Jennifer Hillier

How do you want people to see you?

Aug 4, 2011 | Uncategorized

I was raised by a tall, beautiful, ultra-glamorous mother, and one of the things she always told me growing up (other than “Always wear clean underwear, in case you get into an accident!”) was, “Always put your best face forward!”. Which translates to: “Don’t leave the house looking like crap.”

I think this is good advice, because after all, should I ever have the good fortune of running into Brad Pitt at the mall, I’d want to look my very best. So I’ve never been the kind of girl who leaves home looking sloppy. Hair will be combed, lips will be lipsticked, shirt will be ironed. That’s just me (and my mother wouldn’t have had it any other way).

My fashionista mom at age 32, in Toronto.
(ETA: My mother has informed me she was 29 in this picture. Sorry, mom! Didn’t mean to age you!)

The scariest part about being published, other than reading reviews, is knowing that people will see me. A lot of pictures were taken of me at ThrillerFest, and they were floating around on Twitter and Facebook before I even made it back to my hotel room. It was mortifying; my first real reminder that I’m beginning to lose control over what people see – and read, for that matter. Somebody posts a picture of me having a bad hair day or sporting a double chin? Too bad, it’s out there. Somebody hated my book and wants the entire world to know how much it sucked? Too bad, it’s out there. (And of course I understand that my book isn’t me and I’m not my book, but it is a part of me, and I care what people think.)

I would have loved to remain this mysterious, slightly anonymous girl who Just Writes Books… because for a couple of years, I totally was. But that’s no longer realistic. S&S/Gallery is doing what they can to market CREEP, but a large chunk of that responsibility lies with me. And in this day and age where everybody and their grandmother is social networking, I can’t not put myself out there.

I may not be able to control everything people see and read, but I can control some of it, by putting my best face forward as much as I can. I don’t want potential readers to see my warts if I can help it (and I mean this metaphorically – I DO NOT HAVE WARTS, I SWEAR). So I do put a lot of thought into what I blog about, what I vlog about, what I post on Facebook, and what I tweet. It’s genuinely me, yes, but I can’t pretend that I’m not careful about presenting the best “version” of me, as much as I can.

So here’s my question for you, and this goes for writers and non-writers: How do you want people to see you? Are you the person you appear to be on your Facebook/Twitter/blog/website? Or is that just a version of you? And if so, which version? 

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