It seems weird to contemplate this about myself. What if I think its X and everyone else see its clearly Y? Perhaps someone should write this post for me, describing my public persona. If I have one. It would be interesting to see how we would be described by the readers who have met any of us, or even if they just know us by our posts here at the bordello.
On the subject of a pre-decided public guise I completely understand why some folks--writers, actors, musicians, what have you--put on that mask (like Batman's cowl or Clark Kent's spectacles) to protect their sacred self by concealing their true nature. For some, maybe the stage name/pen name is more than a privacy issue, perhaps it is instead a coping mechanism that helps a shy person be the bold entertainer the crowd is hoping to see.
In a wide ocean of authors, how does one differentiate and gain attention?
But if you're not writing something that is going to make national top ten lists opening week, I suppose that developing a persona to put "on" when you go to conventions could help you be more memorable. I see how that could work. But for me--and I don't mean this as a judgment of others--it would feel fake and that would undermine me in a horribly self-conscious way.
I know this to be true because at a convention early in my writing career, I volunteered to moderate a panel and selected my outfit (read as: spent too much time worrying about what clothes to wear and trying on a myriad of different combinations of things) to suit the perceived uniform of the con. I settled on a dressy top, longish skirt and heeled sandals. Not a bad combo, actually.
If I was going out for a fancy evening with my fella.
I wasn't overdressed or underdressed, but I also wasn't there to be the focal spotlight of my love. I wasn't seeking to be the spotlight of the panel, either. I was working and trying to wear the attire I thought others expected me to wear so they would take me seriously. Yes, I fell victim to that sick notion that the visible outside was what mattered most. It felt all wrong. Dressy Author is definitely NOT my public or private persona. My agent was in that audience. First thing out of my mouth afterward when we talked was something along the lines of, "Oh my god I feel so weird in this." My agent replied something to the effect of, "Screw them, wear what you want."
The "me" I let strangers see isn't the many-faceted me, but it is real. Anything else would be the wrong choice for me.