Auctorial Constructs


A while back on Twitter I told this joke: “How is Google Analytics like a pair of tight jeans? Both make me feel inadequate.”

Both Elizabeth Bear and John Scalzi spent part of their weekends talking about “auctorial constructs” or, as they put it, the tendency that people have to create an image of the author based on their books and blog posts– a fictional character, in other words, with the author’s name and face–and how difficult that can be to deal with.

Luckily, I don’t have to deal with it. Most (all?) of my interactions take place online and I have a very low profile. Daily hits on this blog? About 32 people per day. LiveJournal gets about five times that. I have twice that many followers on Twitter but many of them are marketbots.

In other words, my online footprint is vanishingly small and that’s okay. Pretty much the only people treating me as if I’m the pretend person in their head are my wife and son.

For me, this is the problem with going out and meeting people in person. I’ve avoided readings and only do one signing (at the local shop) when each of my books comes out. And I’ve been putting off things like conventions. This is because I know myself well enough to know that I do not do well in large groups of strangers. I struggle to figure out people’s body language, I get overwhelmed by too much input, I can’t think what to say and end up staring at people instead of answering their questions.

But that’s not the real me, either. I’m not like that with people I know (or when I have a very close RL friend nearby). I can also psyche myself up to deal with strangers pretty well, but this is iffy.

That’s why I’m seriously tempted to be one of those hermit writers. Not to be, you know, weird about it, but to basically stay at home and write, hang with friends (must start hanging with friends again), and avoid going out to do those promotional things that so many writers do.

3 thoughts on “Auctorial Constructs

  1. Josh Jordan

    I’m constructing a fictional version of you right now, and, let me tell you, you can shoot laserbeams out of your eyes.
    Now if I could only get you to sign books that way…

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