Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How to Build a Strong Online Presence While Maintaining Privacy

I've got a very special guest today, the awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh. He's got a new book out (can I squeee?), I get to help spread the word.

If any of you follow Alex's blog, you know he's the king of authorly support and the father of ISWG (Insecure Writers Support Group). He's also a major player in the wildly popular A to Z phenomenon.

He's also done a rather amazing job at keeping his identity very low profile. Because of that, I asked him to write a post about how he's managed to have such a huge following and still be unknown.

So, take it away, Alex!

How to Build a Strong Online Presence While Maintaining Privacy

Thanks for having me today, Donna!

You asked if I would share some of my reasons for having such a broad social presence online while still maintaining some privacy–and mystery.

Writing was never my passion. There – I said it! Music has always come first for me. Writing was fun and enjoyable, but published author was never my goal.

And then it happened.

I made a promise to my wife – our life would never become a three-ring circus. I would not let the insanity of the publishing world spill over into our personal world. Since I have to devote so much time to social media, which takes away from our personal time, the only way I could adhere to that promise was to keep our personal lives out of the limelight. My personal life is just that – personal.

I never intended to be a man of mystery. That just sort of happened with the whole Ninja persona. And then Elise Fallson made Mini-Alex, and I had an avatar. It was easy to keep my promise to my wife.

How it all exploded into such a huge following? That still blows my mind.

Through all of the means, I have over 2700 blog followers. Add in Google+, and that’s another four thousand followers. (Plus almost fourteen million page views – whoa!) And I have about 3900 followers on Twitter. Plus there’s Goodreads. It just boggles my mind.

I think it all comes down to a willingness to share the joy of others. Not looking for something for us or compensation, but just a genuine desire to celebrate the accomplishments of others. If you possess that, then everything else will fall into place.

 And now the book ...

Dragon of the Stars
By Alex J. Cavanaugh
Science Fiction – Space Opera/Adventure/Military
Print ISBN 9781939844064 EBook ISBN 9781939844057
What Are the Kargrandes? Click here

The ship of legends…

The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, son of a Hyrathian Duke. Poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter, he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

But when the Alliance denies Hyrath’s claim on the planet of Kavil and declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray. Entrenched in battle and told he won’t make captain, Aden’s world begins to collapse. How will he salvage his career and future during Hyrath’s darkest hour?

One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?



About the author 
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm.



Have you read any of Alex's fun books? Hubby and I read them together. Well, I read them to him. :)

Do you follow Alex's blog or participate in ISWG or have done (or are in the throes at this very minute of) A to Z? 

Have you found it difficult to keep your public persona from taking over your private life?

55 comments:

  1. Donna, thanks again for hosting me today!

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  2. Thanks for sharing why you stay private, Alex. For those of us who haven't known you since the beginning, it's good to know why you started that. It's great that you were sensitive to your wife's concerns.

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    Replies
    1. No matter what, she's still the most important person in my life.

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  3. I think it's really sweet that you made a promise to your wife. And the philosophy of celebrating others is a great one.

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    Replies
    1. Nick, I enjoy celebrating others more than myself.

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  4. Nicely done interview, Donna. You're the one through whom I found the IWSG, and I'm so glad I did! Kudos to you, Alex, for honoring your wife's wishes. You can't fake a willingness to celebrate the accomplishments and joy of others, and our world needs so much more of that! I have read all of Alex's books. I follow his blog and participate in IWSG. I don't have a public persona. Now that I am no longer an elementary teacher and union activist, I actually have a life and it's mostly private! Have a great day, both of you!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Fundy! You are now free to be who you want to be.

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  5. You asked an important question, Donna, and you recieved a good answer. Alex said, "I think it all comes down to a willingness to share the joy of others."

    I believe in what Alex said, which boils down to the law of giving. When you give (genuinely) you receive and sometimes you get more than you give because of your propensity to give.

    Congrats, Alex.

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    Replies
    1. Wisdom for anyone in this life seeking joy! <3

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    2. Peaches, you said it better than I did!

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  6. Excellent interview and great answers, Alex. I have been fairly open with my life on my blog, and I haven't regretted it, but I can see that it could be a hindrance and a hardship. It's awesome that you honored your wife's request and you've become a mysterious ninja. :)

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    1. She's happy with my decision and that's what matters.

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  7. That's why YOU are the ninja, Alex!

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  8. But I already knew this about you! :P I can't afford doing what you do--devoting so much time to online presence with 5 kids to take care of. My opinion is that dads can get away with this kinda stuff because moms are needed more at home while dads go out and bread-win. Yes, old fashioned thinking, but that is the way of the child's mind.

    Elizabeth Mueller
    AtoZ 2015
    My Little Pony

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    Replies
    1. We also have no kids in the house - that really helps.

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    2. It is wrong for me to say that moms get all the kid attention. I discussed this with my eldest child and she feels, which I wholly agree, it depends on the dad's relationship.

      Does this mean that you don't do book signings at book stores or presentations at schools or libraries?

