Monday, May 31, 2010

Don't You Know Who I Am?

I read a blog post recently from a short story editor about the importance of author bios, and how often they are misused.

This particular post, which you can check out here if you're interested, was written in regard to the bios appended to short story submissions, but it struck a chord with me, as I've been working on the content for my new website and have struggled a bit with what to include in my own bio.

Self-promotion doesn't come naturally to me. In my nearly thirty year career as an air traffic controller, I've always believed in letting the quality of my work speak for itself, rather than trying to draw attention to it. My theory, and it's been borne out over time, is that if you perform at a professional level for a long enough period, people will naturally view you and your work in a positive manner.

When I began writing, I naively expected to take the same approach - write a solid book, with realistic characters, crisp dialogue, and lots of tension, and then build on that by writing another book, and another, convincing the public as I went that my work was worth spending their hard-earned money to buy.

Well, I discovered that I AM expected to do all that, but in addition, I must promote myself and my work in a way that is completely foreign to me. I've got to sell myself as well as my work.

Writing is, by its very nature, a solitary activity, and writers as a group tend, not surprisingly, to be solitary individuals. Months spent alone in front of a computer writing, editing, revising, etc, ect, ect, must then morph into the ability to convince a skeptical public that I am someone who can craft a story they will want to read.

It's not a bad thing, in fact it's quite the opposite, but it is completely new to me. I'm pleased to have built up a decent resume over the three years I have been writing short stories and working on my novels, and I'm proud of what I've accomplished at this early point in my writing career, but it's still not easy for me to talk about. I would much rather you looked at my work and said, "Hey, that guy's pretty good!" than me jump up and down and yell, "Hey, you out there, look at me! I'm pretty good!"

That's not to say I won't do it, just that I'm not altogether comfortable with it. So if you do check out my website when it goes live, and hopefully you will, don't think I'm bragging on myself when I'm . . . you know . . . uh . . . bragging on myself.

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