The Good, The Bad, And The Publicity
“All publicity is good publicity.” I’m sure you’ve heard this. I feel like it’s a saying that’s completely saturated in American culture.
And in some ways, this is true. Reviews are so important in the indie world because it’s a form of word of mouth. In other posts, I pointed out my own buying habits which again narrow down to word of mouth. Getting people to talk about your book is priceless.
But blindly wanting to be talked about at all or having that at the heart of your marketing plan is playing with fire. I’ve personally seen authors, delete their Twitter, delete all known email addresses. Fall off the map because of bad publicity. Platform lost. And this doesn’t just happen to small authors who succumb to bad PR. Let’s look at celebrities.
Remember when Tiger Wood’s brought golf to everyone’s attention? Then all the negative press he got? He’s still playing golf, but no longer is golf’s darling.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think O.J. Simpson? Was it his profession or court trial?
How about BP? If all publicity is good publicity, why did they spend $500 million to restore their image?
If all publicity was good publicity then wouldn’t negative stereotypes help the groups they are about?
As writers, you know words matter. You know how to write a villain, how to convince your audience that someone is bad. J.K. Rowling didn’t have He Who Must Not Be Named because Harry mustn’t give his nemesis free press. (If anything the reverse was true in the Harry Potter world.)
A few years back an author sued Ubisoft over copyright. I love Assassin’s Creed. I’d love more books like it. Since that lawsuit was picked up by everyone for a couple months surely you know the book series. No? Me either.
You’ll be hard press to even find an article about the author that isn’t dated back from 2012. Outraged fans (who were jerks) littered Amazon with one-star reviews. But if you hop over to GoodReads there are 2 ratings. Collectively. For all the books written.
Sure, Amazon normally ends up with the most reviews. But the point stands that all publicity is not good publicity. At best, bad publicity will entrench those who already are your fans.
But as an author, you are in this for the long haul. You need to make sure whatever publicity you get is representative of you and your brand. Damage control is for those running for office and have fundraisers at $1000 a plate.