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How Do I Manage my Privacy as an Author? Other Questions Answered by Orna Ross and Michael La Ronn in our Member Q&A Self-Publishing News Podcast

by Alliance of Independent Authors
November 13th 2020

How do I manage my privacy as an author? Our #AskALLi Member Q&A is hosted by Michael La Ronn and ALLi Director, Orna Ross,and this month they'll be answering this question and mor... More

Welcome to ask Ally Self Publishing Advice podcast from the Alliance of Independent Office I'm Howard lovey. And this week it's our monthly members. Q and A where Ally members have their most pressing publishing questions analyzed and answered. And here are your host for the Members Q and A Corner. Ross and Michel Laurent Hello, Bear on Welcome to the Alliance of Independent Authors Member Q and A are monthly session where we take our members self publishing questions on answer them here in this public forum so that other authors can benefit from the answers to the questions. And I am here as always with the wonderful Michel Laurent. Hi, Michael. Hi, Orna. How are you? I'm very well. You're just just back virtually back from the Righteous Digest conference, I hear Yes, Yes, I spoke there this year. They went virtual due to, uh the thing that's floating around in the air all over the world. But yeah, it was a great

event and ah, lot of engagement, and you know it. I'm glad they were able to still have it despite everything that's going on right now. So very cool. Yeah, absolutely. And I think while Of course, you do lose something with not having a live conference. It is great when people all over the world can can attend. So I think when we're out of hopefully when we finally get out off this stage that we're in with coal. Would I hope that people will keep on ah Livestream dimension to their conferences? Because I think it's really valuable for people who can't who can't travel. But you have lots of questions for us. We do. We don't have a lot of times, so let's get stuck in. All right. So the first question is the theme of this month's episode, and I think this is a great question and the question comes from Marie and she Basically, she says she's a social media Foege and is wondering how to

manage personal privacy. When you launch an author business, would you advise sitting up social media accounts for your author identity? Would you take on pseudonyms? Um, what about P O boxes? And what are some examples of how I can manage my privacy as an author? Yeah, that za great question. It's a growing concern for people. Eso I'll just I'll speak to somebody who does have a pseudonym on. Not a lot of people know Orna Ross is not my name s o suited him, appealed to me. It was one of the reasons it appealed to me not so much that I was thinking then I don't think we were very much in those days about Internet privacy and on the way in which your data, your personal data, could be used against you and used to target you. But because I feel there's a slight difference between writing me and really me. And I kind of liked embodying that in a in a pseudonym. And also my publishers at the time wanted me to not use my very

Irish name and unpronounceable first name because they thought it would be a problem on the book cover. I've been very glad to have that, you know, it's it's a very, very slight little difference, but I do it just afford me some kind of not just previously, but also confidence in that in that separation. So that's one thing that I do. Second thing I would really recommend that everybody does is have a P o box or a separate business address. Don't put your home address on on your documentation because what's happening now is that emails go out with the address. Sometimes you don't even see it in, You know where your prepping your email. But your readers are receiving it as part off their email communication from you on it can, you know, it could go around the web, and I actually know and somebody personally who for whom the became a real problem. Andi S o. I

think again it's business like also toe have a separate business address from from your home address. Even if you do most of your work at home and a P o box is is good for that, um, in terms of the technical stuff I mean, how do you feel, Michael, about privacy? Is it something that you think about? Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I like you have a pseudonym as well, because I have, ah career in the insurance industry. And when prospect of clients in that industry are looking me up on LinkedIn or something, I don't it's not. I don't care if people know that I write books, but I don't want my Michel Laurent to be the first thing they see, I want the my real name to be the first thing they see. Um, yeah, I I agree with you as well in the business address. I think that's really important because just just let's also just be honest. There's some real weirdoes out there who will stalk you, and, you know, you just don't want to deal with that if you can avoid it. Um, another thing I would consider is purchasing privacy on your domain name. So

for it's, it's like an additional, I think, $10 a month or $12 a month. 15. Something like that wherever you buy your domain name. But if you don't buy it, What happens is whoever registers the domain name. By law, I believe in most countries they have toe list your address and the you know, the list, your home address. Whenever someone looks you up on who has dot net, so by purchasing the privacy option, it stops that from happening. So when someone looks you up, they don't see your your personal address. I think that is critical. That's, ah, exposure point that you definitely want to make sure you do, because otherwise you know, you could take all the precautions in the world, but people will still know your real name where you live so absolutely on. While some of these things vary from country to country in terms, we're just getting interesting and feedback here from Justine in Poland, who is saying that

