Shameless Self-Promotion

I am a writer. I have been a writer for 65 years. (I began at age 5.) I have had fiction in Best American Short Stories (edited by Joyce Carol Oates), I have won grants (from NEH and NEA and the Michigan Council for the Arts), I have had plays produced in Singapore and Off Off Broadway and Boston and Detroit and Ann Arbor and Seattle. I have had 15 books published and six more are due out this year. I have read poetry with Czeslaw Milosz and Phillip Levine and Joseph Brodsky. I was Brodsky’s teaching assistant. I have had plays on youtube. I won Hopwood Writing Awards in every category when I was at the University- Major Poetry, Major Short Fiction, Major Long Fiction, Major Drama, Major Nonfiction awards. I had a poem in Time. I had my picture in Life. (Though not because of my writing.) I was a playwright in residence in Bucharest. I teach poetry and translation every summer in Tbilisi (at the Rustaveli Institute) I won a golden plaque from the World Congress of Poets for my poem about Gandhi. I teach Literary Fiction at the University of Washington. I am on Chapter 51 of a verse translation of Rustaveli’s “The Knight in the Panther Skin,” which will be published this summer and should make a big splash. There is a substantial Wikipedia entry about me which I didn’t write. (Okay, my kids did. Still–) Through all of this (and a lot more), I have never really promoted myself or my work. All that has changed. I am 70 and I want an audience. This weekend, Amazon is running a promotion of my story. You can download it for free through Sunday, May 4, 2014- After that, it will cost again the princely sum of 99 cents. Go to, Enter Counting the Wounds in the search bar. Click on the title, and Click on “Download with 1-click.” After the story is downloaded, click “Deliver to kindle icloud reader.” (This is not really a kindle.) Read at– The “free” promotion has been running 1 day, and it has gotten 250 downloads. That may not seem like a lot to you; to me, it seems huge. An agent is looking at my novel and with a strong showing of “Counting the Wounds,” she might agree to represent me. I hope you will download the story. I hope you will go to my website,, and click subscribe. I hope you will follow me (@lynco) on twitter. I hope we can be LinkedIn together. I hope you will read my blogs- on “Suicide Survivor” (also posted here) and “WhatDo You Do When A Student Threatens Murder.” I hope if you’re a literary agent, you will write me and agree to represent me. Always behind my back, I hear time’s winged chariot drawing near. I have a children’s book I would like to see published. And another novel after this one. (It’s called “Aftermath”- Chapter One describes a woman being drugged and raped by two US Marshalls. Later, she has sex with her boy friend and when she discovers she’s pregnant, she’s sure it’s the boy friend’s baby. Then–)

I am tired of being the most famous writer nobody’s ever heard of. It’s not the money- My unpublished manuscripts are like children who are starving in my basement. I want them to see the light of day. I would be happy to go back to being humble once I have an audience.

I have now, I suppose, done the unthinkable. i have publicly tooted my own horn. Toot! Toot! Thank you for reading.

13 thoughts on “Shameless Self-Promotion

  1. All of that must have been incredibly exciting. What a run! Already. It’s neat that you gathered all those achievements together so that the one to introduce you at the “major event” has it all succinctly abbreviated, here. What a life! What accomplishment. The sights you have seen. I can relate to the need to push one’s creative off-spring out into the world. This has been a theme with me, for awhile. I almost avoid creating new writing because I am still hitched to the old (not that old), having told myself that if it is done and I’ve deemed it worthy, I now work in service to the work. Luckily, with the publication of Defiance Street, lots of my kids found their place in print. Read your remarkable and tender story “Counting the Wounds.” Thanks for finding this news means for delivering one’s spawn to readers.

    • Thanks so much for writing, Sandy. I hope to be in Cirque one of these submissions. Yes, we “work in service to the work.” That’s great about Defiance Street. And along the way, I’ve met generous, talented individuals like yourself. The next time you’re in Seattle, come stay with me. Or at least we’ll have coffee. And I’m coming to Alaska this summer. Hmm–

  2. Ok Lyn – now I can see it. Oh boy. You’ve done it now.
    How do you expect to remain famously unknown if you go on like this? What will people think?
    What will you think? Next.

