Press is never entirely good for you

A long time ago, I was interviewed for the local paper in my small hometown. That paper no longer exists, at least not in the same form as it did back then, but the memory of that interview still lingers. Somewhere I am sure I have a clipping of that article. Taught me some lessons.

I knew the reporter. She was a family friend and certainly meant well. But I was just a kid and didn’t realize yet that my dry sense of humor could easily be misunderstood and would probably never translate well out of context (and possibly not even within context). So I made the mistake of consenting to an interview and rambled on for too long. It was embarrassing when the article was published for several reasons, not the least of which was that I came across as an egotistical prick. Most of my friends laughed it off, for which I was grateful, and because it was a completely ridiculous interview with no clear purpose, it was relatively quickly forgotten.

And I learned to hold my tongue.

For WHS grad, telling stories is childs play – The Woodstock

This interview (linked right there above) is much more recent. And it had a reasonable purpose behind it. Since I had written a book for a publisher who actually gave me money, I felt a certain responsibility to promote the product. Although I had already been interviewed by BSCKids, it seemed prudent to continue with more press. I was happy to hear that the resultant interview in the local paper spurned both an uptick in sales and increased business for the local brick and mortar bookstore that carried it. But I still have reservations.

Every time there is something printed about you, you lose a little control over your image and history. Inevitably, there is a fact out of place or a quote that does not read quite as it should. “Any press is better than no press” is thrown around too often and certainly is not true. As much as I love a positive review, at least that sort of press is mostly about a piece of work. It is separate from the individual. Interviews or profiles are another matter entirely. Those are the media snippets that define the person in the hearts and minds of everyone who does not actually know that individual, and very likely for many who do. They are best avoided whenever possible.

But, you know, sometimes self-promotion is necessary. So read the links and buy the books. Those, at least, are going to be good for you.

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