OK, so normally, people here blog about writing process, publishing and striving for success. But, what about what happens and you’ve achieved success? Because I’m generally, “the sky is falling” type of person, my dreams of success include strategies for combating the inevitable rumors and falsehoods that will start once my writing career really takes off.
So, today I thought I’d talk strategies for rumor control. The key is to be prepared, and mostly, be honest, if wild rumors come out. Here are some samples of how I might deal with future rumors.
Ms. Crayton, isn’t it true that you ran a blog where you wrote about and photographed feces? This is a blatant lie! (Rumor control note: You’ve got to call a spade a spade in these cases; then lead with the truth.) This horrific falsehood probably emerged because I worked for a publication called Solid Waste Report. It was not that kind of solid waste, though. SWR was a trade publication for landfill managers and trash officials. We never covered feces, though if we had, we would have covered the crap out of it!
Were you held hostage by a Kansas village of Amish people for more than a decade, only escaping recently? Again, this is false. (Rumor control note: A little humor helps.) First off, if that were true, Matt Lauer, Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Oprah and others would be beating down my door to get an interview. At present, my door is still quite intact (though, all the aforementioned are welcome to interview me; no beating necessary. A gentle knock, and I’m there; unless you look like a traveling salesman, in which case I’ll pretend I’m not home). This rumor that so defiles the good Amish people probably originated from my internship at the Wichita Eagle. Editors sent me to interview Amish villagers about the new school they’d gotten a permit to build. I was given a company car and cell phone and sent out. In case you’re not familiar, the Amish shun phones, electricity, cars and other modern conveniences. When I arrived, I somehow locked my keys and cell phone in the car. So, miles from modern civilization, with no way to contact anyone, I figured the best solution was to become a member of the Amish village. Luckily, I didn’t have to. The elderly Amish man whose house my car was marooned in front of, sent his grandson inside to get a wire hanger. Then, the man jimmied my car door open. A little leery of how he acquired this knowledge, I expressed sincere thanks, high-tailed it out of there and didn’t look back. I was never captive. And they were good people (good people who seemed to have more knowledge about breaking into cars than you’d generally expect from the Amish, but good people).
Did you really clone your husband? (Rumor control note: This is a great rumor, and one I would never try to shut down. My initial response would be a mysterious smile, reminiscent of Mona Lisa. But no refutes. I mean, people think I’m a scientific genius! You can’t buy that kind of publicity. So if a good rumor like this ever appears about you, let it go on as long as possible. Now at the point where people asked me to clone someone else, I’d have to come clean.) I think there’s been a bit of confusion here. I did not clone my husband. My husband is a clone. He’s a monozygotic twin, so he has an exact genetic double, or clone. (Rumor control note: See how I used “monozygotic” instead of identical. It preserves my image as a scientific genius. Doesn’t matter that it was a false image to begin with. I’d still like to preserve it.) I’m really not sure how all this hullabaloo started, but I’m going to go back to writing, which is what I do best. (Rumor control note: I would imagine that if this rumor started, it was probably started by me, but it’s best to play dumb. And see how I said “writing is what I do best.” That reminds them I’m a writing genius, even if I’m not a cloning genius.)
So, that’s my rumor control plan. What do you think? Any additional pointers from the peeps who know me now (one day, you’ll be the peeps who knew me then)?
RJ Crayton is a former journalist who got tired of writing just the facts and decided to branch into fiction. When she’s not writing, you might find her momming (there’s no reason mom can’t be a verb), roller skating or feeding her cupcake addiction. Her dystopian thriller, Life First, is available from Amazon. Learn more about R.J. from her website.
11 thoughts on “Combatting the Rumors Following Success”
Love it, RJ! I think you have the rumor mill pretty well controlled. 😀
Thanks. Sometimes you have to grab the bull by the horns.
Great post, RJ. I’d like to say that these ugly rumors are nothing but vicious truths spread by my opponent.
I like that. Deflection! People who spread vicious anything are bad.
Your editor gave you a cell phone? I was lucky to get a couple of quarters out of mine… 😉 Good stuff, R.J.
I know. I actually had a couple of regular reporters tell me they didn’t get use of the company car or cell phone. But I was just an intern at the time, and I think they felt particularly touchy about the subject because one of the interns (not me) had been kind of whiny that summer (I whine to my friends, not my bosses).
I think locking the keys in the car with cell phone was a pure stroke of luck on my part. Having to call my bosses on the company phone (which was pretty expensive back in 1996) and explain my keys were locked in the car and I needed some help, would have looked really bad. Instead, I got to be the ace reporter who managed to still get a story after enduring Amish adversity (or at least that’s the way I’m spinning it).
I knew those Amish were up to no good. Thanks for the laughs, RJ. 😀
See, you are incredibly wise. I hadn’t a clue about the Amish until it was almost too late. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post.
-grin- we should be so lucky! Very funny post. Thank you. 🙂
Yes. I hope we are all so lucky. Though, I must admit there are rarely rumors about writers. Unless you count Kim Kardashian (who wrote the novel Dollhouse with her sisters; the book was an imaginative powerhouse about three sisters living a complicated, glamorous life). If you do, Kim is one author they go after relentlessly.
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