Friday, March 13, 2009

Your face on . . .

By Lonnie Cruse

Is your face on Facebook? Mine is. Well, okay, my book cover is. As well as MySpace, Squidoo, Crimespace, and Shelfari. And others. Are you there? Are we friends?

This weekend I saw a warning on the Internet that some of these public Internet spaces, particularly Facebook, are under attack by hackers. They somehow manage to take the profile of one person, and using that person's "friend's list" send emails to those friends urging them to click a fake YouTube link. IF you click on the link, you receive a warning that your FLASH abilities need to be updated and to click this link. DO NOT click on any links like this. It installs a worm or virus on your computer and to date there is NO cure for this virus.

Given the economy and the cost of promoting any author's books, the Internet is currently the best and cheapest way to promote our books and for readers to find/connect with us. Practically every author I know puts up information on these types of websites. And then they connect with other authors to become "friends." But doing so puts us all at great risk for damaging and disabling the very computers we depend on to do business, be it selling books, ordering items, or paying our bills. Scary. Dangerous. But, sigh, necessary.

So, do you subscribe to any of the above social networks? And if so, how do you protect yourself? Please share with us, we'd love to hear from you.

Incidentally, I'm in a mood to celebrate. I've just signed a contract with Five Star to publish the second Kitty Bloodworth mystery, FIFTY-SEVEN TRAVELING, due out July 2010. Share your thoughts on keeping us all safe on the Internet, and particularly on these social networks, and I'll draw a name from the comments section tomorrow morning and send the winner a free copy of my first in the series, FIFTY-SEVEN HEAVEN. OR if you happen to have that book already, I'll send you a copy of any of the four books in my first series, the Metropolis Mystery series. If you are named as winner, please be sure to email me your address. Click the email link on my homepage,


caryn said...

Good morning Lonnie,
No, I'm not on Facebook or My Space or any of those. I find I waste enough time on the computer with emails, DorothyL, a couple of yahoo groups and checking blogs a couple of times a week.
Congrats on the book contract. I LOVED Fifty Seven Heaven and am eager to read Traveling.

Sandra Parshall said...

I'll exempt myself from the book drawing, but I wanted to comment. I have a Crimespace page (which I've been too busy to update) but haven't done Facebook, MySpace, etc. I'm not sure what good it does a writer to have a lot of other writers as "friends" on those networks. Shouldn't attracting mystery fans be the goal?

In any case, I don't have time to constantly update a lot of online sites. If I spent an hour a day on that -- well, that's an hour taken away from writing.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Yay on new contract, Lonnie!!! I'm on MySpace to befriend not primarily writers but potential readers, especially mystery lovers and people in or connected with recovery from alcoholism and codependency, the themes of my series. I log in periodically to add new friends, make sure there's nothing toxic in the Comments on my page, greet my friends on holidays, and make infrequent announcements via bulletin and on my page about my mysteries. I've never gotten a virus yet. Liz

Anonymous said...

Hi Lonnie,

I form a circle, scatter herbs inside it, do a couple of chants from a cookbook and then say "What the heck." So basically, I haven't a clue. I just hope the computer I use to make my living doesn't turn on me like some sort of Steven King prop. Congrats on the contract. I'm getting ready to put together the dreaded book tour for the preserving food book and scribbling away on my mystery novel. Luck to us all. Karen said...

Actually I'm not anonymous. I'm Karen Brees and I clicked the wrong circle. I'm the one scattering the herbs.

Janice said...

Wish I could help on the Facebook thing, got talked into it, have been sorry ever since. Can't get rid of it either. I just don't check it, but I am not a writer so it wouldn't help you.
Can't wait for #2 to be published. Congrats and don't put me in for drawing as I have all your books. I am so excited for you.