Building The Perfect Beast

sock puppet

Photo: viciouscritic, used under Creative Commons

As I’ve said before, the science fiction novel is sort of a Richard Bachman deal, written under a different name. This past week, I started putting together that name’s online presence. Don’t go looking for it. I don’t have any content for him… er… me… um… You get the idea.

It has been suggested I be open about the twin bylines and embrace it. I have my reasons for keeping them separate. Enough people, however, know enough about the enterprise that eventually, I will get “outed” as both the new guy and Jim Winter.

I actually don’t have a problem with that. At the same time, there’s thirteen years of baggage associated with Jim Winter, including a failed adventure with a micropress, that I’d like to ditch. I want to start over.

One thing I want to avoid is “sock puppet” syndrome, where an author or other artistic has multiple identities and has conversations with himself or herself to make it look like there’s an active and interested following when, really, no one’s home, and the person is just talking to themselves.

At the same time, it’s a pretty interesting experiment. How do you build a new network from scratch? What happens when the whole thing is revealed. My intention is not to deceive – You’d be amazed how, in our Facebook/Twitter/Google world, people get a little upset about that. So until all is revealed, the two names will simply not acknowledge each other. But at the same time, this is the first time I’ve done something like this in the Age of Facebook. What did I do?

  • Carved out some web space on a hosting account I own. This will include a blog that will be hosted there instead of on WordPress. (If you must go free, use It rocks.) The new site will need to be self-contained. As to how much programming wizardry will be involved, I can’t say yet. I do know the site will need to be mobile-friendly and easily connected to Facebook, Twitter, etc. Speaking of which…
  • I’ve staked out the social media space. There’s already a fan page (though no fans yet) on Facebook, a Pinterest page, a Flickr account, a WANA Tribe membership, and a Twitter account. Here’s the infuriating part. My first follower was… well… me. It lets me keep tabs on my both feeds from each account, but again, they don’t talk to each other. My second follower? A really ugly guy (judging from the picture) followed me, said he was really a girl, and offered to send me a nude pic. You know the block function on Twitter? No real followers and already I had to use it.
  • Blogging: Blogging here needs to be lighter anyway. I don’t want to go to once a week, but I do need to ratchet back from five days that I’ve been consistently doing for a very long time now. Also, I’m going to have to blog under the other name. More work?It’s one more blog post a week if I do both three days a week. In reality, it’s the subject matter. I don’t want to repeat myself. So the new name will need a set of subjects different from what I blog about here. That’s right. No presidential bios. And the new blog will likely be more writing and SF-oriented. As for personal stuff, I’ll have to work that out as I go along. Again, this is not sock puppetry. This is branding.

Social media guru Kristen Lamb suggests that you simply merge the two on one web site and platform. I think if I’d have handled things differently earlier in my career, I’d have done it that way. However, for reasons I won’t get into here, that’s not really feasible just yet. We’ll see down the road.

Maybe I and my alter ego will get invited to be on the same panel at some event.

Then I’ll have to create a third identity to write the ensuing sitcom pilot.