Author brand protection : necessary or selling out?

I initially read a post by John on that asked: “When does a reader know too much?“.

To be frank, the comments are fairly illuminating and not entirely in a comfortable way.

Asides from the expected  and deserved condemnation of Orson Scott Card and vague mentions of Authors Behaving Badly, I have to admit I was surprised that readers were put off by a whole variety of things from sounding too “cocky” to their personal voice sounding too much like their narrative voice to being irritating that the “personal stuff” was being mentioned too frequently.

Then I encountered a blog post by Zoe Whitten where she muses about “professional behaviour” on the part of authors and what should and shouldn’t be expected of authors.

This led me to think about my own stance on author branding and interfacing with the world with a writer persona.

I’m going to publish under a pen name if at all possible. Under kyrias to be exact.

I don’t intend to ever publish under my real name because I want to keep my personal life and my online/public life separate.

Whereas I’m not going to hide my personality or necessarily prevaricate about my beliefs in order to avoid alienating readers, I also don’t believe that it’s either in my best interests or necessary to enjoy my work to know about my spiritual or political beliefs.

My real life name is also fairly identifiable as belonging to a certain culture and I don’t want people picking up or avoiding my books because of their assumptions on how the book is going to go based on my name.

I’m going to keep this blog as “clean” of personal drama and “stuff” as possible unless it’s to share a genuinely funny story that I think people will enjoy.

I know that sometimes I’m just not interested in reading about the minor details of an author’s life because frankly, we’re not friends. We might become friends if we ever had a chance to interact as equals, but in my mind, authors and fans don’t stand on the same footing. There’s expectations, assumptions, potential one-way admiration, and simple lack of reciprocity that just doesn’t make for a genuine relationship. And an author can’t be expected to try and build a real relationship with very single one of his/her fans.

There’s my two cents.

What are your thoughts?


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