Recently, several people have told me that I need to put myself out there more, particularly when it comes to marketing myself as an editor. I tend to be a “let the work speak for itself” kind of person, but that, apparently, isn’t how things are done anymore. If I want to get more people to subscribe, support us on Patreon, or even consider anthology pitches, I’m told I need to take the stage… at least occasionally.

I find the concept frightening. Aside from it going against my severely introverted tendencies, it requires me to confront my own impostor syndrome. People seem amused when I tell them this.

“But you have three Hugos, a World Fantasy Award, one of the most popular genre magazines, and a year’s best series…”

That’s not how this works. If anything, those accomplishments contribute to it.

“Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.” (Wikipedia)

Looking back at old interviews, I’ve routinely credited luck and timing. I’ve described myself as stumbling into this field at age thirty-nine with no credentials. My background is in computer science and I took one (required) writing course in college.

It’s easy to start something when people have little or no expectations from you. I can’t tell you how many people told us Clarkesworld would be “dead within a year.” Somewhere around the third year, that changed. Being taken seriously was intimidating. Success felt great, but I was always ready for the rug to be pulled out from under us.

And then, four years ago, I had a near-fatal heart attack. It’s the sort of thing that reshapes your priorities and forces you to examine what you’ve been doing. I think that might have been the first time I honestly admitted to myself that I was a professional editor and deserved to be paid for my work, no matter how much I enjoyed it. That said, I’m still very good at ignoring the voice that says “you earned this.” That list of accomplishments… that’s what my childhood heroes did. In that light, it’s often a case of “I’m not worthy.”

That brings us to today. I can’t quite say that I’m a recovered impostor, but that I can blog about it is a promising sign. I can see why hiding behind the magazine has worked for me and I also understand why others feel I should “own my brand.” Perhaps I can step out periodically and see what happens. As I said, frightening, but maybe I’m ready.

If there’s one thing I find reassuring, it’s that all of the impostors I know have absolutely nothing to fear. They’ve earned their place. In that light, it’s possible I have too.


Four Years

Four years ago today, I had a widowmaker heart attack while attending Readercon. Fortunately, the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center was one block away. The doctors and nurses there saved my life. I’ll never forget what they did for me and I am forever grateful.

Readercon 2016

This Thursday through Sunday, I’ll be attending Readercon in Quincy, MA. Most of the time, I’ll be sitting at the Clarkesworld table in the dealer’s room, but on Sunday, I have a panel and a signing:

  • 11:00am – Autographing (with Paul Tremblay)
  • 1:00pm – Interstellar Empire in a Post-Scarcity World (panel with John Clute, Robert Killheffer, John O’Neil, Alex Shvartsman)

By the way, Clarkesworld was founded at Readercon ten years ago. We didn’t manage to get a celebratory group reading onto the schedule, but a number of our authors are scheduled for their own readings. Check them out!

Clarkesworld Magazine – July 2016


Our July 2016 issue (#118) contains:

  • Original fiction by Mike Buckley (“Helio Music”), Eric Schwitzgebel (“Fish Dance”), John Chu (“The Sentry Branch Predictor Spec: A Fairy Tale”), Jack Schouten (“Sephine and the Leviathan”), and A Que (“Against the Stream”).
  • Reprints from Linda Nagata (“Nahiku West”) and Mary Rosenblum (“Lion Walk”).
  • Non-fiction by Christopher Mahon (Paradise Lost: A History of Fantasy and the Otherworld), an interview with Michael Swanwick, an Another Word column by Peter Watts, and an editorial by Neil Clarke.

Amazon Kindle
Clarkesworld Android App – Google Play
Clarkesworld iPad/iPhone App – iTunes
Weightless EPUB/MOBI

Clarion West 2016

Earlier this evening, I had the pleasure of chatting with the Clarion West class of 2016 via Skype. I’d like to thank Jessica Silbaugh-Cowdin, one of our slush readers at Clarkesworld and a 2016’er, for inviting me. Had a good time and hope we cross paths again sometime–not just in the slush pile.