I'm generally pretty bad at the whole "look at me, look at me" thing. Since I posted the exhortation to vote, and a tweet about the FlashFiction40 contest, asking for votes, I've gotten a couple of dozen votes.
Many of the stories seem to be floating to an average ranging from 2.5-3.5, with only fractional separations between. My own average is somewhere around 2.8 at the moment, just under "Average". How's that for a reality check?
With a large pool of judges, individual tastes will cancel each other out. There are some quite good stories, which I'm ranking high. There are also some rather bad stories which I'm ranking low. A best thing a judge can do is to make the best call possible. You have a responsibility to call the BS on the bad ones as well as call out BINGO on the good ones.
It is still early in the judging, and I know I shouldn't get too wrapped up in this for my own story. Unlike other contests, this is one where you get to see the competition in all its detail. There were some very good stories here, better than mine to be honest. Being in a position of hoping for a slot in the second tier is probably good for building up those ego-calluses.
Two thoughts war in my mind here. First, if I had but world enough and time, coyness in self-promotion would be no crime. I would wait forever for someone to notice my work while I sit demurely in by the wall looking intelligent and thoughtful. However, that's a mistake, as no one else will take an interest in your work unless you tell them about it.
Second, though, is that the push to self-promotion is a terrible mistake if your work isn't really ready for prime time yet. Sending it out prematurely will do nothing good for your career. Even when you are at the utterly unknown stage of publishing that equates to "Tony who?", it's still a good idea to think about your reputation, or the reputation you hope to one day have.
Try to turn out quality work from Day One, and you won't have anything to apologize for later on.
Ah, impatience, the ruin of many a half-cured pot! Drawn from the kiln too soon, set to cool too quickly, 'tis crack'd through - 'twill ne'er hold but a thimbleful, and that but poorly.