Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Is a Custom Novel Too Creepy?

Well, I might as well say it. I was thinking it.

You might have been thinking it too.

So... is it?
Is a customized novel too creepy?
Is it an awesome novelty gift you would happily pay twice the price of a regular novel for, or would you think some psycho stalker dude is after you? I really hope you have some thoughts on this. I hope you can shed a little light on what you as a reader would want to have.That's why I dragged you all over here. 

So I'm asking - well, let's call a spade a spade - begging - for some feedback. Is customizing a novel really all that good an idea? Does staring in your own novel appeal to you or freak you out? As a normal reader - would you want your name, face and all sorts of other details about you crammed into a novel? Is being the star of a paperback adventure exciting or is it being a narcissistic dirt bag?  And if you had a customized novel would you show your novel with you on the cover to a friend or just feel weird about it? Would you worry that some creepy real stalker might get a hold of it? Would you worry that the person out there making the customized novel is a creepy stalker?

These are just a few of the negatives I can think of - believe me there are a lot more. I know that there are businesses out there that do this kind of thing regularly and they have all sorts of re-assurances. For example, they might not even see the details you fill out on their forms. They might just have some bot manipulation going on to replace your details with the details in the original story -so the 'personal' worry factor gets reduced. But what if a real person did the customization? What if it wasn't just a straight switching out of details a bot could do - say the author has to give you a bunch of nick names that rhyme with your real name or has to write an embarrassing event from your past into your story? Too freaky? Sometimes I think it's  like using the phrase 'hand made' to sell merchandise. Sure it might work for hand made crafts or furniture, but say, hand made ice cream? Ew. Yuck. Conjures up all sorts of nasty thoughts.

So,  just how creepy is it? There's a lot to think about. And I can only think up some of it. So please help me out by adding your thoughts to this list:

1. Everytime you turn around there's someone out there trying to steal your identity. It's scary. I don't even have to mention all the security you need just to be online. So how safe is all that information about you going to be when you transfer forms and things? Is your information going to a cloud? Is it secure? And what about all those pop up connection security notices and third parties? (This is a confusing last sentence I know - but all I can think of here is how when I sign into sites I often get that message that the connection isn't secure and my information might be seen by 'others.' What? How do we avoid that?).

2. If you want a novel with you in it, you have to give someone information about yourself. Maybe it's a bot and maybe it's not. You also have to give someone a picture of you. The novel has to get mailed to you. And what if you're a kid? You can see where I'm going with this? Creepy right?

3. What happens to all the information, pictures after you've got your novel?

4. Do you really want anyone to see a novel with you on the cover? Are all your friends going to think you're a conceited jerk and make fun of you?

Okay. That's a few of the concerns. But when I first started customizing novels - it really seemed like a good idea - time and costs involved not withstanding. I've customized a few of my novels for some young people and they enjoyed them. In fact some of them raved. (Possibly just because they stared in the novel - so maybe narcisism wins out in their cases or maybe not. Maybe they just liked the gimmick). Anyway, they encouraged me to do this on a larger scale. So I got started and then ... I waffled.

It's the creep factor.

Sure it's easy to do a detailed customization of one of my novels for someone I know, for children of friends or relatives. They know where I live and vice versa. They know me. But to turn it into a business online? I'm not that sure. What's the guarantee? If I order a custom novel how can I be re-assured that the supplier isn't some demented stalker or run of the mill nefarious evil doer bent on re-selling my information to the underbelly of society? And then there's the other side of it to.What if the person I make a customized novel for is some demented stalker nefarious evil doer? What then?

Like I said - I really need some feedback.  So... custom novelling a good idea or just too creepy? And if it's too creepy, what would concern you most about a customized novel? What did I miss? And for the other side...What would make you less creeped out about it? ( Not answering all of the questions on forms that give out information about you? Knowing the person who is making the book for you? Having the book mailed to a friend, relative or your parent's work? Please add your comments on that too).

Anyhow, thank you for reading this post and thinking about it. And please go ahead and add your comments now. I promise my future posts won't be quite this tedious.

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