Author platforms and protecting your intellectual property

iconsWe are constantly told that we need to work on our author platform – as many social media sites as possible. Well that’s fine. That’s the way the world is in the 21st century but how to find the time to maintain them all that is the big question! Of course it is a matter of personal preferences as to which ones you chose of the many. Personally, I have found that Pinterest, WordPress, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon and LinkedIn are the most useful for me – the first five in particular.

But I’m not writing this blog to say get on all these now. I actually want to talk about a problem that seems to be overlooked. And that is protecting your intellectual property. In Goodreads, more so than Amazon, I’ve found that unless an author completes their profile and identifies which books are theirs, things can get really confusing.

I am a librarian on Goodreads, a Goodreads author and a participant of the wonderful Australian Women Writer’s Challenge. What’s been happening recently for me is that I have read several books where the author’s profile is not up on Goodreads. This may not appear to be a big problem for a lot of authors. It’s just one of the platforms they don’t have time for. But what they don’t realise is that when their profile is not completed a search of their name (without a profile) will bring up all the books for that name and some of the titles will not be theirs! In other words the author is not claiming and separating from other authors, their intellectual property.

As I am, like a lot of authors:
Working full time
Writing my novel,
Doing my research,
Reading
Maintaining my author platforms
Answering emails
Blogging. And, as well:
Participating in the AWWC
And of course, trying to have a personal life…
There is not really much time for extra stuff.

That’s why I am endeavouring to help in a small way. I hope to assist all the poets that I have featured at my community page www.starvinginagarret.com in making sure Goodreads reflects what they themselves have written. I am also either putting up profiles of authors who don’t appear on Goodreads but whose book or books I have just read. And sometimes this might be an author who has died but whose work I feel deserves a new audience such as Jean Curlewis. (I still have to put up her three other books).

In regards to separating titles that is a delicate process that I only do in collaboration with the author. I cannot presume to know all the titles they have written. So authors make sure Goodreads reflects who you are and what you have written. You mightn’t want to have to tackle this but you do want readers to find your books easily – and that, finally, is what a successful platform is about.

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11 thoughts on “Author platforms and protecting your intellectual property

    • Thanks Vicki and because of my activities that I listed I’m very behind in my emails. I missed your invitation on LinkedIn and can’t find you. Can you request again and I’ll be quick this time!

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  1. Yes, you’ve made a good point, Debbie. I’m a librarian at GR too, and I try to sort things out when I come across them too, but as you say, it isn’t always easy, especially with lesser known authors who don’t have a Wikipedia page either.
    Maybe it’s because I’m such a keen user of GoodReads, but I think it’s more important for an author to be well represented there than on FaceBook and Twitter. GR is a reference place, whereas Twitter and FB are more about publicity. I would advise every author to make sure that they have a nice photo and an interesting bio there, and to make sure that, yes, they claim their intellectual property and make sure that their publications list is properly up to date.

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    • Well said Lisa. GR is the most important of the three and as an author it also google searches very well. I’m currently dealing with a rogue book that is on my bookshelf, lol. Waiting to hear from Goodreads to get it moved. With all the challenges that are being run within Goodreads it is more important than ever for authors to keep their profiles up to date.

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  2. Exactly Margaret. I’ve been working on the bookshelf of Judy Johnson and Goodreads has helped me remove the books that she didn’t author. I also add images where I can. As mentioned in my blog it searches high on google as well.

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