The Persona of a Published Writer

Being a terrible narcissist, I occasionally daydream about what I’d do if I were a published author, in particular how to deal with the question of Secret Identity without being some blah paragraph that says absolutely nothing….


I’ve come to the conclusion that what I would enjoy most is something seriously ridiculous, like a blonde wig and, well, if not giant sunglasses then at least some serious facemaking. Because we’ve been discussing the potential hilarious/disturbing sides of me as a blonde for ages (my family’s subcontinental), and also Lady Gaga. If I could market like that I would.


Anyway, I followed this train of thought from performers to famous writers. The generalizations aren’t that interesting, so let’s get a quick visualization of two people very well known in their respective fields, courtesy of Google Search. (I’ve linked the homepage of the images onto them, so they are credited as much as the original site did.)

Lady Gaga:
Reason #80 for why I want to see her live. The experience alone has got to make an amazing talking point.
Neil Gaiman:
YES GLARE AT THAT CAMERA oh I’m sorry I forgot I was not part of the Cheeseburger network.


Anyway, writers in general are presented as the sort of people you’d like to have a cup of tea with, the kind of people who have to huddle under a blankie every time a siren goes by or anyone looks at them for too long…the ultimate introverts. Interesting librarians. Intellectuals in ivory towers with little glass windows wherever there’s a book signing or interview or whatever, but it’s always from a certain level of distance. You’re not supposed to understand the person, you’re supposed to enjoy his work and only appreciate that one aspect.


I have to wonder if this huge distance comes from the days of anonymous publishing, when a lot of people with great ideas had to use pseudonyms to avoid getting in trouble or singled out for *gasp* being a published woman. Or maybe it’s because books are so old, stemming from the days before anyone could imagine a chance to see their favorite author all over the place. Or, yet again, it’s because of the venue: when you’re generally meeting your readers in a library or a bookstore there isn’t going to be much room for a dance party.

On the other hand, there’s the painfully obvious choice of most writers tending to be introverted. However, this is complicated with the shifts introduced by self publishing: a lot of people who’d never thought of it are getting into it, and while they’re not going to be full blown professionals I think it says something about the universality of writing as a means of expression. Not all writers have to be aloof.


Ebullience forever! If I had fans and they were awesome folk (well, of course they’d be awesome) I would totally go to a concert with them. (Clubbing could be…slightly awkward.)



Yes, I’m well aware that I just alienated half the American populace by using that word. And by, in that previous sentence, revealing what a huge jackass I can be. 😉


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