‘Let the fun begin!’ Why did romance writer Susan Meachen fake her own death?

“Any publicity is good publicity,” Susan Meachen thought to herself as she prepared to stage her suicide. In September 2020, Meachen, the author of romance novels that she describes as “completely flawed” romance novels, logged on to Facebook, pretended to be her daughter, and wrote a post announcing her death. Meachen’s “daughter” continued to post many times after that. He suggested that Meachen was “bullied to the point of suicide in the book world” and encouraged people to buy Meachen’s “last” book. Then, Inverted corner: Last week, Meachen took to Facebook again to declare that she wasn’t actually dead. Surprise! “Let the fun begin,” he added.

By the way, my first sentence – like Meachen’s death – was partly fictional. I have no idea what she was thinking when the love writer committed suicide online. Nobody does. But a people share Of the questions, Meachen obviously touched on mental health issues that should be taken seriously—but that still isn’t an excuse to use your fake death to try to sell books, as was suggested in the days when he announced his resurrection. People in Meachen’s writing community are outraged. “I think he believes his books will get attention if he dies,” a writer from Meachen’s writing circle told the BBC. “Now, this is a new gamble: Instead of just being a good writer, I’m like, ‘Hey, if I come back, that’s going to get everybody excited and maybe make my books popular’.”

It is unethical to fake one’s own death. But you know the craziest part of them all? The stunt might actually help Meachen sell books. We are often told that hard work and talent pay off, but the unfortunate truth in the media is that getting yourself a lot of PR is probably more effective. For example, look at the convicted swindler Anna Sorokin, known as the “SoHo scammer.” The fake heiress may have spent time in jail for her fraud, but she turned her life into a Netflix series and was reportedly paid $320,000 for the privilege. The moral of this story? Sometimes it helps to have no morals at all.

  • Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist.

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In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be reached on 116 123 or jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie.. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. The crisis support service Lifeline in Australia is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at befrienders.org.

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