I recently wanted to contact a number of people to relay a fun and informational message -- not promo stuff! -- about an online event commemorating a milestone in the career of someone these people were/are
I had some addresses but after scouring the comments of famous person's said blog, I saw I needed to find 44 more. (Actually, I wanted to find a LOT more than that, but so many people who comment on blogs don't have a profile at all. Boo.) Of those 44, I tracked back through profiles to their blogs and websites. 18 people did not have any contact information whatsoever. 3 people had only contact forms on their websites.
That's nearly half who didn't have a convenient way for someone to get in touch privately.
I get the contact forms. However, many people like to keep a copy of the mails they send to remind them why they've contacted someone in the first place. Especially professionals such as, oh I don't know, agents, perhaps?
I get the privacy thing. Heck, I hide behind a penname. But there's no reason anyone online today can't have a separate email addy for their online persona. (I have a third addy for when I'm filling in forms when I'm pretty sure giving out my email addy will result in the company spamming me.) Just be sure to write your email on your profile or blog in a way that spambots can't pick it up easily, if you're concerned:
phoenixsullivan @ yahoo.com
Some of the folk I couldn't find a contact for may have a Facebook or Twitter account with their contact info. If they do, they didn't link back those accounts to their blogs or websites. Don't forget to connect the dots if you have multiple presences online.
Most of the folk I meet online are in the process of building platform. You're here to see and be seen -- as well as to learn and be helpful to others and all that other altruistic stuff, of course. Some of the most inspiring moments I've ever had were when someone sent me a private email to tell me how much a particular comment meant to them. Warm fuzzies keep me going! I've sent my own encouraging private emails -- and would have loved to have sent more had I had a way to contact the individuals. And a few private email conversations have led to really great virtual friendships. In a roundabout way, it's how I found my crit partners.
A lot of you resist having a Blogger account or a Wordpress or LiveJournal account. I can respect that as a personal choice. But for those of you looking to be professionally published and who intend to make writing a business, you really need to be looking at these accounts as a business choice, not a personal one. These are tools for the professional you.
Some of you just don't feel quite ready yet to "go public." May I suggest the time to do that is when you start querying in earnest? To that end, I hope to be able to talk to each and every one of you in the very near future!