Imposter Syndrome By Jason Sizemore (Guest Post)

In a 2012 commencement speech to the University of the Arts of Philadelphia graduating class, Neil Gaiman shared a charming anecdote regarding the “fraud police.” In these awful visions, he pictured a stern man with a clipboard coming to his door. The man was there to tell him it was all over, they’d caught up with him, and Neil would have to get a real job—a job that involved him not writing to make a living, but getting up early every morning, putting on a suit tie, and going out in the world to work.

Think about that for a moment.

Neil Gaiman has won the Hugo, Nebula, Newberry, Carnegie, Stoker, and numerous other awards. He has sold millions of books. The guy is married to a rock star. Yet, he admits to imposter syndrome.

Don’t worry, Neil. I suffer from the same affliction.

For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher is my second book. It’s a creative nonfiction book that covers the first ten years of my experiences running Apex Publications. But that’s the rub, I’ve always seen myself as a publisher/editor first, and a struggling writer second. I keep waiting for the review or critical analysis that lowers the hammer on my meager attempts to put sentences to paper. One day the fraud police will show up on my doorstep and put an end to this grand adventure.

Despite that nagging anxiety, I refuse to let it stop my pursuit of fame and fortune. As Neil Gaiman says in his commencement address, even during the times of failure, he never quit. He was doing what he loved, and he committed himself to being a success. Neil tapped into a well of personal satisfaction that fed his confidence (this is my interpretation, not Neil’s direct quote) and eventually his talent shone through.

Few in the world have the talent that Neil Gaiman possesses. But there is a lesson for everyone to take home. Set goals and don’t let personal doubt stop you from your dreams.

Ten years ago, I languished in a dead end I/T job for a group of accountants. I hated the professional direction of my life. When I made the decision to start a small press, a great many doubted me. And many times, they appeared to be correct in their assessments. Failure after failure piled up.

Ten years later, I’ve come to realize that failures are lessons. You take your lumps, you assess, and you revise your strategy. By doing this every time it looked like I failed, Apex has reached a point where I am able to do the thing I love as a full time job: publish, edit, and write.

For Exposure lists some of the more egregious failures Apex has faced. It also lists some of the more unusual experiences I’ve lived through. For example, did you know that a honey baked ham goes well with an orgy?

See? You live, you fail, you learn.


About the Author

Born the son of an unemployed coal miner in a tiny Kentucky Appalachian villa named Big Creek (population 400), Jason fought his way out of the hills to the big city of Lexington. He attended Transylvania University (a real school with its own vampire legend) and received a degree in computer science. Since 2005, he has owned and operated Apex Publications. He is the editor of five anthologies, author of Irredeemable, a three-time Hugo Award loser, an occasional writer, who can usually be found wandering the halls of hotel conventions seeking friends and free food. Visit him online at


About the Book

For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher

Paperback, 182 pages
Apex Publications
ISBN 978-1937009304

What does it take to become a Hugo and Stoker Award-nominated editor and publisher? Follow Jason Sizemore’s unconventional professional path as it winds through a tiny, overheated Baptist church deep within the coal fields of Appalachia, Kentucky, past a busted printer and a self-serving boss that triggered an early mid-life crisis and the epiphany that he should open a magazine spreading the gospel of science fiction to the masses, all the way to WorldCon 2012 and his first Hugo Awards ceremony.

In this collection of semi-true and sometimes humorous essays, Jason exposes the parties, people, and triumphs that shaped him into the Apex Overlord. He also lays bare the hardships and failures that have threatened to take it all away. Meet Thong Girl, heed the warning about the ham, receive rest stop bathroom wisdom, and visit an emergency room straight out of a horror movie in this extraordinary account of life as a publisher and editor.

With rebuttal essays from Maurice Broaddus, Monica Valentinelli, Lesley Conner, and more, For Exposure tells Jason’s story with insight from key players along his road to success. It is a comprehensive and frank look at what Apex and the genre publishing business is about. Take a shot with the publisher, dance the night away, and become a legend. And do it all For Exposure.


  1. I'm taking a Honeybaked Ham to my next orgy/potluck!

    Thanks for the tip, Jason. :-)

    1. Anytime I can help enrich a person's life, I will do so.

      You're welcome.

  2. Jason, if all imposters wrote as well as you, then there would be a lot of great fiction out there.

  3. Ha ha, yes, the honey baked ham story was awesome (or awesomely gross!) I really enjoyed Jason's book:-)


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