The Ego Shelf
I think I’ve mentioned the Ego Shelf once or twice before. We joke about authors and their egos, and there is some truth to the jabs. Authors do tend toward the egotistical. After all, we think our words are good enough that you should pay money just to read them.
But the ego shelf isn’t about feeding the ego. (Not just about that, at least.) It’s not “Look upon this shelf and bask in my awesomeness!” It’s not about whose shelf is longer. It’s about … let’s call it positive reinforcement.
That shelf holds a copy of almost[1. I never received my author copy of the French edition of Goblin Hero, and I haven’t quite convinced myself to shell out the $30 to order a copy.] every magazine, anthology, and novel (both English and translated) I’ve ever done, along with my Writers of the Future trophy there on the left. And you know what? I’m damn proud of that shelf.
I’ve been told pride is a sin, and I realize pride can get you into trouble. But I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with taking a moment to feel good about what I’ve accomplished over the past fifteen years. It’s a good reminder, something to get me through the slumps. I’ve spent ten months working on The Snow Queen’s Shadow, and it helps to look up and remember that in a year or so I’ll be adding another book to the shelf, and people all over the world will (I hope) be reading and enjoying it.
I’d love to someday have an entire Ego Bookcase. And it would be fun to add a few more trophies. But no matter where you are in your career, I think it’s important to recognize and honor the work you’ve done, to feel good about that. Even when I only had a few semi-pro magazines on display … heck, back before I sold anything, I taped my rejection letters up because I was proud of them too. Because they meant I was writing and submitting and working, dammit!
Writing is hard. It’s okay to be proud of your work. Not only okay, I think it’s important.
Oh — and those of you with keen eyes or good monitors might have spotted something there on the right. Let me give you a close-up.
Oh, yes. Author copies of Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] have arrived at the Hines household, and there was much rejoicing. Don’t they look pretty all lined up together like that?
To celebrate, I’ve updated my web site with the teaser for The Snow Queen’s Shadow. This is the same text that appears in the back of Red Hood. If you want to see what’s coming next summer, feel free to take a peek.
June 21, 2010 @ 9:48 am
That shelf kicks all kinds of ass. Thanks for sharing it! I’m not even jealous. Not hardly. Though I do covet your Snoopy bookends. And that WotF tropy ain’t too shabby, either!
You’ve worked had to make all those books and stories. Enjoy them!
I love that the German versions are called “Die Goblin” and “Goblin Held”.
Jim C. Hines
June 21, 2010 @ 9:50 am
Thanks, Mike! I love my bookends 🙂
“Goblin Held” is my German short fiction collection. I’ve seen some backlash on that one, because they packaged it in such a way that it looks like a fourth goblin book, when in reality it only has four goblin short stories. If you translate the reviews on the German Amazon listing, there are some pissed-off fans…
June 21, 2010 @ 10:14 am
Great looking shelf, Jim!
I don’t think I’ve even had that much luck with rejection letters, yet. One from – I’m assuming here – an editor just flushing out a slush pile (I like to think this b/c I don’t think I’m THAT bad of a writer to get a 3 week turn around for a form letter rejection. Three lines and that was it). And then another I haven’t received… even though, they’ve had it for over a year and won’t return my e-mails. /sigh
Jim C. Hines
June 21, 2010 @ 10:20 am
A lot depends on the publication. Back when I was submitting more short fiction, FSF would reliably read and respond to stories in two weeks or less. Speed of turnaround is often just an indicator of how quickly the editors work as opposed to meaning anything about the quality of the story. (Not always, but often.)
Lack of response though, that’s frustrating. I had a few where I finally had to give up and send one final letter withdrawing a story so I could move on and try to sell it elsewhere.
June 21, 2010 @ 10:42 am
Jealousy is a sin also, and I’m totally jealous of that shelf. But it’s completely awesome.
Ok, language lesson for you (to reinforce your pride). In French (ironically enough, the language that you’re missing something in), there are two words for pride: orgueil and fier. “Orgueil” is the evil pride (i.e. relishing about how rich you are.) “Fier” on the other hand is to be proud of an accomplishment and is a good kind of pride (i.e. taking pride in a child’s success.) My point with this is I don’t see you as that negative kind of pride, but that “I accomplished something and I’m friggin’ pleased with it” kind of pride.
Good job! Keep up the good writing!
Jim C. Hines
June 21, 2010 @ 10:45 am
I like that distinction — thanks for the lesson!
June 21, 2010 @ 10:49 am
Well the quick turn around (3 weeks) was suppose to be a 3 – 4 month wait and the letter was literally 3 sentences long and didn’t take up even a quarter of the page. 😀
As far as not hearing back… it’s just frustrating. I haven’t withdrawn it from them (unless you count the wild cursing after ignored e-mails).
And I was more joking about the quality of the story… I honestly don’t think its THAT bad! 😉
June 21, 2010 @ 10:58 am
Rather jealous, Jim! I love the US/UK covers for Princess, but the German ones are very nice too. Very nice.
Jim C. Hines
June 21, 2010 @ 11:00 am
Thanks! With both the US and Germany, I find myself liking the cover for the second book better than the first.
Can’t wait to see what France comes up with for the princesses! 🙂
June 21, 2010 @ 1:15 pm
In my experience it’s really, really easy for those of us who have published novels (or other stuff) to get caught up in the My-Writing-Career-Really-Isn’t-Going-Anywhere mindset, especially if we’re either not making our livelihoods from our fiction or aren’t bestsellers, etc. Well, okay, let me say I have problems with that from time to time. And it’s always useful for me to look over at the shop shelf (and a quarter of the second shelf) to look at the copies of my books and say, “Fifteen years ago, what would you have thought of that?” I would have been pretty damned impressed. And to remind myself that Body Of Work is also important, regardless of whatever critical and/or financial rewards we may have received from it.
June 21, 2010 @ 1:19 pm
Pretty shelf. I think I could store mine on a vanilla cracker so far. Soon, precious, soon. And I also love those bookends.
Jim C. Hines
June 21, 2010 @ 1:40 pm
Yep. It seems like no matter how high we climb, we’re always looking up the ladder to the next rung, and we forget to occasionally glance down to see how far we’ve come.
Jim C. Hines
June 21, 2010 @ 1:41 pm
I remember when that shelf was just a single magazine. Okay, it was about ten copies of the magazine, but still… One step at a time.
June 21, 2010 @ 1:57 pm
Ooh, shiny… Hope I’ll have a nice, long Ego Shelf like that too someday… *__*
June 21, 2010 @ 3:22 pm
Of course… building up a drool-worthy ego-shelf such as this is the real reason we right. The prospect of getting paid for it? That’s icing on the cake, right?
(I lie: it’s really the reverse. Still… it must be a very sweet and delicious icing. Rather like Cream Cheese icing. Yummm.)
June 21, 2010 @ 5:04 pm
Ah, to see your name in print so many times… Keep up the great work, Jim! Can’t wait to read the last two Princes novels.
P.S.: That WotF trophy > Batman
Jim C. Hines
June 21, 2010 @ 5:12 pm
WotF makes kick-ass trophies 🙂 You could kill a man with that thing…
June 21, 2010 @ 11:19 pm
Great idea. Once we get moved into the new house, I think I’ll start my own ego shelf. Won’t be as lengthy as yours, but there’ll be a few things on it to help inspire me a little bit on those days when I feel like the Big Book Deal just ain’t gonna happen.
Thanks for sharing, Jim!