heart in her country business addresses are public on bond, that they reveal how much people learn. And I think that's true in lots of countries. You can look up a competent, particularly, you know, if you're registered as a comp, but not if you're a sole trader or a partnership. What if you're a registered company? Anybody could look up and see your your latest accounts. That is part off being a company, But it's a different thing to have your actual home address being beamed out, toe to all and sundry for social media. I think the same sort of recommendations would apply in that. Don't use your personal private pro Facebook profile, for example, use the Facebook business page on. There are all sorts of reasons in addition to privacy for doing that, but and you know it, it go out there as a business on have that kind of. There is a reason why companies are given their own entity and are treated separately from you as

an individual person by law, andan accountancy matters and so on is that there should be that sort of healthy distance between you as a person on you as your business. And I think for authors, when you know our businesses, our passion and our businesses are our hearts and souls. It's terribly personal. The books that we right, yes, keep keep the sort of the, you know, the personal on the close connection for the books. But when it comes to actually setting up the business, having that healthy sort of difference and little gap between who you are on dure business is a very good way to approach all these issues, including privacy. Yeah, and another thing to consider is, well, is your It's this kind of a simple thing. But when you're signing up for new services, don't give you personal email out. Give out your business email because what will happen is you'll get stand. And you know there's all sorts of things that could happen with email addresses. And so, uh, email is

also another area where you you don't want your email falling into the wrong hands. Um, there's also other little things like on your website. For example, use a contact form. Don't just give your email address in text, because then bots confined it and then you'll get spammed thing. You're gonna get spammed anyway. But why invite additional spam? So little things like contact forms on your website? Not not Giving email addresses out that way is another way to protect your privacy as well? Absolutely. And all of these are important. Yes, so hopefully that has given you both some ideas. Onda sort of a way to approach it. Absolutely. So our next question is from, um Isabel. So Isabel sends in a lot of questions to this show. She says she is planning to publish a book that was financed by Crowdfunding by the author. I believe Isabel is a publisher and

she asks, Is there a specific type of contract for this type of book? And what should I specify in the contract regarding royalty? So she's publishing a book that is that has been crowd funded. What should she do differently? Yes, it's this is one freely to be worked out between her and Theis author. So it sounds like Isabel runs a relatively traditional publishing company that presumably will require exclusive sign up from the author in terms of the rights that the author is handing over. But we're in a situation here where by the author has already done aton of war, Um, on the marketing front, in order to raise the money in crowdfunding. Andi has obviously some money here to spend on dso. Isabel, Your big question for you is what do you bringing to the party? So in terms of being able to put the book together and put it out there, that's a very, very

low cost option for the author, particularly if if now it may be a specialty title it maybe if if she crowd funded us, but it may not. But it may be something that requires extra kind of impulse financially from, you know, for the cover reasons or illustrations inside or whatever premium product. I'm not sure, but regardless, the author is bringing a huge amount to your table. So the question for your contract is what are you bringing and certainly I would think in this case, a different sort of royalty split would be appropriate. Some AnAnd Vance is not so key here. If if they've already raised some funding themselves, so that is also off your table. So what? What are you gonna bring? I think that's that's really is the question that I would be asking if I was that altar sitting across the table from you. And you have any thoughts on Michael? Yeah, it's my contract knowledge

. I would say the biggest exposure e mean there's not legal advice. Please don't take it as such. But biggest exposure would be the delivery of the book, Isabel. So if you, um, our contract it to deliver the book by certain date, I'd make sure I hit that date because there are readers on the other end that have been told through Kickstarter or Indiegogo or somewhere that they're going to get the book by X date. So I would make sure that you deliver the book ahead of that date if you can, because that could be a potential exposure for you on Ben. Things like hold harmless agreements, indemnification agreements. Um, that's something you're gonna wanna pay attention to as well, but I would hope that you have that in your contract to But, um yeah, there's there's unlike, unlike a traditional contract, just that's just between the publisher and the author, and readers really don't know the book exists here. You have a situation where readers know the

book exists, and they're waiting for it. So I would tread carefully there and just make sure that make sure that you're able to deliver on everything you say you can deliver to the author on. DE definitely have a good conversation with the author about what they have promised. The people who have signed up for the crab funder would certainly at a minimum, you know, go into the crowd funding page, find out what's been promised. You can help in. Presumably you're going to be the person who's going to be doing the delivery in what has been promised. But there may be things outside the actual publication of the book that should be able to help with us. Well, so yeah, I think it it almost you know, all the standards trade, publishing, contract terms and conditions will apply, um, in terms of subsidiary rights I would argue that they should remain firmly with the author as as they've done again, all the work of funding it up to here. That's something for you again. Thio kind of work out

