3 Ways to Protect your Privacy as an Author

About a year into my wife’s career she got a letter from an inmate. I was never more glad that she had a PO Box 🙂  Once upon a time, that was all you needed as an author – but in a digital age – things have changed.

At a minimum, every author should do the following three things to protect their privacy:

  1. P.O. Box:  This goes without saying, but you need somewhere for all that fan mail to go!  If it’s anything like my wife’s, you’ll get manifestos, poetry, and plenty nice letters gushing over how great your book is!  In general, these are pretty great to receive – but you never really know who is on the other end.
    The Post Office is by far the cheapest – a small mailbox is between $30 a year to $80 a year (depending on how many boxes are available).  They’ll even hold packages for you You can search, see rates, and reserve online at http://www.usps.com/poboxes.  UPS stores and other mail forwarding locations charge between $20 and $50 a month for a similar mailbox.
  2. A separate author email: Hopefully you have your own author domain name – most hosting providers also include the ability to create email addresses.  Make a separate account and you can set it to forward to your current email address or just manage it as a separate account.
  3. Private Domain Registration – It’s no secret, but most authors just don’t realize that there home address and phone number are on their domain name registration – and this is completely public information.Try this: go to http://www.whois.com/whois/ and type in your domain name.  Odds are, you’re looking at your phone number and email address. Others can see this too. Your domain registrar should have the ability to make this “private” so it will be replaced with generic information… most charge a fee of $10 to $30 a year for this service.  There are a few that offer it free (which is why I started using Dreamhost a couple years ago).  If you just have one or two domains it’s not so bad, but if you have more than that, I’d suggest transferring to a service like http://www.aitdomains.com that offers free  private registration.
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