I am a stalker.
I’m not ashamed to admit this because I justify it in my mind as a legitimate career tool.
Years ago when I was agent hunting, I wasn’t content with the short bios on agent websites and at agentquery.com. No, no – clearly if I could just determine an agent’s favorite ice cream flavor, I’d know for sure if we were a good match.
This was in the days before Twitter, and I’m a little ashamed to recall the fervor with which I gathered these shreds of information, googling for articles and blog posts and baby registries and poring over them like they contained all the secrets to writing success.
There’s no way I’d claim that helped me get my amazing agent. But I will say it provided a satisfying diversion during a nerve-wracking process that can make even the toughest author feel helpless.
My stalker tendencies didn’t abate once I had the agent. Instead, I turned my attention to googling the names of editors who had my work. By the time Deb Werksman at Sourcebooks offered my three-book deal, I feel fairly certain I had read every online article that included her name (including several written in Swahili).
Even with the agent and a book deal, I haven’t shaken the stalker habit. Now, I’ve turned my attention to my own website and blog. I use Google Analytics on both, and the amount of information available to me is a little staggering.
For instance, there’s clearly a value in knowing that five people from Minnesota visited my website yesterday.
Or that in the last month, people have accessed my blog by googling such useful phrases as “pythagoras had a pet,” “tawna sexy pictures,” and “what’s in your fridge for cooking.”
In all seriousness, the web stats can be fascinating. Three months ago, I knew when an editor visited my website because it was not only the sole hit I had from New York, but the sole hit I had all week.
Now, I’m flabbergasted to see that on any given day, 250 strangers visit my blog to see me blather about the hole in my jeans.
I won’t claim there’s an intrinsic value for authors in seeking out every shred of information you can find about an agent or an editor or your potential readers.
But being an author at any stage sometimes feels like stumbling along the highway with your hands over your eyes. Any peek you can sneak between your fingers feels delightfully empowering – even if it’s not particularly enlightening.
Are you a stalker? If you aren’t ashamed to admit it, tell me about it in the comments.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go figure out why my blog is suddenly so popular in Libya.