with them and come to an amicable arrangement. But yes, Sounds like a good a good project for you both. Yeah, absolutely. All right. So we got a question from Leo, and the question is, I'm trying to find a suitable cover from my book, but it's proving to be incredibly difficult where I have searched for quote, royalty, free images. There is, of course, a charge. That's kind of a missing over, isn't it? If for a publication, I could run into a lot of money if the book is successful or I'm looking to do that But I'm just struggling to find royalty image, royalty, free images that air truly free. Where might I find them? Um, I love on splash dot com. That's my favorite source. Um, it is supplied by photographers mainly s some artists to around the world to put their work up there and want under Creative Commons license

, and are happy for you to freely youth. Um, provided to their credited, so they would want to credit on your cover and in your Acknowledgments and on your copyright page of wherever you do your your credits in your book. Eso definitely that is one. There are a number, and so maybe you need to go to page three of Google because, ah, lot of these things were taken up with ads. Now, Page one and two is not the helpful place that used to be. And so you know, there are quite a few. But on splash dot com is my personal favors. Yeah, I don't want I have to be killjoy here. I'm not a fan of royalty free like free royalty. Free images. One. There's a significant amount of risk when you use an image that is completely free, like like unspool ashes. Great. But here's another scenario that people don't think about. And that is what if someone uploads

an image to a website says that it is public domain through the creative comments that it's free to use, but it's actually not free to use. What if it's stolen? And then what happens if you use that image on your book cover and you use it under the under the impression that it is free to use, but it's not actually free to use. Well, who's going to get the seats and desist letter? Who's going to get the demand letter? Well, you're going to get that So one of the reasons I always recommend purchasing world T free images or using a site like story blocks or shutter stock or something like that is one. Because you get that assurance you can rest assured that you're gonna have true permission to use that image, and that is worth its weight in gold. And if for some reason you don't have permission to use that image that's on shutter stock or can stock or deposit photo or whatever, there's lots

of sites out there. Those sites usually offer some sort of a hold harmless guarantee where they will protect you if something were to happen. So you know, I I know. I know there's a lot of people out there looking for images for free, and I get it. I understand it, but you just have to understand that that comes with a significant amount of risk because just because something's free doesn't mean it's actually free. So just just tread carefully. I always get a little nervous when people, um, people are looking for free images to put on their book covers because you just never know. I love that you always bring the legal dimension into these these questions with the With on Splash just for clarity. And not to say, You know, you could listen Thio as ever. Listen to both of us, and Michael and I have loads things where we completely align and then a number of things where we approach things slightly differently. I would always in terms of using an image from on Splash. The first thing I do is get in touch with the person

, the actual photographer who uploaded it, and I actually haven't ever used it for book covers, I have you use a almost weekly for social media images. Yeah, blog's story that that's perfect makes perfect sense. But for book covers, it's a little scary it because you've got the commercial jobs just going to draw the distinction that you've got the commercial dimensions, that you're actually going to make money from selling your book, which is a slightly different thing from using it on the block. However, you know, if you are in touch with that artist on, they took the picture and your confidence that they did. And you know you've had a conversation and so on. Perhaps it's fine to use it. As I said, you've heard the legal side. You've heard the working author side, so it's really up to you to kind of make up your own mind, but definitely with full awareness of the legal implications, I have also been on the receiving and completely unwittingly, I'm

a cease and desist away. Back at the beginning, when I knew nothing about such matters on the Internet was brand new, I used a Getty image. Andi got almost by return, got a a letter, and they wanted I can't remember what it was and it was something like £10,000 for this photograph. Eso Anyway, I didn't have to pay £10,000. Obviously, I just wrote back and said, Look, didn't hands up had no idea taking it down, you know, blah, blah, blah. You could do that with the blogged, or you can't do that at all. You know easily with the book s Oh, yeah, definitely be her. Yeah, and we've got a comment from Justine. If it's stolen, that's not stolen by you for sure, because there is no guilt on the shoulders of the person who didn't know who did what. You know, there's some There's some merit to that. Justine, Um, ignorance

is not gonna protect you. Ultimately, a t end of the day. The law is the law and, you know, nine times out of 10, it is unwittingly guess like Orna said, You don't know you did it. And getting illegal demand letter is not something I wish on anybody. And once you get one, then everything you know, you'll never you'll make sure you never do it again. And if you can avoid it, you know, avoid it. All right, let's see. Our next question is from Keith, and Keith asks, Does anyone have any experience with attempting to advertise on Barnes and Noble? Um, I get no traction at all from Barnes and Noble. They don't price match with Amazon. They seem like a dead zone for anyone trying to sell books as if they're from a bygone era. I've had some modest success with Amazon sponsor ad campaigns and my good reads giveaways have been very good value. But how do I reach out? Toe

