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Monday, April 25, 2011

Warning: BSP or How I Know I've "Made It"

Once published, authors face the dilemma of promoting their work. Where do they do this and how? Most use the Internet and its places of social networking like Twitter and Facebook, but they also use discussion groups, usually composed of other writers because “word of mouth” sells books.

Blatant self-promotion (BSP) is a hard task for writers, who, like me, generally spend their time alone writing. Being a “ham” just doesn’t come naturally because many writers are introverts and, after years of criticism, they stumble when speaking too loudly about their work, knowing the standards are high. Self-promotion is even more daunting when there are complaints on discussion groups about too much BSP. If even your compatriots don’t want to hear it, why would anyone else?

Grandma's job leads to murder in my
short "Lucky in Death."
I try to be shameless. It isn’t easy after being raised in an environment where promoting yourself was considered conceit. But I’ve also learned that if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. (Except, perhaps for your family and friends, if you’re fortunate) The SinC Chesapeake Chapter recently informed me that it had accepted one of my short stories, “Lucky in Death” for publication. The anthology, Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is Murder, will be published in 2012.

As a blogger, I read other blogs. One writer discussed various ways in which he knew that he had “made it” as a writer. I don’t hit the bull’s eye of high standards every time. But after seeing the other authors included in the Chesapeake Chapter’s anthology, I knew that “Lucky in Death” hit the bull’s eye. I had “made it.” Why?

Some of my fellow authors in the anthology are:
Donna Andrews, who has won the Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty awards as well as being nominated for the Macavity and Dilys awards
• Comedic mystery writer Karen Cantwell;
Barb Goffman, an Agatha contender this year
• Agatha nominated Harriette Sackler is also the Malice Grants Chair
Art Taylor, a frequent contributor to Ellery Queen Magazine, won the Derringer Award this year for “Rearview Mirror,” one of his novelettes, and
• Mystery novelist, Cathy Wiley.

I don’t know the other seven writers in the volume. But I do know that twenty-eight talented writers competed for fourteen spots in this anthology. Three judges, all popular published authors, agreed on those stories included. I’m proud to have a story in this anthology amongst such illustrious authors. Every now and then, I pull the brass ring. I’m savoring this honor so that when rejections arrive for other projects, I’ll remember.


Jim Jackson said...


I don't remember where I read this advice, but it was forever ago. Its essence was that if you wanted to be a (fill in the blank -- let's say a writer, shall we?) you should, (1) dress like a writer would; (2) do what a writer does & (3) hang out with other writers.

Applying this to you, I've seen you (1) dressing the part of a mystery writer when you posed with a handgun; (2) I've read your writing, so I know you do what writers do; and (3) now you are hanging out with others of your kind.

Good job,
~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks Jim! I've had other shorts published before. But I really felt included by esteemed peers with this one. I'm hoping that this might signal a break-through. But then again, I won't hold my breath.

Art Taylor said...

A nice post here! (And glad to be sharing space with you in the anthology!)

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks, Art. I was reading one of your shorts published in EQ about an ICW trip in NC this week. If you saw my page here on WWK, you'll know I'm setting my WIP in the Outer Banks. I have some questions for you, so I'll try to get your email address via the Chapter. I can't wait to read all of the stories in the anthology.

Warren Bull said...

Congratulations! Persistence and more persistence are the two hallmarks of someone who "made it." Enjoy it.
Then, my friend, it's time to get back to work.

E. B. Davis said...

I am! I am! There's that other anthology--the one you've already submitted to, I saw (of course!) I'm revising as we post. Thanks, Warren-the prolific one.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

E.B. excellent! You will of course let us know when and where we can get our hands on this illustrious read?

The true secrete is those authors when they read your name are saying, oh my gosh, my story made it into an anthology with E.B. Davis!!!

Well done.

E. B. Davis said...

Ha! Donnell--I like your perspective--even if that cart is preceding the horse. Maybe I'll keep writing.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Good for you! Enjoy your moment, your illustrious company, and keep on writing!

Betsy Bitner said...

I agree. BSP is very hard to do - but you've earned the right to crow as loudly as you like. Congratulations, sounds like a great anthology!

Kaye George said...

Elaine, SCORE! That is indeed a good acceptance! You've worked very hard for this and I'm happy your story is in such good company. I hope you have some awesome signings!

E. B. Davis said...

Marilyn, Kaye & Besty-thank you so much. I think the anthology will be terrific. Publication is a way off, but we start the editing process in a month or so, which will be an education. I signed an agreement to help push the anthology, so I'll let everyone know when it's released. Thanks again!

Pauline Alldred said...

Great news, Elaine. You certainly deserve the success. Then it's on to the next hurdle which you will clear.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks Pauline-I'm loving it now. A writer's life is full of highs and lows so dance when you can!

Ellis Vidler said...

Way to go, Elaine! Terrific. I'll be looking for "Lucky in Death." Interesting title. It brings a number of possibilities to mind.

I'm so glad you've crowed a little (and it was only a very little). We get to do that so rarely, we should enjoy it and shout about it! Good for you. I'm thrilled.

Anonymous said...

Congrats, EB! I definitely think a little BSP is called for here. :o)

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks Ellis and Alyx-I'm really happy about this short, and its inclusion in the anthology. There are so many well known and talented writers, I'll have to trust the editors that my short fits. Thank you!