I like to run giveaways. I like to shop for just the right prize to celebrate a new release, and then ship it to someone who loves books and presents as much as I do. I love to mail out ARCs of that freshly printed book with a hand-written note inside. I collected stuff at RT last year for the sole purpose of mailing out goodies to all of you who love bookmarks and trinkets like that, along with some free books.
I’ve made some incredible online friends and I’ve gotten a thrill from sending packages to the Netherlands, France, Mexico, Germany, Australia, India… you name it.
But in light of privacy concerns arising after Kathleen Hale’s stalking of an online reviewer (I’m not going to give her any traffic via links, but if you want more details, search her name on Twitter), I’m going to be much more careful about running giveaways–especially when I ask for a snail mail address–in the future.
First things first: I’ve never knowingly misused anyone’s address, whether email or snail. I’m so careful about contacting people uninvited that I’ve probably missed a bunch of reviews, even if you liked my book in the past, because I don’t want to spam you each time a new book comes out (even if you follow me on Twitter!). After sending a package in the mail, I often delete the email with your address in it – but not always. I went through my email this weekend and deleted anything that had “giveaway” and “address” in it to be safe.
Even if I’ve sent a dozen packages to you over the years, I no longer have your address. If I do have a prize to mail to you, I will ask for your address and then confirm deletion of that address once the prize is shipped. Of course you have to trust that I’m true to my word, but hopefully you’re not entering my contests and such if you don’t have that trust in me in the first place.
Privacy is important to me. I have kids that I never mention by their real names. I have a husband who never claims my author persona on Facebook and many family members who choose not to connect my real life to my author life. So I value YOUR privacy as much as mine.
- I will never share or sell your email address.
- I will never add you to my newsletter because you contacted me about something else.
- I will never keep your snail mail address and will use it for the sole purpose of sending a giveaway prize to you.
- This shouldn’t be required to mention, but I WILL NEVER SHOW UP AT YOUR DOOR UNINVITED.
- I will never share your snail mail address with another party, for any reason.
- If my email is ever hacked, the only addresses they might easily find is any current snail mail prize waiting to be mailed out. All other addresses have been deleted to the best of my ability given that I have thousands sent/received in my account.
In the future, expect more gift certificate type giveaways from me and fewer prizes that must be mailed. I love to mail physical books out (even if it sometimes takes me way too long to get to the post office), but I do understand people’s reluctance to share that information despite my privacy statements. So I’ll always offer a digital equivalent to any giveaway.
If you’re interesting in reviewing my book(s), PLEASE do email or tweet me. I’m going to err on the side of caution and not blindly contact people who might be interested. I’m considering setting up a form so that interested people can contact me that way for review purposes, or tag your email subject so I know it’s okay to contact you in the future.
Reviewers, bloggers, and readers: thank you for all you do to share your love of books online. I promise to do my part in protecting your privacy as much as is in my power.