Barnes and Noble? I gotta say, that's a comment of the year right there. Never had a candidate for comment of the year, The question of the year. That's it way get exposure on Barnes and Noble Way. Should we should run a prize session in December, where we go back over the best questions of the year on a prize for the best one. And yeah, so there are things in there that I way could talk a lot about if we were to pick up on them like it being something from a bygone era and so on. So let's just very quickly say that Barnes and Noble was set off a za physical company selling physical books on is, you know, while there has bean um, an e book side wing to Barnes and Noble for over a decade now on Bond Nuke on which is now called Bars, and Oprah Press, a self publishing platform. There, too, it has not received the attention that we would like to have seen us receive

. And so it is quite difficult. The people who do well, a self publishers who do well on Barnes and Noble, our people who already had a strong trade backlist and took it in on DSO. They just built on that, and that kind of went from there. And some some of our members are extremely well on the Barnes and Noble platform, but they tend to be American authors who had a history already off selling physical books in the stores. And there are exceptions to that. And sometimes books take off and you never really know why. But they certainly don't make it easy for you, Thio and make things happen there. The second thing is to be just to say, for the sake of ST, because it's important to us is don't always think about this. Is that on all platforms? Things won't happen on this. You kind of make them happen. So if you're not bringing anybody to the Barnes and Noble and you know your Barnes and Noble book, if you like your book on

that platform, you're relying on people kind of stumbling across it on board. You know it's no different to any other platform. That's not likely toe happen. The hope on the horizon is that we are assured that things are changing on that. E books are now, you know, moving center stage in a way that they haven't to date. So we're hoping that things would improve and that there will be ways that we can, you know, you convey, things happen there you can use um, book Bob Onder. Other advertising vehicles, promotion people like written word media. Who do you know, bargain books, every book. See, um, foresee library in those kinds of promotion sites, you can use those to drive traffic specifically to Barnes Noble. But you would have to ask yourself the question. Why would I drive from there instead? Off driving them toe Amazon? Have you thoughts, Michael on Barnes and Noble? You

know, Barnes and Noble, I There are a lot of retailers out there. Google play drafted digital apple. Might your term time be better spent focusing on them rather than Barnes and Noble? I mean, Barnes and Noble is great. I mean, I sell a decent amount there, but I don't do any kind of focus on the marketing. I just think your time would be better spent at another retailer where you maybe could get some additional exposure like Kobo. That's just my Michael Iran's opinion only. But But though I agree completely and I think this comes back to a core question that we all must be asking ourselves all the time, we have no shortage of opportunities. As as indie authors, we have far too many opportunities farm or than we're ever going to be able to use. So the thing is to go and do the things that are working for you and put your if you see something is working for you. You know, you you

mentioned your your Amazon ads and you're good reads. If you've got something that's working double down on that on, do you know, get that really humming before you think about adding in something else because you scatter your energies on bond? I think it's really important for each of us to decide. You know what is our what? Our top platform for a lot of people that will be Amazon. For some of us, it will be our own website. For other people. It might be kobo might be Google play or Apple because they're less less crowded. Whatever it is, you need to know what you tell your top platform is. And you need to be sending the people that you bring to the party. You need to be sending them consistently to warn rather than you can have the others. They're available. Definitely. Have your books on all platforms in all formats as widely as possible in terms off the work that you do to bring people over, you need to have a preferred clash

. Yeah, I agree. All right. Our next question is from Robert. And this is a common question. We get pretty often on this show. He says getting an ESPN number seems so confusing. How do I get one? Well, it depends on where you live, but essentially, you have to find out where the I s b an agency in your territory, resides. It will either be a company like poker in the U. S. Or Nielsen in the UK. It might be your national library, as it is in Canada and France. It depends. So if you just Google ESPN agency on put in Europe country name, you will find the place where you buy it We also have on Rog the ultimate guide to ESPN s Oh, we will include the link to that in the show notes. But again, if you just Google self publishing advice, ultimate Guide, Ally guide or whatever you will, you'll find

that And that really tells you all you need to know about ESPN's. All right. Our next question is a question regarding some of your work. Orna and that comes from member up. Just lost my spot there one second. Okay, sorry about that. It comes from Member Joy, and she asked, When will Lorna's Ross Orna Ross is book on self publishing? Be available 1st January 2020. So it's it's out of final edits now on on its on its way as e book 1st January and then the print a little bit later, and I'm considering doing what you did, Michael on generating the audiobook. Sure, making a big mistake with my Irish accent, but anyway, e think I'll give it a go. And can you tell people what the name of the book is? Oh, yes, sorry. I have to remember it's called creative self publishing. Andi

