Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Writers: Beware Of The Steroid Scandal

Would writers, marketers, and publishers cheat to gain fame, success and wealth?  What actions would constitute cheating?

These questions came to mind in the wake of the recently announced steroid scandal involving some 20 Major League Baseball players, including some of its biggest names like Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun.  If true, these players blatantly cheated by gaining an unfair chemical advantage over the competition.  Further, because these drugs were obtained illegally, they broke the law.  These players should be punished and shunned by the game.

Why do they cheat?  Let me count the ways:

1.      Incentives are high.  If they perform well, they make more money.  If they do better, their team has a chance to win.  If they become famous, they get endorsement deals, and thus, more money.

2.      When they do well, everyone loves them.  Their egos are stroked often.

3.      They build a legacy that may land them in the Hall of Fame and immortalization.

But why do they risk their health, their careers, their money, and their freedom?  Because the potential gains seem to outweigh any actual penalties.  Many hope – or believe – they won’t get caught.  Finally, most rationalize it by believing their competition dopes up too. They need to do so not to gain an unfair advantage, but to merely keep up with the competition.

But whatever happened to pride, honesty, and personal accomplishment?  How could a competitor live with himself for obtaining tarnished results?  Millions of people play sports every day because they love the game, the chance to battle and prove themselves.  I could never fathom throwing away the thing I love the most.  Something happened to these athletes that turned them into show performers.  And, as an entertainment act, much like Broadway, wrestling, or a reality TV show, perhaps tarnished ethics allow for performance enhancing substances.  But for professional sports, we demand more!

Writers can cheat by plagiarizing, but claiming the words of others is a common experience.  Many books are ghostwritten.  CEOs and celebrities don’t write their own books.  They may not even read them.  Some hack is hired to pen a story that some flak approves of. The “author” is a fraud in certain respects.  But I don’t know if that’s cheating.

I guess writers cheat when they make up shit and seek to pass along fiction as reality, as fact.  When truth is anything but that, we all feel cheated.

But writers are like ballplayers.  They want fame, money, and long-lasting name recognition.  They want to be the star and have millions of fans.

Do writers cheat?  Is it worth it?  Do they really get away with it?  Watch the baseball scandal unfold and take your cue from that.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013 

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