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    3. "My opinion is that dads can get away with this kinda stuff because moms are needed more at home while dads go out and bread-win.'

      I disagree.. but will leave it at that :)

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  9. Replies
    1. Miss you too, Elizabeth! That baby must be getting so big by now.

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  10. While it may seem I'm open on the internet--I have a picture ID and my writing name, I'm careful. I put out what I want known and no more. Like you, my private life is just that, private. There are quite a number of readers of my blog from my husband's place of business only a few comment most are subscribed readers but it touches me when they mention it to hubs or send me an email because I'm no one special. Just a writer and a blogger.

    I do like to help and support fellow writers, although various health issues have gotten in the way of that the past two years.

    I do remember when you first started blogging. I'm impressed with your growth and the time you invest in your followers. It has to take a great deal of organization to do that, work, and spend time with your wife.

    Good interview!
    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sia! I started the same as everyone - no followers.

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  11. I agree that keeping your private life separate from your public one is important.

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  12. I'm fascinated by how Alex has done it. We've never even seen a photo of him! I'd have a hard time with this since I spill everything about myself.

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    Replies
    1. Karen, there is a photo in the About Me section of my blog if you are really curious.

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  13. Even if we don't know the real you, we know the realer (yes, I am making up words) you. Your caring nature and sense of helpfulness comes out no matter what avatar you use.

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  14. I'm less private than Alex but I keep some stuff off the net. I think Alex's success is all about his generosity and that fact that he's such a nice person. And his books are GOOD and that speaks for itself. And he has so much energy and is efficient. Okay. I'm done now.

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  15. Alex, you are amazing about sharing the accomplishments of others. You must have more energy than anyone else I've heard of to keep up with so much and so many!

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    Replies
    1. When it comes to energy, use it or lose it!

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  16. I have always enjoyed Alex's blog for exactly those reasons. He is so supportive of other writers and their news. He seems focused on helping others. AND he writes. It's easy to see why he is so successful. And I applaud his commitment to keeping his home life private.

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  17. Pat tries to be private but the cat says hell no to that lol he spills everything. Have fun with it and help out and the followers and numbers sure rise though. Way to be ninja wannabe, you can even rhyme too lol

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    Replies
    1. I rhyme under pressure. And darn that cat.

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  18. Hello,

    Here for the first time, and enjoyed getting to know Alex's philosophy a little better. Applaud the commitment to keep family life private, and also the contribution to the blogging community. Wish him more success. Thank you for a very interesting interview.

    Best wishes

    Nilanjana

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  19. I know you like celebrating the accomplishments of other but with your following...I think it's something more. You have a gift.

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  20. Love getting to know Alex. Great job. Might try IWSG after A to Z Challenge is over.

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  21. I, too, made concessions to my spouse when I went online. I never mention our last name. My personal Facebook account is only for real life female friends and close family. My Life & Faith in Caneyhead Facebook page and Twitter feed does not share hardly any personal info. Not impossible for folks to find me IRL, but not super easy either.
    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
    with the A to Z Challenge

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  22. Alex's advice is not only wise, he lives it to the hilt. He's a remarkably generous, giving blogger who deserves his massive following. And yet, still, he remains an intriguing Man of Mystery....

    And a true Ninja.

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  23. Looks like I need to check out Alex's blog. I do belong to the Insecure Writer's thingy. So we need an avatar? I'll have to ponder on that one. The other thing I'm pondering is your amazing blog success. I'd love a little sugar coming my way in the form of visitors and commenters that don't want to sell me male enhancement medicines...;op Anywho, on my way. Good night.

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    Replies
    1. Heidi, glad you're part of the IWSG. I don't think an avatar is necessary. But it did help!

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  24. By the way, your link is kicking up an error. (There. I didn't misspell 'is.')

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  25. Alex is the best. Period! I'm a longstanding member of IWSG and can't say enough about it, or its founder!

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  26. Thanks for sharing. Maybe the music career will still pan out for you too☺ Can't limit a creative person to only one field.

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  27. Hey Donna,

    You really nailed that question... It's been something on my mind for years... and Alex did a nice job explaining his reasoning :)

    I'm pretty open(ish) on my blog... but I have kept the names of my three boys private (I'm a stay-at-home Dad and post a series called "You Know You're a Parent When..." and I *do* want them to speak to me when they are teenagers :)

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    Replies
    1. Mark, you are open and yet respecting of your boys. That's a good thing.

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  28. I have followers on several sites. It is wonderful to interact with so many. Alex is always generous and genuinely interested in others.

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  29. By nature I'm very private and shy, I hate to draw unnecessary attention to myself and I'm happy being the "behind-the-scenes-helper", yet I'm in the entertainment industry where I perform in front of crowds on a regular basis... it's totally contradictory, I know. LOL
    But it is what it is.
    Having said that, I really enjoy the online writing community, and love to support and help fellow bloggers/writers.

    Great interview Donna and Alex! I really love the way Peaches expressed it.
    Alex, your genuine spirit shines through in everything you undertake. It's really amazing how you've managed to balance your private and personal lives.

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