Rumor Control

I was talking with an editor this week who asked me, “How are things going? I hear that your agency is barely making ends meet and that you’ve had to take on other type of work to survive.”

I must admit that I was so startled by this rumor that words nearly failed me.

“Where did you hear that?” I exclaimed.

“Oh it was at a recent writers conference and folks were talking, and your name came up.”

At the risk of sounding defensive, let me set the record straight. While there is no question that the publishing industry is in a mode of risk management, our agency is very healthy. We have the privilege of representing a large number of highly successful authors whose books are selling and whose new books are being contracted. Plus we have recently placed some first time authors and added some new veteran clients to our roster. In fact, if my projections hold true, we will break our single year sales record by the end of this calendar year. As of April 7, 2010 we have already contracted 29 new books. And we continue to have a lot of great new books being published.

In other words, The Steve Laube Agency is alive and well and is not having to scramble to survive.

Which brings me to the larger issue about rumors. After questioning this editor a little further it became evident that they had either misheard or misunderstood what was said. I am grateful that this editor asked me directly or I would never have known what was being said. Please don’t think that what I write next is directed at this person. Instead I’m addressing the issue of rumors and gossip in general.

Why is it that some people tend to believe gossip over actual truth? And then why do they spread the “news” to others without verifying the facts? These rumors can take a tragic turn. I know a friend whose career was nearly derailed by a nasty rumor. It took that person years to recover their reputation. Another example was last July when Michael Hyatt had to quell rumors being spread about Thomas Nelson Publishers. As it has been said, “Some bring oxy­gen and oth­ers expel CO2.”

The publishing community is a small one. And the Christian publishing industry is even smaller. I try, albeit imperfectly, to verify a rumor before ever repeating it. This is the right thing to do. Stop gossip before it starts. It may be that we “like” to hear bad news (why do we slow down to look at the accident on the freeway?). And good news sounds like bragging. In fact the above paragraph about our agency will come across as braggadocios to some.

Let us endeavor to keep our own counsel. And undergird all matters with a Christ-like spirit. Celebrate each others victories and pray for each others miseries. We all have both. But rumors and gossip have no place in either.

21 Responses to Rumor Control

  1. TErry White April 8, 2010 at 8:35 am #

    Rumor has it you’re running for office!!

  2. Lynnda Ell April 8, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    You said, “In fact the above paragraph about our agency will come across as braggadocios to some.” Well, not to me. Your stats encourage me that the publishing business continues, even if it’s not business as usual.

    Since only rumors compelled you to share the ways God has blessed your business, I’m even glad for the rumors!

    Be blessed,

    Lynnda

  3. Steve April 8, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    Terry? Running FROM “office” more likely. The nature of political rancor makes my memories of junior-high look like a walk in the park.

    Lynnda? Thank you. That was a nice way to put it.

    Steve

  4. Rebecca Barlow Jordan April 8, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    As one of your clients, I’m very glad the rumor is false.:) I wrote about this same subject in a different vein in a blog at http://www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com/when-can-silence-hurt/. Whether in business or personal life, accepting non-truths and failing to find out the truth can truly be damaging–as bad as starting the rumor in the first place. Good blog.

  5. Timothy Fish April 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    I think rumors spread because we want them to be true. It may be that we just want something exciting to talk about to break up our dull existance or is could be that we actually want to see the person be hurt. I remember sitting in a classroom listening to two people talking in the hall. She was voicing her concerns about how her daughter-in-law was raising her grandson, a child from a previous marriage. She was talking to a man who would be the last person I would expect to know anything about raising children. I could tell that all she wanted was for someone to agree with her that her daughter-in-law was in the wrong. Were that conversation repeated to a few people, there’s no telling what kind of monster the daughter-in-law would appear to be.

  6. Bethany April 8, 2010 at 11:25 pm #

    We should always celebrate our blessings. It’s sad when people misinterpret that (or warp it with their own bitterness).

  7. Kathy April 9, 2010 at 6:26 am #

    Thanks for spreading some good news about the publishing world for a change. It takes a bit of bravery to confront a rumor face-to-face, but it is the only Biblical way to have right relationships. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Georgiana Daniels April 9, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    Congratulations on a great start to the year!

  9. Lenore Buth April 9, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    Glad your agency is doing so well, Steve. As others have said, you’re following Biblical principles in taking on this rumor and reminding all of us, as well. Thanks.

  10. Sandra D. Bricker April 12, 2010 at 6:52 am #

    I’ve battled this sort of thing in my own career. Reading your post brought the memory of it to the surface so quickly that you might have thought it was just yesterday. I find it hard to grasp … the reasoning behind the deliciousness of spreading a rumor about someone, or judging them harshly because of a fragmented truth that doesn’t really represent them at all. I’m happy that you had the opportunity to face it head on and answer the rumor rather than what normally happens … the rumor spreading smooth (“like buttah”) without you ever knowing.

  11. Jessica April 12, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    Wow…rumors are pretty horrible (and gossip). I’m glad everything is going well though! Congrats on the sales. ;-)

  12. Sharon Ball April 12, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    I’m reminded of why the Bible warns against gossip and false testimony–it’s hurtful and unfortunately spreads like cancer. I’m so glad your agency is doing well. Your voice is so refreshing in the publishing industry.

  13. Jim Rubart April 13, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    I’ve always admired the gossip policy at WinePress Publishing. No gossip in any form is tolerated. Well done.

  14. Steve Laube April 13, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    In case anyone is wondering what Jim Rubart was referring to, see the below link.

    http://nogossip.winepressgroup.com/

    Thanks Jim!

    Steve

  15. Janalyn Voigt April 17, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    It all comes down to treating others with the same respect we’d like to receive from them.

  16. Mary DeMuth April 20, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    Preach it, Steve! So good. Such wise words. This can be a rumor-riddled industry, but that only is so if we repeat what we hear.

  17. Susie Larson April 20, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Great post, Steve.

    It’s interesting, when Noah’s first son spotted him passed out drunk and naked, what was his instinctive response? To run and tell. Generations after him paid a price for his carnal reaction. Noah’s other sons? They backed in and covered their father’s nakedness (love covers…). Future generations through them were significantly blessed as a result. I think we have no idea the impact of our words. May God help us all to be quick to believe the best about others!

  18. Katie Ganshert April 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    Amen!

  19. Cheryl Wyatt April 21, 2010 at 7:09 am #

    Steve, great article. There is a rumor going around town that our church is a cult because it has a human hair rug somewhere in it. I laughed so hard when I heard that, but then I heard it again and again. It stunned me how ridiculous, outlandish rumors can spread like wildfire.

    What stunned me more though was how people actually believe everything they hear, or at least before seeing for themselves. LOL! I don’t know where people manage to come up with some of the stuff they think or say, well, yeah, I do. We have an accuser and he prowls around whispering lies.

    I love what Mary Demuth prayed…that God would help all of us believe the best about each other. That is a perfect antidote to gossip.

    Thanks for having courage to post.

    Cheryl

  20. Victor Travison April 21, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife” (Proverbs 26:20-21).

    The unfortunately fact of this life is there are people with no conscience willing to stoke the fires and get everyone caught up in silly rumors. This doesn’t apply to everyone who repeats the rumor, of course, only to those who maliciously start it and keep it going.

    ~ VT

  21. Hargis May 13, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    Hello Steve

    l am so happy that you set that straight. l am happy that things are going so well.
    Hargis

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