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Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Is there no such thing as bad publicity?

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


This topic rears its ugly head every once in a while. This time it was in connection with customers of a certain vanity publishing company. One author had managed to get the "local person writes book" profile in their local paper, and someone else wrote a letter to the editor with a scathing attack on the practices of the publisher.

Out of respect for the author (and the fact that this person seems to have had to defend themselves and their publisher to everyone in their town, which I think is  enough), I'm not going to mention the author or the publisher. But some people may guess the latter and I suspect they won't be wrong.

Fellow customers of this publisher have counseled this writer not to worry about it because there is no such thing as bad publicity.

That adage does not hold water with me. Some people thrive on controversy, but they're the exception rather than the rule. Generally speaking, bad publicity sucks. And unless you're a politician or big-name entertainment figure with the money to pay for a spin machine, you probably can't afford bad publicity.

I suppose it boils down to the particular situation, but based on my own observations, it seems that it's possible to overcome one instance of bad publicity if the situation is handled in the right manner. Call it spin if you wish. Call it class. Sometimes the simple act of deflecting criticism with grace and class works. Whining makes the situation worse.

Writers tend to put their egos on the line every day. It's easy to take criticism the wrong way. I've had my share. It was no fun to open up a newspaper that ran my column and find a letter to the editor calling me a talentless hack. Guess what? It's part of the business.

The thing is, we have to move on from our mistakes. If there's any good that comes from bad PR, that may be it.

So what do you think? Is there no such thing as bad publicity? Am I typing out my a** again? Let me know.

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Filed under: Writing            
2/11/2008 10:45:10 AM
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