Friday, February 15, 2008

As Judge Judy says....

Say what you will about Judge Judy Sheindlin's shortcomings as a gracious and kind adjudicator, but she's inarguably right about at least one thing: when you tell the truth, you don't ever have to worry about getting your story straight.

I was reminded of that as I read the news reports of Roger Clemens' and Brian McNamee's recent testimony at the Congressional hearings. Both of them, according to all the sources I checked, looked and sounded suspiciously as though they were, at best, covering up something and not telling the whole truth.

There's a lesson in here for authors who are promoting their books and granting media interviews as part of their book promotion campaigns. If you want to look and sound credible, keep your answers simple and above board. Be sure your pitch is honest, too. Using a headline such as "Local author has just discovered a cure for AIDS" may get you the interview, but it will also earn you instant animosity when the reporter or host finds out it just isn't true.

Be honest. Always. Tell the truth, and present yourself as you are -- nothing more, and nothing less.

Hyperbole isn't your friend. Stammering, pausing, and twitching nervously while you try to figure out which version of the story you're supposed to be sharing with the media is the enemy of a successful book promotion campaign. And it wouldn't score any points with Judge Judy Sheindlin, either.