Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You Have My Permission To Slap Me Down

One of my colleagues (who knows about my secret life) asked why I don't strut around: "Look at me I'm a published author."

My response: "Do you know how much rejection is involved in each success?" But maybe I have a problem with self-promotion.

Self-promotion is a sticky subject. I want people to read my work (and like it of course...the two go hand in hand), but if I ever, for one fraction of a nano-second, come across as a cocky ass, you have my permission to lay the biggest case of 'net smackdown the world has ever seen. Promise me you will. No one wants to be that guy. I don't, at least.

This isn't about me. It's about the stories. It's about the readers. I'd quit if it were about me. Seriously.

I live in a constant cycle of "I'm not good enough yet..." That's okay. That's a healthy attitude. Perfectly healthy. Hell, in his introduction to Alone with the Horrors, Ramsey Campbell writes that what keeps him going is the belief that his best story has yet to be written. Now, if there is a list of horror writers who can rest on their laurels, Mr. Campbell would land in the top ten.

So when I received an email from Bards and Sages letting me know "Fresh Produce" was voted as the best of their April issue, I was thrilled. But I know where to tip my metaphoric hat. Readers make that brand of magic happen; thanks for voting.

Now, feel free to kick me in the @$$ and tell me to get writing.


Fox Lee said...

Oh dude, you are so far from cocky. It's like if I went around referring to myself as prudish!

Rebecca Nazar said...

Oh dear lord, you're as bad as L.R was with the Hint Fiction acceptance.

But if you insist, I can work magic with a truncheon. ;-)

Michael Stone said...

I just made you a honoury Englishman, whether you like it or not.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I hope we have our best work ahead of us, not that has been put out so far is junk, far from it, but I like to think of the possibilities of what can be.

Aaron Polson said...

Natalie - Har! You, a prude!

Becca - Point taken (point of the truncheon, that is--they come to a point, right?)

Michael - It is my honour.

Jamie - I agree. I'd hate to think I've written my best story. Yikes.

BT said...

Congrats on Fresh Produce!

Self promotion as a writer is a difficult tightrope to walk and not come off as cocky. I know an editor who recently met an author I also happen to know. They are both good people but the author was referred to by said editor as 'a very confident individual' - which I think was code for bordering on cocky.

As authors we need to get out there and advertise our writing and our successes in the hope that we will build a readership and gain the attention of an agent/editor/major publishing house so we can continue to write for the masses full time (yes, that pipe dream).

I think you do a very good job at being humble, a little understated and yet still spread the word about your wonderful writing - kudos to you, my friend.

Danielle Birch said...

Cocky...you...no way :)

Anonymous said...

If you want a kick in the ass, I would be more than happy to oblige. Now bend over! lol

But serously, you are never cocky. And you can take that straight to the bank.

Alan W. Davidson said...

I don't think that you'll be getting any smackdowns in the near future! I think Natalie's
'prudish' comparison sums it up nicely!

Katey said...

Fabulous about Fresh Produce! Mad congratulations.

Also, if you ever for a moment sounded remotely cocky, I think I'd be more convinced that someone had hijacked your blog than that you were an ass.

But the nature of these things is perverse. People who ought to be paranoid about such things never are, and people who ought not are in a perpetual state of wariness.

Cate Gardner said...

As the man who doesn't even list every acceptance he gets (not that doing so would make you cocky), you don't have an ounce of cockiness to your blood.

Oh, and every day I wake up hoping to improve and every day I'm convinced I'm getting worse. :D

Barry Napier said...

If you want some laurels of your own, all you have to do is swing by the Debris Contest post on my blog and look at all of the entrants that have listed stories by you.

I totally understand the uneasiness with self promotion, though. By going that route, it makes you feel as if what you have out there better be DAMNED good.

Brendan P. Myers said...

Can't imagine you ever coming across as a "cocky ass," Aaron, even if you had the bestselling novel in the land.

K.C. Shaw said...

You are definitely not in need of a smackdown. That's awesome about the story, and it's well-deserved too!

Aaron Polson said...

Katey - Point taken.

Cate - We should form a club.

Barry - Humbling, to be sure.

Brendan - Thanks. Let's work on that bestseller now, shall we?

K.C. - Thanks. Reality in full view now.

L.R. Bonehill said...

I’ll second Mike’s comment. Honorary English gent indeed.

Self-promotion has to be important though, especially the further down the road you get.