. The idea of the book is it's very much about applying the creative skills that you bring to your writing, applying them to your publishing on git goes through. It's a really quite comprehensive guide to the seven stages off the publishing process that goes into each of those seven. It also offers a sequence of success. You know, two ways in which to approach things, and it talks about creative business planning quite a bit on the fact. But you need to wear three hats in this job. Not just the writing, half the making hash, but also and the manager on the market here. So and, yeah, it took me a long time to put this book together because I'm trying Thio bring in everything that that you kind of learn in. When you're watching all the different members of Al, I do things in very different ways. On There are a lot of books on self publishing on the market. I know, but a lot of people, right from their own perspective, on feel that that is the way to do

it. If you like what? Um, yeah, What I've tried to do is bring together all all the different options and the 10 different business models that an author can employ. 11. Actually. Now we now have 11. 11 business, different business models. So, yeah, I've tried to make It is comprehensive and as wide ranging as possible. So it has killed me. I hope you enjoy it. That's awesome. I can't wait. I especially look forward to the business part. That's always just something we don't talk enough about. And our industry. It's so true. And in fact, another book has grown out of this cold becoming an author printer because I think there is. You know, a lot of India authors want to go so far, but then I think there's quite a sizeable and growing cohort of people who want to go all the way and not just make a living from this. But actually you know, do really, really well, and that is possible now. So that's what I'm working on them. Once this one is

, open out. Awesome. Well, do we want to do one more question and then wrap it up? All right, so that question comes from Michael Great name, By the way, I set up a print print ready version of my Kindle book with Amazon two days ago, and they emailed me here in Tasmania, Australia, to say that it's available for sale. But when I asked amazon dot com to send me author copies or retail copies, they said it can't be sent to my address. Do you know what the problem is here? So Michael is in Australia, wants to get author copies sent to his address. Yeah. Is there a way to do that? He's going through amazon dot com rather than dot com dot au that maybe the problem may be that you need to go through amazon dot com dot au. It may be you may be better if I'm not

sure if you followed Ally advice and did your printing on both K DPP, which is Kindle direct publishing. Print the KDP option. The Amazon option on also on Ingram Ingram Spark because getting copies from Ingram in Australia is relatively easy. Now there's a local supplier there, in the territory of which makes it easier, cheaper, faster all of that kind of thing. It's a little bit specialist, this question Michael, So if you want to actually email us in and we can follow it up with Amazon for you if we can't solve it ourselves. Yeah, I'm in the KDP dashboard right now and I'm looking at the If you hover over the the print version, you can order author copies and amazon dot com dot au is not listed in the marketplaces. Eso

My guess is that it's not available and you would have to use Ingram. Yeah, Yeah. Okay. Well done. Nice little bit of research there on the spot. Well done. Um, yes. So that's your That's your answer. And And if you want to nome or about any of that, you want to follow it up. And indeed, if any of our questioners want to follow in with mawr questions on anything that we discuss today, please always feel free to contact us on info at Alliance Independent Authors dot or gig on your question will get a private email response on and and yeah, I think that's it for another month. Thank you very much for joining us on. We will see you again next month. Form or Allied member questions. Bye bye. Take care, everybody. You've been listening to the ask Ally members Q and A with Orna Ross and Michel Laurent. Our weekly self publishing advice podcast is brought to you by Ally. The Alliance

of Independent Authors. Find more author advice, tips and tools that are self publishing advice Center self publishing advice dot org's And if you haven't already, we invite you to join our organization had become a self publishing ally. We could do that and riots. Independent authors dot org's Now What are you waiting for? Go write and publish.

How Do I Manage my Privacy as an Author? Other Questions Answered by Orna Ross and Michael La Ronn in our Member Q&A Self-Publishing News Podcast
How Do I Manage my Privacy as an Author? Other Questions Answered by Orna Ross and Michael La Ronn in our Member Q&A Self-Publishing News Podcast
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