a man lurking along the sidelines. It didn't matter whether it was at a bookstore signing, a school visit, or eventually, even in a different town and state.

Wherever I went, whatever the event, the same man was somewhere in the room within eyesight, standing and silently watching.

At first, I thought he was merely a devoted fan, or maybe a reporter, but when he followed me to another state, I realized something very different.  I had a stalker.

Do Not Post School Visit Dates and Places Online
Be extra careful, authors and public speakers. The venue, time and date of your appearances should already be advertised by the school, bookstore, (or any other place you will be appearing), in their town's paper and in the local media (TV and radio).

I can't caution you enough to be wary of also posting the same information online.

Stalkers stalk you first online. You can never be too careful ...

Best wishes for safe speaking ...


Barking Spiders Poetry Website - CJ Heck Books

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck


Hope Irvin Marston said...

H'm? I never thought about that. Thanks for the heads up.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thanks for the warning. That is a scary thought.