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CJ Heck

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By CJ Heck   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, February 09, 2012
Posted: Thursday, February 09, 2012

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To Authors doing book signings and any others who make public appearances, getting the message out there about those speaking engagements is important. I write this as a caution to be aware ...

Authors, Writers and Public Speakers:
Do You 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 and I began to do the first of my book promotion events. I learned from it, boy did I learn from it! My only hope in writing it, is that I can help other authors and public speakers to avoid a similar experience.

As a marketing tool, I belong to several online social, book and writing, communities. Lately, in several of them I've noticed there is a special place allotted to authors and others for posting their upcoming appearance schedule and they're encourage to do so. This includes the date, venue, and times, and all are visible to the public.

While I understand the purpose for it and I realize that the intentions of these sites are honorable, my future schedule is something I'm very hesitant to post and I would like to caution other authors about doing it, as well. Here is why...

I've had my website, Barking Spiders Poetry, for over twelve years, even before my first book of the same title came out. Once I found a publisher and the book was released to the public, I created a separate page on my website which was dedicated to all of my upcoming book signings, poetry workshops, speaking engagements, interviews, and school visits.

A problem arose quite suddenly and it lasted for a couple of months. Everywhere I went, to any of my speaking engagements or personal appearances, I noticed there was a man who lurked along the sidelines. It didn't matter whether it was at a bookstore signing, a school visit, or eventually, even in a different town. Wherever I went, whatever the event, the same man was somewhere in the room within eyesight, standing and silently watching me. 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.

Be ultra 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 where you will be appearing, in their town's paper and in the media (TV and radio). I can't caution you enough to be wary of also posting the same information online.

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

Best wishes.


Barking Spiders Poetry:

"May you always see the world through the eyes of a child." ~CJ  

Web Site: Barking Spiders Poetry

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Reviewed by Carolyn Kingsley 5/2/2012
Thanks for the tip. I've had something of a problem with this myself. I'm curious. Did you report the man to the authorities?
Reviewed by CJ Heck 2/9/2012
Thank you for taking the time to read my article and for your question. The school visits and personal appearances are where I make money, Mark, not just from book sales. During a school visit, I sell anywhere from 50 to 200 books, but for the school visit day in the school, with up to five presentations, I charge a flat rate. This year, it's $750 per day, plus whatever books I have sold. Yes, it's not only personally satisfying, but it's financially worth it. If I could get one school visit per week, I would be able to call this a real business -- the icing on the cake is, I love doing school visits and connecting with the students and their teachers.
Reviewed by Mark Lichterman 2/9/2012
Good information and suggestions, CJ, but I'd like to ask you a question: Outside of personal satisfaction, for all of your effort and for all of the work that you've put into your writing and the promotion of your writing, other than personal satisfaction, has it financially been worth it?

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