As a publicist, one of my favorite ways to create a hook for a story is to explode a myth.
Exploding a myth is when there is scientific research that says some coveted belief we have is actually not true. Here are four examples:
- Myth: Eating late at night makes you gain weight.
Truth: The number of calories consumed is still the most important factor when it comes to weight. Not the time of day (or night) you eat those calories.
- Myth: Sugar is bad for your health.
Truth: While too much sugar can increase your risk of obesity and disease, it’s not as harmful as once thought.
- Myth: Coffee will dehydrate you.
Truth: Drinking coffee has been shown to have more of a hydrating effect, than a dehydrating one.
- Myth: Chocolate causes acne.
Truth: This has not been proven, however eating too much chocolate may be connected to other negative psychological effects such as depression and anxiety.
If you had a reaction to any of the above, you understand exactly what it means to explode a myth. When you present something like this to the appropriate journalist – and there is proof behind the claim – they very likely will pick up the story. Not always because there are variables involved, but at the very least, they will read it and consider it.
Here are two more examples of common myths:
Myth: Bookstores are dying.
Truth: Once thought to be doomed in the digital age, brick-and-mortar bookstores have seen an increase in sales and foot traffic as more people realize the value of visiting a physical retail space. From cozy nooks for reading to engaging events and workshops, bookstores offer much more than simple book purchases. With the pandemic causing a great deal of isolation and a renewed appreciation for traditional retail spaces, bookstores are sure to be booming for many years to come.
More specifically, bookstore sales posted surprisingly strong gains in January, jumping 15.9% over 2022. Sales in January 2023 were $997 million, up from $860 million in 2022, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales in January were the highest since 2019, when January sales were $1.00 billion.
The belief that Amazon is the only player out there is outdated.
Myth: No one reads anymore.
Truth: Research from the Pew Research Center suggests that nearly 60% of Americans have read at least one book in the last year, and around 30% claim to be reading books on a regular basis. Moreover, according to the same study, people aged 18-29 are the most likely age group to have read at least one book in the past year with 66% having done so.
According to another survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, around 28% of people read at least one book per month. Additionally, people aged 18-29 are more likely to have done so, with 34% claiming they read books on a monthly basis.
In the last year 10% of Americans have read over 50 books. This percentage is highest among people aged 18-29 with 14% claiming they read that many books in the previous 12 months.
Many CEOs and other professionals have a strong focus on reading. They can read up to hundreds of books each year, covering diverse topics relevant to their industry or areas that they are interested in. Reading helps them stay current and knowledgeable on the changing business climate and gives them a better understanding of the world around them. CEOs such as Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates are all known for regularly absorbing knowledge from books.
Have we exploded any myths with the statistics above? And then, of course, there is you and me. We probably read more than most people as authors and writers are prone to do.
So the next time someone says to you that the book industry is dying, or that people don’t read anymore, be sure and point out that the truth of the matter is books and bookstores are very much alive! (And remember to visit your independent bookstores!)
To your success!
P.S. I’m delighted to say Media Darling is doing pretty well. I did a wonderful interview with Louie B Free recently. It was done on Zoom, live streamed on Facebook, then uploaded to YouTube, and in a few days will be on iHeart Radio. It is a fascinating world we live in. Oh, and about nineteen minutes into the interview, we discuss how to keep track of where you are when doing a series of interviews all in a row. (These tips can be so helpful when you are doing podcasts.)
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