Whilst filling the recycling bin tonight I noticed the tag line on our local newspaper. Proudly announcing that this was the areas ‘leading weekly newspaper’ I was forced to point out to the world (OK no-one was actually by the bins, but if they had been I am sure that they would have been delighted to hear my logical reasoning!) that this publication was the areas ONLY weekly newspaper.
This got me thinking about the messages sent out by indie writers concerning their work on a regular basis. I remember over the christmas period receiving tweets about a novella which was ‘critically acclaimed’ – the reality being that the work had received 9 reviews (at that time), many of which rated it 3 or 4 stars. Hardly acclaim – critical or otherwise.
Now I am sure that the author will claim that it was meant as a joke, just a bit of harmless self promotion, an attempt to tweet a little louder than the millions of others – but does the strategy of enlarging the truth have a negative impact on everyone else?
Perhaps this is the scientist in me coming out. I have spent years dealing in facts – some may find that boring, but I am sure you’d agree that in the case of scientific developments it is better to be overly cautious rather than over exaggerate. But of course – novellas are not scientific developments.
I guess my worry is that, as people try to shout/tweet/blog louder than all the others, the use of words/phrases which promise more than is on offer will become so common we actually end up downgrading their meaning.
Surely as writers we should be protecting these words/phrases – rather than abusing them to push for one more sale?