Writers and the Media and Kurt Busch

I'm sure the way my mind works drives my family batty. At least they're used to it. So stick with me. Hopefully, this will make sense.

I was watching the Speed channel's program "Kurt Busch: Outlaw."  For those unfortunate few  who have no idea what Nascar is, Kurt Busch is a former Winston Cup Champion (in the days before it became the Sprint Cup) and a very good driver. But he's had his problems with his temper (or as Jimmie Johnson, a five time champ himself describes it, the "red mist in the helmet"), and it's gotten him into trouble. He's probably no worse than any other driver, he's just more eloquent about his displeasure.  (And why, I ask you, wasn't Jeff Burton fined for shoving Danica Patrick into the wall last week?)

Kurt freely admits he drops his own anvil on his feet. He knows he's a marked man. Yet he still shoots his mouth off, and the media takes it and runs full force with it. Matt Clark, in a brief aside, said to KB, "you just don't know how to talk to the media," or words to that effect.

This led my pointy little head into thinking about how writers interact with media. Short interviews with print media, TV, anyone who wants to write about you and your books, we all preen like peacocks and think, GOODY!  Then, lo and behold, you get a stupid question, or at least one that makes it clear the interviewer has no idea who you are and what you write, and you really have to count to ten. Or twenty. Or a hundred. It's like, Why on earth are you here interviewing me if you don't give a rat's patooty about what I write?

Some writers have lovely stock answers that charm everyone. Some are witty enough to work around the stupid questions. And some of us open our mouths and out spills the first thing that comes to you. Yes, the latter tack isn't pretty and I don't recommend it.

My point is, figure out ahead of an interview what you want said about your books and you, and a tactful way to rephrase any question so it's a positive. Learn how to be a media darling, not a Kurt Busch.

I still like Kurt Busch's passion for his sport no matter how much of a dufus he appears to be in the media. But I don't think many writers can survive bad press.