Monday, December 22, 2008


So they say there's no such thing as bad PR. Is that true?

My publisher once said that I wasn't controversial enough, that I was too laid back and easy going for my own good (career.) That's always stuck with me. Yet I find that I despise drama and headaches, that it detracts, rather than aids, my ability to move forward in any area of my life.

Looking at what has worked for other authors, and what hasn't, leaves me confused.

Frey lied about his book "A Million Little Pieces" to Oprah, and destroyed his career/sales.

The movie version of Anne Rice's "Interview with a Vampire" disgusted Oprah, and became the Queen of horror. Becoming a born again Christian, however, seems to have reduced her popularity.

How big would Stephen King's career be if the reading public hadn't decided he had a "twisted" mind? What if they just accepted his brand of horror as par for the course?

And what about contrversial figures outside of the publishinge world?

Who knew who Paris Hilton was until she started partying it up and recording her sex life? How many heiresses aren't household names?

What about Britney Spears? There are some that think her public displays of mental instability were merely ploys to keep her career alive.

Does the child-star-gone-bad seem to be a way for adult actors to work their way back into the business?

How did Brooke Shield's battle with Tom Cruise over post-partum depression effect her career?

Even if I chose to follow my publisher's suggestion--what are the odds that I might hinder, rather than fuel, my progress? Is that worth the risk?

Or, is the more tried and true method of working hard and keeping my nose to the grindstone, the one I feel most comfortable with, the better option?

Do nice girls and boys truly finish last?

What do you think?



Gayle Carline said...

The thing about being a controversial person is that you have to commit to it. If you truly are a nice person trying to create a brouhaha for attention's sake, it's hard to pull it off. At some point, you want to stop and say, "No, no, I was just kidding!" About the best you can do is think of one or two odd habits you have and let them leak to the media.

And not all nice guys/girls finish last. Tom Hanks certainly never let being nice get in his way.

Karen Syed said...

Okay, does controversy have to be negative? I think not. The problem is that the only controversy we see is the negative so we are programmed to think that is all there is.

Let's consider positive controversy. Angelique Jolie and Brad Pitt started adopting kids from other countries. A lot of people in America don't see that as a good thing. They think they should be adopting kids from our own country who need families. Controversy? You bet. Negative? Not so much. They reached out to give homes to children that needed it. Period.

Donald Trump. Love or hate him. He has made wonderful things happen with his real estate deals. Has it helped everyone? No, not really, but he has brought life back into some communities. Negative? Nope. Just not popular.

You simply need to find something you believe in and make it your cause. It doesn't have to be popular. But it also doesn't need to be negative.

You just need for people to know who you are.

Karen Syed, the publisher in question

Milli Thornton said...

Jenny, I think the fact that you blogged about this subject shows you're not afraid to address a thorny issue in public. You were exploring what, for you, is not a favorite topic and inviting others to share their opinion. It takes gut to do that in a public manner.

One of the things I greatly admire about you is your genuineness. It's not always easy to stick to being who we are, when others around us might not totally approve. Bravo to you for being yourself!

I also loved the two comments above. They were both a hard act to follow :0)

J.R. Turner said...

Oh y'all are SOOO wonderful! :)

Thanks Gayle, for reminding me about Tom Hanks. You're right, nice guys don't always finish last :)

Karen! You're so right about the positive part of this. I guess because I crave peace and tranquility, it's a little hard to remember that some drama is necessary. Look at MLK--if he avoided drama, how much less positive would our world be today? :)

And my dear Millikins!! :) You always give me such warm fuzzy sentiments to savor!! :) I'm going to enjoy a bit of dark chocolate now and re-read your kind words! :)

They mean a lot coming from a woman who has dedicated her career (so far!) to encouraging authors to keep going (like me!) I consider you one of the main reasons that I am published today.

Seriously--anyone reading this--if you feel you're about to give up, like this writing thing is just too hard, or you feel blocked, check out "Fear of Writing"--it brought me back from the brink :)

Thanks bunches everyone!