How I’ve made peace with my own bragging

i_am_awesome_embroidered_hat-p23384670347187661424jrf_400Authors engage in various levels of online bragging. Some announce every sale and every interview. Others let pretty momentous things–best-of reprints and awards nominations–pass unmentioned. To some extent, this variation influenced by an author’s relative place in the pecking order. Your first interview is always going to be more noteworthy (both to you and to your friends / family/ fans) than your hundredth. However, there is an issue of seemliness at stake as well. Some authors think it’s unseemly to write about their own successes.

And I agree with them. There is an element of unseemliness to it. And to the extent that it’s viewed as self-congratulatory (and an attempt to trawl social media for comments and likes), online bragging can backfire and make people think worse of you.

However, I also engage in a huge amount of online bragging. I can’t help it. My first instinct whenever something good happens is to crow about it online. Partly, I just don’t believe in sitting back and hoping that the universe will notice you. There are too many people in this world who are just waiting for the world to recognize their worth. I think that if you want acclaim, then you need to go out and drum it up. But even with that, I still probably go a little bit overboard…

My compromise, though, is to try to ensure that my bragging comes with some kind of value add. For instance, noting the number of rejections that a market has given me or trying to identify some aspect of this success that can be of use to other authors. For instance, in announcing my recent sale to Clarkesworld,* I noted that no other author who’s sold a story to Clarkesworld has been rejected by them more times. And that I got mor rejections after my first sale to Clarkesworld than I got before it.

All I’m saying is that I do try to bring some self-awareness to my bragging and to recognize that, while its primary purpose is to stroke my own ego, the bragging also needs to, on some level, give something back to my audience.

 

*Oh yeah, I sold a story (“Seeking boarder for rm w/ attached bathroom, must be willing to live with ghosts ($500 / Berkeley)”) to Clarkesworld. It will appear in the October issue. I am very happy about this.

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