Before I begin with the topic I’m blogging about today, I thought I’d post some of the chaos and mayhem I’ve been a part of since 2019 began. First off, my column at First Comics is back up and running. You can click here to read the latest buzz. Not only that, but my friend the Great Colleen Anderson had me do a guest blog on how my career has pretty much gone, and how I started a podcast and what I learned from it. Read it here, if you’d like to learn about happy accidents.
I’ve talked about self worth in the past. I’m not covering what I have before. Instead, I’m going to look at it from the point of view of products. In short, what you offer.
I don’t focus on that enough. Part of the reason is that my podcast tends to focus a lot about my guests and who they are. Having a clear sense of who you are is important. If you don’t know who you are, you don’t really have an idea of what you can offer. That’s not quite the same thing as talking about what you really do offer, and that is what I want to tackle here.
I’ve had a lot of different opportunities come my way since I won the Aurora. I’ve got a lot of cool guests I otherwise wouldn’t have as a result, that noteriety has allowed me to hit one of my bucket lists goals as an author and get into a science fiction magazine. I got three books out, and my fourth and fifth are going to launch soon, including my first novel.
What is that worth?
I actually had to put a number to that recently. I had an unexpected request for something that made me think about it in detail. What do I offer? How much do I believe that is worth? What will I really get for it? If there is a topic that screams imposter syndrome, it would be this one. Writers and artists in general dismiss their own work (me included) because it’s something on some levels we take for granted.
We know on some level it’s good. We may not have a way to quantify that good thing, but we know we’ve created something from nothing with a book, or added signal to the noise with a new podcast. That time you’ve spent working on it has got to count for something right?
I had to believe that when I started the podcast. I have to believe that when I write something. I have to believe in me.
There is nothing like a pay check for something you create. Nothing. Your work, your effort being rewarded in a quantifiable way that can put food on the table or pay a bill or your rent (or much. much more). There is nothing like it. If you’re even half serious about this, this is why you do this. Because on some level, you want to be appreciated for it, and you want to see yourself rewarded. It takes a certain kind of audacity to want that and make it happen.
And you know what? You need that kind of ego. A little megalomania is a necessity when you are going to sell your product, and to a lesser extent, yourself. It’s healthy. You need that self worth and value and you need to project that to your clients and readers that you can do the job required.
That does take a little chutzpah. But I don’t care who you are in any field. You have to believe in yourself to do the task in front of you. That confidence translates, even if you have no real idea what you are doing.
Could you imagine what a working union could do if their workers believed they were worth every penny and more that a company would pay for? That faith would move mountains, and probably inspire places for more profit.
As I get farther along with another book coming out (more on that next blog) I become more and more comfortable with who I am and what I do offer to publishers and more. As a writer and a podcaster, I know what I can do. I know what that’s worth. And I won’t budge.
That also takes some stones. A friend that I had coffee with a while ago was appalled at the idea of people asking them to do work they make a living with for free or for exposure. They refuse. I came out of that coffee with even more respect for this person than when I walked in. They model for a living, and for all their beauty, know their worth. You can see it in how they carry themselves. That refusal to sell themselves short adds something to them.
But this will happen all the time. People will ask you to do things and offer exposure as a payment. Very rarely is it worth it. I was looking to get on a podcast not too long ago to keep growing my brand, but they insisted that I sponsor the podcast in order to do this. Now this may work for them on some level, I have no idea, but the reality is I don’t feel I should be paying for a commercial.
Is there any situation where exposure pays? Some for sure, but the reality is that if they have the kind of platform that people are looking at, you can bet that they can pay for it.
You cannot sell yourself short with anybody or anything. You can’t seem uncompromising either, so to steal from an old friend, you need to figure out where your resentment meter is. The resentment meter works like this. Ask yourself a question when you hear an offer. Would you resent doing the job for the amount being done? If the answer is yes, then you shouldn’t do the job, you’ll resent it.
Simple right? So you calculate the proper amount in your head where you won’t resent any of the headaches and possible problems you can foresee. If that amount is reached, you can put your resentment aside. Always start higher than what you’d do the work for. That way if you get it, great, but if not, you can negotiate. But never ever deviate from whatever that baseline is. Ever.
Selling yourself short is probably the greatest sin artists do. Artists are not as respected as a lot of other talents. Every bit of value you get for yourself you have to fight for. You are worth whatever you set in your mind. So always aim high and to go higher.
Remember what you offer. If they really care, they will meet what you are worth.
That’ll do it.
Here’s a podcast to listen to. I’ll be back in a week to count to zero.https://www.podomatic.com/embed/html5/podcast/5290939?style=small&autoplay=false