Ever since I saw this tweet from Erin Adair-Hodges, I’ve kept an image of it on my desktop. I’m in love with how she shuts up the patriarchy and shouts that she got a starred review from Publishers Weekly. I keep it to remind myself that valuing ourselves (i.e. engaging in fierce self promotion for writers) can be an act of resistance.
— Erin Adair-Hodges (@ErinAdairHodges) November 7, 2017
Isn’t it just what we need? Bold writers standing on their desks shouting not only about the importance of making art but also about the importance of the tender things they themselves dared to create?
I spend a few hours a week volunteering for the Tupelo Press 30/30 writing project. It’s a gig in which I use Twitter (@TupeloPress3030) to celebrate other writers. Trust me when I say it’s such a joy to see poets find audiences for their work! I’m not the only one who craves this kind of light. Here’s what Emily Yoon says:
I like when people I love and respect talk about their achievements, although often they're abashed to do so / don't want to brag. But I'm like NO, brag to me all the details about your glorious moment, let me be a part of the light and celebration!!!! *clingy*
— Emily Jungmin Yoon (@EmilyYoon) November 30, 2017
It’s not always easy to toot your own horn, but you must. You must. You must. You must. “These days,” said the old lady poet, “it’s one of the only ways to get your work out there.” You’re on social media scrolling and scrolling anyway, and you’re probably using it to praise other writers at least some of the time. Throw yourself a bone. Speak up about your own writing successes! Get to work on your own behalf.
Here, Morgan Parker celebrates the strength of her effort:
2017 when i became a marketing powerhouse (for myself)
— Morgan Parker (@morganapple) December 30, 2017
In the event that you’re ready to be super bad ass and stick it to the patriarchy right out of the gate, like Erin, or be like Morgan and market yourself like it’s your job (it really is your job), go for it. I’ll hold your beer. However, if you’re a little skittish, I offer some examples of other approaches below. May they inspire you!
(Note: Even though these samples are all tweets, you can, of course, be the boast-ess with the most-ess on Facebook, Instagram and anywhere else you like!)
1. Stick to the facts.
— 帅哥 / 陈琛 (@chenchenwrites) January 4, 2018
2. Share what others are saying about you.
3. Post cover art.
— feminist icon hannibal lecter (@hcohenpoet) January 5, 2018
4. Use a GIF. GIFs make everything less frightening.
My students just Oh Captain My Captained me so please send my mail to this feeling because this is where I want to live now. pic.twitter.com/2rwMAyrPVF
— Erin Adair-Hodges (@ErinAdairHodges) December 7, 2017
5. Share the spotlight.
— Natalie Eilbert | Climate Strike Every Friday (@natalie_eilbert) January 4, 2018
6. Allow yourself to be excited!
— Rachel Zucker (@rachzuck) December 21, 2017
7. Show your work.
— Kelli Russell Agodon (@KelliAgodon) December 30, 2017
— Jen Stewart Fueston (@JenniferFueston) October 27, 2017
8. Express gratitude.
— Sarah A. Chavez (@sa_chavez7) November 3, 2017
For now, though, I want to give a deeply grateful shout out to the folks who were kind enough to publish my work this year: @TheShallowEnds, @riseupreview, @TheEllisReview, and, today, @CottonXenomorph. Eternally grateful for their faith in my words.
— Anthony Frame (@anthonyframe) December 26, 2017
9. Cat pics.
— the hammer (@deadkitty12) December 22, 2017
10. Sell it.
Friends, snag a limited edition poetry broadside, if you pre-order GIRL TORPEDO through Cyber Monday. Send me a screenshot of your receipt and I'll send you the broadside <3 https://t.co/W83IUHCk3J
— Emari DiGiorgio (@Emari_DiGiorgio) November 26, 2017
Grab the approach that’s most comfortable for you and ready, set, GO! Better yet: get on the one that makes you most UNcomfortable. And you know what would be the bombogenesis of horn tooting? Use. Them. All.
And remember! You don’t have to celebrate acceptances only, as alluded to in the “tip” above about “show your work.” There are lots of ways to measure success: Do you feel like a successful poet? 7 ways to cope in the meantime.
Here’s where you can find (and follow) the writers included in this post: Erin Adair-Hodges, Morgan Parker, Chen Chen, Heather Derr-Smith, Eileen Chong, Hannah Cohen, Natalie Eilbert, Rachel Zucker, Kelli Russell Agodon, Jen Stewart Fueston, Sarah A. Chavez, Anthony Frame, Christine Hammer and Emari DiGiorgio.