I talk about Are You Proud of Me? with a bittersweet sense. On the one hand, because it was accepted by a friend, the pessimist in me wonders if this was the literary equivalent of a pity-fuck. Then again, knowing Ashley, who is not one to give in to pity, I I do have to believe that the story had some merit to it.
Some people, I'm sure, have wondered whether or not being published through a blog counts as being really published, as if a blog is less prestigious than appearing on the home page of The New Yorker.
In short, the answer is "yes". Being published online does count as a writing credit. This is something I learned while in grad school. If it's posted online, it can be redistributed beyond the original website, even if that website takes it down. Even if it's something you post on your Facebook page can be considered a writing credit. The short rule of thumb is: if it's online, it counts.
The next thing some might ask is how much I got paid for Are You Proud of Me? And to that, I can say I got the mighty sum of $0.00. That's right. This story brought in not one red cent to me, and now I'm starting to think like some of my relatives; if it doesn't pay, it's not real work. That's bullshit!
Ray Bradbury's early career was one of all work and no pay, and when he did start getting paid for his work, the reward was barely enough to buy a sandwich in today's money.
There's one thing Bradbury said in an interview that's always stuck in my head: if you make one story accepted per year, it's enough to keep you going. And considering that Are You Proud of Me? is the first thing I've had printed in three years, I'm holding onto that high with both hands.