All Publicity is Good Publicity. Really?

Julia's cover, revealed!

It's a phrase used often: "There's no such thing as bad publicity."  The original quote is attributed to Irish poet Brendan F. Behan who put it a little differently.  He said (according to wikipedia, anyway) "there's no bad publicity except an obituary."  

But is it really true?
Almost a year ago now I had a little brush with this phenomenon.  My novel had just been acquired, and hit the P.W. ticker tape with its 25 word description.  I'd wanted to sell a novel since about the 3rd grade, and I thought a little celebratory happy dance in my kitchen was warranted.
But the very next day, a foodie website (of all places) wrote a short but snarky post about my book's announcement, in which the blogger proclaimed that my book's tentative proto-existence had actually wrecked his/her day!  (The post was anonymous, of course.  I have no idea who wrote it.)
Now, I understand that if I'm lucky my work will be reviewed, rehashed, discussed and perhaps even attacked.  But I hadn't expected to see it happen until after the book was printed.  I wasn't ready.  And so this peculiar episode sent me into a tailspin. For a few ugly hours, it didn't seem to matter that the poster's assumptions about the book's content were wrong, or that it was quite obviously a slow foodie news day.  I felt doomed.
And then...
The next week I got an unfamiliar email from Google Analytics: "Intelligence Alert!" It turns out that my quiet little author website (used as a repository for my journalism clips) got dozens of hits off of the snarky food blog post.
This was a complete shock.  Really?  There were 50 people interested enough to click the link that the snarker had so thoughtfully provided?  
Slow news day, indeed.
So now I want to thank the guy, but not for the web hits.  Those are immaterial.  I'd like to thank him for reminding me that word of mouth works in mysterious ways.  And that authorship is a marathon, not a sprint.
Here, then, is my cover art, officially official.  The book won't be published for another seven months, but at least she has a face.  Many will love her, and maybe a few won't.  Either way, I can take it.


  1. This may be old news but I'll risk repeating: "If everyone like what you do and who you are, you would most definitely have multiple personalities" ....now that would be a problem to content with. I wish you luck with this first book ~Cally

  2. "Authorship is a marathon, and not a sprint." I should probably get this tattooed somewhere on my person.

    Love the cover. (And what a cute reading line!)

  3. The unfortunate thing about the internet is that it's made it very difficult to ignore the negative!

  4. What a strange interlude. I'm sure I would have taken it the same way! And yet, you never know.

  5. Good post, glad to see not everyone can ignore negative comments like it's nothing!
    Meg - good point! I had some bad comments from one particular woman a few months ago and it amazed me she could be so scathing, judgemental and snidey from just being a reader. I did come back and thanked her for her comments - perhaps I was glad my writing meant she felt inspired to write something on my wall in some way...?
    Well, majority rules, and I've had 99% good feedback, and you can't please everyone, but having such a comment before your material even came out, Sarah, how presumptuous of them! Goodluck with the new book.


  6. What a coward - at least own your words! Sarah, those kind of people - deep down - really need a hug. Congrats on your book :)

  7. This is going to sound weird, but every time I get a scathing review, my sales numbers surge. If I get a good review I hear crickets. If someone insists their friends go out and read it, I'll get a sale or two. But if someone absolutely slams it, I'll rack up about 4 sales overnight. It may be a coincidence, but I don't think so. People don't like to talk about this since a one star review is the literary equivalent of getting pantsed, but I've heard murmurs of this nature before. My theory is that we've become so cautious as a society that we take positive feedback with a grain of salt. But if a person slams a book he'll call his friends to come see, a few will coming away thinking: "Actually, I kinda want to read that now..."