    I like this. I think I do. I think I am still reluctant to do anything (say anything) like this about myself (and of course there is a lot less to say about me in the writing universe than there is to say about you – and I am sure you have not said it all). But there is a lot to say. Though I have been writing for only 8 years, I was preparing for it for the previous 60. So you raise this issue for me. Thanks. I think.

    As much as you’ve just said (and as much as is the huge attitude shift this post represents), I suspect you have only begun to scratch the surface of shamelessness. Good on ya! And keep up the bold work! Perhaps you and I (and others?) could do some ‘self-promotion’ woodsheding sometime?


    • Egad. Only the surface of shamelessness? I would be glad to promote Animalarky, and Ice House Press, that’s for sure. Thank you for your support- “Good on ya!”

  3. Dear comrade!
    Bravo! We all are living on the strange planet named SPRE( self-promotion rules everything)
    90% Of Selfpromoters worth a penny……
    You are from Other 10%
    It’s like archeology,diging into earth finding treasure,,, You are a treasure.
    Do you know that you a very good musucian, songwriter, with brilliant sensetivity towards
    world languages,do you know that you have lived your live with passion.Real one.
    One word will explain everything- Talent…… Gala

  4. Always a pleasure when “the obscure poet” speaks!

    The pleasure of a long life is, you know, noticing,
    how things pile up (accomplishments) +
    how things may or may not ever really take off (celebrity, + the lack thereof)

    “I am tired of being the most famous writer nobody’s ever heard of.”
    Alas, there are many who vie for this title! I have even introduced myself with the phrase….

    Wishing you all the best, in all things:
    may your heart’s wishes find fruition (in this world!)


    • Dear Joanne- But you know, “The most famous writer nobody’s ever heard of”- I am 70. So that gives me the the title, as far as I know. Thank you, Joanne.
      Most of the time my heart’s wishes do find fruition in this world- in the writing and translating of good work, and the sharing of companionship with you
      and others like you- of course, there are no other writers like you- You are the most famous writer I’d never heard of until Cascadia! I am going to Georgia
      this July, plane far and hotel/food paid for, and that makes other things seem fine. Also, I had a nice talk with Marilyn Stablein in Portland, and toured
      the fabulous Anthology Booksellers with Gary, so life is very good, indeed. Bless you for your good spirit and generosity. -Lyn

  5. Lyn, you are awesome and no way should you be obscure!! And no way are you 70!

    • What a wonderful comment to receive at the end of a long day. I just finished teaching my last class of the year and came home rather “let down” and discouraged- and here was your comment waiting for me. Thank you very much!

      • You have been an inspiration to me since I was in a workshop you held at a DWW conference at Oakland University; probably late ’80s. I’ve googled you from time to time to see if I can find what you are up to and I’m sorry you are no longer in Michigan. But I’m excited to see you have a Web site.

    • Att de själva skryter om att de andra blev rädda, att de säger att ingen av dem backade och att det är kul att vara öt¤jgnÃonare summerar hela händelsen jävligt bra. De var aggressiva svin som tryckte ned andra människor helt oprovocerat och de tyckte att det var kul! Fyfan säger jag.

  6. Lyn! It’s Michelle from Marianske Lazne and Jih Skola! I’m living in Tbilisi and see you’re speaking on Monday but I can’t attend. Let me know if you have time for coffee!

    • Hi, Michelle- I sent you an email. That’s why it’s great to have a website. (Even if I ignore it mostly.) We will make it happen. If you can, come this noon to the Library of Parliament- There will be the official BIG launch of the book. I couldn’t sleep last night. Anyway- then there’s Prospero’s Books and Tbilisi State and the launch of my book with Givi Alhazishvili at the Writers’ Union on the 13th at 7. (And then I leave.) Let me know if any of this works. Cheers to you!

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