Jane Wenham-Jones is a novelist, journalist and presenter and the author of the Wannabe Books - two how-to manuals on getting published and becoming well-known. Below is an extract from Wannabe a Writer We’ve Heard Of?, available on Amazon or through all good bookshops. For more on Jane see http://www.janewenham-jones.com.
Tomorrow’s Chip Wrapping? Unfortunately not…
In the good old days when fried fish came in newspaper, instead of sweaty polystyrene boxes and the net was something you put over your curlers at night, there was always the famous comfort that any embarrassments in the news would only be so much wrapping for your chips the next day. Not any more!
Now articles appear online as well as in newsprint and the indiscretion you shared with that nice journalist after he’d bought you the sixth gin can stay there pretty much indefinitely.
As Valerie Dwyer warned me darkly, “Experts say that whatever gets on to the internet will remain there forever, even if it’s hidden, so be careful what legacy you leave!”
I can’t really be worrying about my legacy but I am a little more careful these days to give a bit of thought to what’s churning round the web while I’m still alive.
It was back in 2005 that I answered an internet interview question by saying, “If streaking down Oxford Street would result in a million sales I’d seriously consider it.” All these years on, I still get offers to take my kit off (it would be art, I was assured by the photographer who wanted me to pose naked on Margate beach) and I continue to be asked if it remains true (answer: yes, probably, although God help the tourists).
So it is probably wise to give yourself plenty of time to answer questions sent to you by email rather than just dashing off the first thing that occurs to you, which, as I know to my cost, might seem very droll at 10 p.m. after half a bottle of Pinot Grigio but not quite so side-splitting when you’re faced with it on your screen a week later and it gets thrown up every time you’re googled.
The same goes for what you say in interviews by phone or in person that might end up online. If you’re not sure how to answer something, say so, and ask to come back to it at the end or promise to email your answer later that day.
Although all of this depends on how much you care about your dafter statements coming back to haunt you (I don’t mind about Oxford Street at all) and whether you believe in: NO SUCH THING AS BAD PUBLICITY?
Wannabe a Writer Site:
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Amazon US (paperback)
Amazon US (Kindle)
The Book Depository