I was looking up some information about the Pushcart awards yesterday when I stumbled onto this article. It's an "open letter" from some guy who advises writers not to list Pushcart nominations in their biographies. I thought it was ultra-fastidious and ridiculous. He argues that because a Pushcart nomination is common to thousands of writers, it's meaningless. This strikes me as nonsense. In the first place, as I've said before, your credits really aren't that important. They might get you a more sympathetic reading, by which I mean if I don't like something, I might give it a page longer than I normally would if you have a top-shelf credit to your name. But 95% of my decision comes just from the story there. I usually don't even look at the bio before I start reading the story.
To me, a Pushcart nomination means someone not only published your story, but thought it was one of the better ones they published that year. It's not a huge deal, but it's certainly not a negative.
One commenter really nailed it. Here's an edited version of what he wrote:
Publishing a story anywhere is goddamned hard enough. You... should tout that journal and then go around and brag the hellz about it because here’s the deal:
No one flippin’ cares anyway.
Not your writer friends. Not your mom. Not your priest. Shit. Even if you get a notable publication in a place high up on Perpetual Folly’s Pushcart nomination list... find someone who gives a shit. ...
You know who does care. The damn editor who accepted your piece in the first place. Listen to him or her, strangle-hug him or her, and bragz the flying F out of their zine because the chances of you convincing another schmuck to like your crap is a million to one. Literally. There are a million lit journals and you happened to find the one journal that liked your stupid story. And you’d turn your nose up at that?.. Who the hell are you?
Unless you’re one of five writers in America (and I suppose Canada and maybe a few other quasi-American speaking countries) who can expect a call from the New Yorker, you should just assume your story is shit and it won’t be read by anyone. So, writers-who-turn-their-noses-up-at-the-only-lit-ragz-they’ll-ever-get-published-in, I bid thee thus: Play with the first damn dog who sniffs your butt. Then yip your nutz off.
100% of the world doesn’t care where or how you were published and the infitesimally small percentage who does care knows how flippin’ hard it is to get someone to, first, read your work and , .B., get someone to actually like it.
Be one of the 60,000. Print out your Glimmertrain finalist certificate and paste it to the back window of your car. Goddamnit. Make a bumper sticker that says “I’m a published Hint Fiction author.” And tell all your cousins that you placed a poem at poetry.com and you have the 1996 anthology to prove it.
You’re writers, you bitches. Everyone hates you and no one cares.
Normally, the comments section anywhere on the Internet is a source of despair. But strangely, although this comment doesn't really offer much hope that anyone will ever notice what I do, I find that somehow hopeful. It was very hard to get my book published. It's an accomplishment. If nearly everyone now ignores it, that kind of just means I'm doing it right.