Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Should You Curse To Promote Your Book?

“The Wolf of Wall Street,” another well-done movie by Martin Scorsese, featured 506 F-bombs in its three-hour telling of how one man reached the height and depth of Wall Street. The film is largely filled with scenes involving nudity, taking drugs, or inhaling drugs off of nude bodies. The dialogue is richly filled with a curse word every 20 seconds – literally! 

Is there a time and place to use blue language to support the promoting, marketing, or advertising of your book, blog, company or product? F**k, yeah.

But like any communications approach, you need to move cautiously and focus your language to meet your targeted audience.

Which words, phrases, or terms will resonate with and influence them? Which ones will offend and turn them off?

If your book in any way involves cursing, or your book is about things like erotica, violence, and family dysfunction, there’s a likelihood that you need to use certain curse words for legitimacy and authenticity. You can’t discuss someone being an asshole without calling them one, can you? Nothing is an adequate substitute for words that push our buttons and cut to the chase without any ambiguity or uncertainty as to your intent.

Language and the strategic use or withholding of words is the arsenal at hand for the talented writer. It’s okay to curse when the circumstance permits or demands it.

Some people never curse in public – the Pope, the President, Jerry Seinfeld – and they are highly successful. Some people curse all of the time – Jon Stewart, Howard Stern, and Eddie Murphy – and they are highly successful.

It comes down to context and impact. Frequency of the use of a cuss word is also a factor. When in doubt, don’t chance cursing or resorting to language that could alienate others, but at the same time, recognize there are settings, conversations, or social media opportunities when not only is it okay to curse, but it seems needed.

The one word I never put in my social media and blogging is a word that rhymes with ham and starts with “s,” simply for fear that having that word – in any context – will get me penalized by Google’s search engine. I’d sooner write about pornography than sp_ _.

Feel liberated to know you can and should curse, but select your moments, and if your mom is reading your blog, you may want to think about what she’ll think. Otherwise, go for it!


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, 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 is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

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