BlogHer Voices of the Year and Being Your Own Publicist


There is a blogging conference that happens once a year.  This conference is probably the biggest  in the country geared toward women (although it’s so big now that men often attend).  This conference is the BlogHer conference.

Every year BlogHer holds nominations for something called called Voices of the Year.  One hundred posts in different categories are honored as Voices of the Year, and two out of each category are given the ultimate honor of being selected as part of the Community Keynote.

I was reading a post over at Good Day Regular People recently about people lacking the confidence to submit their own words, and simply hoping someone out there will choose to nominate them.  My Twitter and Facebook stream have also been a flurry with bloggers typing things like:

“I can’t nominate myself.  I’m not good enough to win.”

“Is it wrong or conceited to nominate my own post for VOTY?”

“It’s a popularity contest.  No one knows who I am.”

Let me just stop you all right there.  It is NOT a popularity contest.  You could be nominated, not know a single soul, and still be picked as a Voice of the Year.  I know this because I was on the scoring committee last year.  It’s about your words – not how many people you know.

How did I get to be on the scoring committee?

By being selected the Community Keynote in Humor for the BlogHer’11 conference…

as a little known blogger…

who with butterflies in her stomach, nominated her own post.

I stood on that stage with swollen ankles, a fat baby in my belly, and spoke to thousands of people… and even though I peed my pants a little, it was one of the most amazing moments of my life.

Do you know who shared that category and that stage with me?

Alexandra from Good Day Regular People

who also submitted her own post.

We threw our words up into the air and prayed that they would reach someone…

That they would be understood…



Why else do we write?

The truth is, if your a writer of any kind (and not famous) you probably don’t have a publicist.

You have to be your own.

It’s okay to want your words to be read by thousands of people!

If you didn’t you would write in a private diary that you keep under your bed.

Sharing our stories is how we remind each other of our humanity.

Be bold.

Go after something.

Don’t worry about what other people will think if you advocate for yourself.

Most of us know the difference between someone saying, “Look at me! I’m the best”,

and someone saying, “Look at me. I deserve a chance.”

You deserve a chance.




PS – If you are a member of the BlogHer community, you can nominate someone’s or your own post here.

UPDATED: Go here to read about and submit for VOTY 2015! Now with video, impact, and image categories.




24 responses to “BlogHer Voices of the Year and Being Your Own Publicist”

  1. Yes, I did it! I love how BlogHer highlights the smaller voices in the blogging world. It’s so important to look at your own work, decide what YOU like and what best represents your own ideas and perspective, and then choose to put it out there yourself. I was so encouraged when I looked at previous years’ posts; it wasn’t necessarily the most commented upon, the posts from the most popular blogs that were chosen. You have nothing to lose to take a chance!

  2. Alison says:

    I love that you wrote this because YES. I saw those same kind of tweets and wish I could reach over into the computer and shake their shoulders, tell them they need to be confident in their words. VOTY is the ONLY thing out there (to me anyway) that is truly about the writing.

    (yes I submitted my own posts)

  3. Marie says:

    Okay, you’re filling me with confidence…maybe I should just do it. Even though I’m new to this and have no idea what I’m doing. What’s to lose, right? I just want to say that this post, reading these words you wrote…THIS is what I love about blogging. This supportive, encouraging, kind community. I’m so glad I found your blog. Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. I’m am so glad you wrote this piece because I was really feeling some sort of way about nominating my own pieces. I’m like, ‘I’m so freakin’ narcissistic. lol.’
    No really, thank you. This gave me the confidence boost I needed.

  5. Absolutely. Hearing you read that post was one of the best moments of the conference. So funny, and I gained a whole new appreciation for your writing and your killer humour.

    • Jenni Chiu says:

      Thank you, Robin. It was an amazing experience. I have vowed that any year I attend the conference, I will ALWAYS attend the VOTY keynote.

  6. The 2 pieces that made voices of the year in 2010? I had been blogging for 8 months (5 when I submitted them) and I was the only blogger to have 2 posts made it in 2 different categories. No one knew who I was but it doesn’t matter, which is so nice about VOTY. Submit your work! Be proud!

    • Jenni Chiu says:

      Exactly, Alex. You’re a wonderful writer with an analytical yet open mind. You’re thought provoking, funny, and real. So many people would not have found you if it weren’t for VOTY (including me)!

  7. Arnebya says:

    I look at it this way: I had doubts last year but I said screw that, nominated myself, and wound up as a VOTY 2012 AND a reader. So, Shirley can kiss my ass (the main voice in my head). You’ll never know if you don’t go for it and going for it yourself is just fine. Be willing and open and SURE that you deserve it. If someone else loves you and nominates a post, so be it, but be willing to love yourself and deem your worthiness. (And I giggle at the “I’m a nobody” tweets because um, hey, I’M STILL A NOBODY to some people but I do have that VOTY badge on my blog so…)

  8. Marta says:

    Thank you, I needed that kick in the ass. I was one of those people who said, “It’s just a popularity contest”, “no one knows me”, “I’m embarrassed to nominate myself.” Yup it was me. I will nominate myself, just like I did last year, in the hope that maybe just maybe I could get picked. What I hate is that moment when you don’t get picked and something you wrote and loved and poured your heart into feels like it wasn’t good enough. I think I’ve finally learned that I don’t need someone to tell me I’m good enough because I know it within myself. And the same is true for my writing.

  9. Jen says:

    Oh, I love your words… I touch my heart. Thank you for the push to submit my words.

  10. I had no idea….that the vote numbers were insignificant. Is that really true? I feel like I deserve a chance w/ my nominated posts (I nominated one of my own and two others were nominated by other people). I was a but shy about nominating myself, but I saw the first post on BlogHer about it, then Empress’ post, and now yours…and I don’t feel badly. So it really is about the committee? I don’t know how you do it all with sooooooo many posts…I still need to go back in and keep reading and voting.

    Thank you for sharing this, I’m going to share on FB, people need more reassurance. Because I know I have felt and worried about it being a popularity contest, too….


    • Jenni Chiu says:

      The People’s Choice award in each category is determined by votes – I believe this was something they started in 2011. They still choose several VOTY posts in each category by committee. It’s about the words, and you write some good ones, Erin.

  11. The world needs more of you… encouraging confidence and beauty in our community. Thank you for this. Don’t stop.

  12. Agreed! I nominated myself last year and someone nominated another one of my posts. The one I submitted was the one that was chosen to be recognized as a VOTY. I didn’t know a soul on committee and I don’t think my piece had one vote from the community.

  13. Debi says:

    Love you! I nominated myself too. It’s one of the hardest posts I have ever written because it was something hard that I lived. I think that kind of raw, honest from the heart kind of writing deserves to be recognized. I hope I get selected. I will probably bawl like a baby and be so nervous that I will inappropriately laugh while reading and simultaneously crying but I really want to read it out loud. Thanks for the encouragement. XOXO

  14. […] if we don’t advocate for ourselves, who […]

  15. Ann says:

    Yes!!! I’ve submitted my own post–and many of my friends–every year.

  16. Aliza says:

    Hee. I have a problem asking people/shilling for votes, but that’s not necessary in a VOTY, thank god. I have no problem submitting my work to well-respected contests like this that mean the world, though. 🙂 Was totally worth it last year, and I’m on my way to do it again this year. Thanks for the kick in the rear, Jenni!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *