I live in a small town, and most of the people here know I'm an author. The majority of them have probably never read my books, but they know I'm an author because of things I do. In other words, I have a reputation for acting like an author.
Example 1: I have a chiropractor's appointment once a month. It's the only way to keep control of the knots that form in my shoulders from sitting hunched in front of the computer. The chiropractor's office is a mere five minutes from my house. Good thing, because I am almost always late for my appointments. Sometimes as much as 45 minutes late. Same scenario every month -- I rush into the office, apologizing profusely. The doc and his receptionist laugh. "We know you," Doc says. "You were busy writing and totally lost track of time." Well yes, that's exactly what happened.
This has happened enough that my hairdresser now calls me when it's time to leave to show up at her shop to have my hair done.
I give all these people free books, as an apology for my lateness, and so they'll see what I've been creating during this time.
Example 2: I visit my local post office two and three times a week with packages to be weighed -- manuscripts I'm mailing, copies of books and galleys to reviewers, or donations or giveaway books. "You come in here more than almost anybody," the woman behind the counter tells me. "It's all those books and manuscripts," the postmistress says knowingly.
Example 3: Both UPS and DHL make regular stops at my house with boxes of books, galleys and other communications from my publisher. The boxes of books are conveniently stamped on the outside with the title and author. "So you write these, huh?" the UPS man asked one day. "You write for Harlequin?" DHL asked after delivering the umpteenth package from Toronto. "Wow, I never knew a real writer before." You may touch the hem of my sweatshirt, sir.
Example 4: At a local function I am talking with a new neighbor. Another person joins us. "Cindi's a writer, you know," she says. Understanding dawns on the neighbor's face. "I was wondering what you did that allowed you to hang around the house all day."
Ah yes, the glamorous life of a writer. Hanging around the house all day (in between trips to the post office) waiting for DHL and UPS to show up, always late for appointments. Oh, and I somehow find time to write books.