This is what shameless self-promotion looks like.
It’s not pretty.
It’s a pony tail and a baseball cap, some leftover mascara, a sunburned nose, a wine-stained sleep shirt (ironically, one from St. V’s NICU reunion), and coffee breath.
It feels a bit like whoring, all this plugging for myself. Well, whoring without the sexual gratification that goes along with it.
“Hey, Good Lookin’! You looking for a little action? Wanna read my essay? You won’t regret it, Lover…”
But I’m trudging through it because I firmly believe that winning this contest could be a turning point in my writing career. Truly. There is no monetary award for this one, but the grand prize winner receives access that is beyond my wildest imagination. Agents, editors, publishing houses, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, New York Times bestsellers.
And CAKE. Yes, the band is playing at the Notes & Words event. I do, indeed, love them madly. And I’m going to make sure my fingernails shine like justice if I make it to Oakland on April 28th.
I’ve written all my life, but I only entered this “vying for commercial publication” game two years ago. It still feels new and big and a wee bit scary. There are those who love what I write and those who think it’s a bunch o’ crap. And that’s okay. Thank goodness we all don’t like the same things. Variety, Baby. It’s what keeps things interesting.
But this whole Please-Like-Me plea makes me squirm more than a little. I understand how important it is for potential publishers to see that I can create a following, build a “platform,” ensure their ROI. I get the marketing side of it. I’ve been in the marketing world for many years, after all. I’ve written the whitepapers. I’ve penned the sell sheets. I bought the t-shirt. I get it.
And I also get that I want people to like my words because they like my words… not because I ask them to. And that some people might never see my words if I don’t ask them to look. Damn double-edged sword.
So, until April 28th, I’m going to continue to humbly request (or whore myself for — depends on your lens) your votes. I sound like a broken record, I’m weary of saying the same things over and over, AND that fabulous grand prize (agents and editors and publishers, oh my!) is so close I can almost smell it.
So, as I’m pandering, I also want each and every one of you to know how much I truly appreciate your support, your love, your encouragement. I am currently in first place, and I owe that all to you, dear friends, family, and fans. Those who have been in my corner for a long time know how important this writing gig is to me, how much it defines me, how much it ignites and inspires me.
I am standing on the shoulders of giants (that’s YOU) as I reach for this prize. Thank you for being so strong and so willing to help lift me up. I am grateful. I am humbled. I am ready.
And now for the fine print… and the plug… voting is tallied by “liking” my essay on the Notes & Words page itself. And if you’re inclined to “share” Gus’s story, that’s where the real social media magic happens. If you don’t like my NICU essay by all means, find one that you do like. There’s a great deal of talent and bravery and inspiration in these 18 stories. I’m honored to be among them.
My essay is called “Life Lesson.” Thanks for learnin’ us, Professor Gus.