Felicia Day is humble enough to stress that she's mainly Internet Famous.
"I'll go into a coffee shop, and maybe one person will recognize me," she says. "But that one person will be really smart, and we'll have a great conversation."
But for fans of comics, video games, and web comedy, Day is more than just Internet Famous—she's a virtual empire unto herself. She's helmed web series like The Guild, appeared on multiple network TV shows, and founded the production company Geek & Sundry. She also commands more than 2.8 million followers on Twitter.
Last year, Day added "New York Times Bestselling Author" to her résumé with her memoir You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), which she's bringing to Cat's Cradle, courtesy of Flyleaf Books and NC Comicon, for a Q-and-A and a signing of the new paperback edition.
The book sounds like the internet, with lots of emphatic italics and capital letters. It chronicles not only Day's homeschooled Southern upbringing, early adoption of the Internet, web entrepreneurship, and adventures in TV, but also her struggles with depression, anxiety, and the online distribution of her personal information in "Gamergate," an ongoing fiasco that broke out in 2014 over charges of corruption in video-game journalism that were really a thinly veiled pretext for the harassment of high-profile women in fandom.
Day says the biggest challenge of writing the book wasn't recounting the painful times. Rather, it was finding a way to make her story useful to others.
"It makes you see yourself in a way you can't when you're living in your own memories," Day says of the writing process. "I wanted to show that I accomplished a lot, but also that I failed a lot. I think failures are, in a way, more motivating—you learn more from them. It's something I wish that someone had told me."
She also found it tricky to recount creating The Guild, because "everyone's already heard that a thousand times." For those who haven't: Day found success in a web series about a group of people addicted to an online fantasy game who start hanging out in the real world. It hilariously contrasts the hyper-organized game with the characters' awkward, misguided approaches to everyday life and one another, in ways that are both mocking and deeply sympathetic. Concluding in 2013 after six seasons, with multiple awards and hundreds of millions of views, The Guild can still be streamed in its entirety on Netflix.
Day reached an even wider audience when she costarred with Neil Patrick Harris in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, the web series of future Avengers director Joss Whedon, who also wrote an introduction for Day's book. She's also had recurring roles on such traditional TV shows as Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Eureka, but she's still most comfortable online.
On the Internet, "you don't have to make something to please everyone anymore," Day says. "The digital world is always going to be the place I feel most at home, because it has that freedom of individuality. Old media has learned to sort of codify what they approve of, and that's fine, but digital media has opened a lot of doors for people to cross back over into old media with new stories."
Day hopes that the biggest lesson readers take away from her memoir is that "everyone has the opportunity to create," regardless of their origins or the challenges they face on the very same medium—the web—that gives them a platform.
"While you won't succeed one hundred percent of the time, and you'll make mistakes, that shouldn't dissuade you from attempting it," Day says. "Because that attempt is always going to push you to a new area and make you a person you wouldn't have become otherwise."
This article appeared in print with the headline "Internet Famous"