Dawn Claflin’s Greatest Hits

Well, it’s kind of a funny story…

Way back a year ago, I sent three essays to The Funny Times, and in July, one of them got published (next to Dave Barry, remember?)–netting me a fat $60 check. So that was great. This was not the funny part.

But then, in November, I got another check for $60! My internal conversation went something like this:

Me: Wow! Another $60! Awesome!

Me, Only Better: Yeah, but…you haven’t submitted anything to them.

Me: Well, they must have decided to publish one of my other essays!

Me, Only Better: Without telling you first?

Me: [hands on hips] It coulda happened.

Me, Only Better: Let’s just wait until we get the November edition and see.

Me: Oooh, I know! Let’s deposit the check, then see if they published another essay!

Me, Only Better: That’s a dumb idea. You’ll have to call and apologize if you’re wrong.

Me: [deposits check]

Well, fast-forward four months, and I can tell you from personal experience that no other essay got published. So I had to call. And confess. And offer to write a check back to them. Truly, deeply, ridiculous.

I should have listened to Me, Only Better. She’s always right.

But then a miracle happened! Because when I called and had to talk to the actual editor (how embarrassing), she said something approximately like this:

Dawn, you got paid twice because we published your essay twice. We liked it so much that we ran it again in a compilation magazine, a sort of “best of” edition. In fact, will you please send us some more essays? Also, here is my first-born child.

Well, I drew the line right there, because seriously, one first-born is enough for this mom. And then I had this conversation with myself:

Me: Whut-whut???

Me, Only Better: Yeah, about that…

Me: Yes?

Me, Only Better: I guess you were right.

Me: I’m sorry; I couldn’t hear. Could you please repeat that? Also, I think it is time to change your name.

I can already tell, I’m going to be insufferable for awhile. Meanwhile, please! Go buy copies of The Funny Times! Subscribe! Wallpaper your bathroom with them! Because it appears those people over there have great taste. And, lucky for me, a sense of humor.


Update: When it comes to self-promotion, I am NOT your daddy

So. Many of you have been so kind, and so helpful, and so curious about my experiment in self-promotion (which you can read about here and here).

The experiment was wildly successful! In terms of clear results, that is.

I hate being another cliched self-fulfilling prophecy, but I was pretty sure this was going to happen. I did not alienate all my friends with shameless self-promotion. I did not call on favors or debts. My essay referencing my daughter’s short relationship with a lint roller could not compete with the media circus of modern politics (no link necessary). And, therefore, my essay at Sammiches and Psych Meds did not get 2,000 unique views in 30 days. So, my payday is in self-awareness and entirely non-monetary. In fact, in terms of promotional success, my experiment is most like the geyser on the left .

And that’s okay! Because I learned a few things:

  1. My mom is completely willing to alienate her Facebook friends by sharing my writing on an hourly basis, and I am both personally honored and quietly amazed that she has any friends left.
  2. I am passive about promoting my own writing and am perfectly, deeply, profoundly comfortable with that.
  3. My friends, family, and writer buddies pretty much rule.

Thank you all for participating in my experiment. And now, I am off to continue another one, in which I see how many agents I have to query before one picks up my novel.

More on that sooner or later.

I’m hoping for sooner.


Cool photo credit: K. Shimada – K. Shimada, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5634475