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Eddyz Aquila
06-10-2011, 05:29 AM
I'm thinking here of issues that might arise if an author is controversial on a specific website. How much do agents and editors check out the posts made by future authors, do they do a real check or do they ?

Probably a bit over reacting on this, but in places where you're active in a community and well known, you would probably link your "store page" or the Amazon link to your book in your signature just like you can do here on AW since it might be a good way to promote your book. But if you're well known but controversial, would that be a good way to promote yourself?

Not a personal example but I've read some posts and comments where agents and editors clearly look out for the online presence of their future authors and see whether the reputation is positive or not.

Hope I'm clear.

Thoughts? :)

kaitie
06-10-2011, 06:38 AM
Personally speaking, I wouldn't say anything online associated with my name that might affect people's opinion of me period. Just my own opinion, but I think if you're someone who is looking to have a potentially public job, it's best to just avoid religion or politics or other controversies that could get you in trouble. Mostly because once something is on the internet it's there forever. I'd hate to think I made a comment on Facebook that comes back to haunt me three years later and has people boycotting my book.

Amadan
06-10-2011, 07:01 AM
This isn't special for authors or prospective authors. All employers routinely Google prospective employees now. If your blog is full of mad ranting about the coming New World Order, or your Facebook status page is full of boasting about how totally wasted you get every weekend, you might want to consider taking that down before you start looking for a job or subbing your manuscript. (Which isn't foolproof, but most employers won't go so far as to check caches for stuff that's been removed.)

But fuck it if I'll take any job (including as a writer) where I'm expected not to say anything about politics or anything else that someone somewhere might disagree with, and I think advice that basically boils down to "Be as timid and nondescript and inoffensive online as possible" does a disservice to writers. We're as human and opinionated as anyone else.

Wayne K
06-10-2011, 07:02 AM
Controversy sells. It's why people do it. If you're going to do it, ya better do it well

If you don't, that's when they boycott your books

kaitie
06-10-2011, 07:06 AM
You know, here's the way I tend to think of it, actually. Anything you wouldn't say in front of your mother or boss shouldn't be said online. It's the equivalent of trash talking someone in a bathroom without checking the stalls first. :tongue

Susan Littlefield
06-10-2011, 07:10 AM
This isn't special for authors or prospective authors. All employers routinely Google prospective employees now. If your blog is full of mad ranting about the coming New World Order, or your Facebook status page is full of boasting about how totally wasted you get every weekend, you might want to consider taking that down before you start looking for a job or subbing your manuscript. (Which isn't foolproof, but most employers won't go so far as to check caches for stuff that's been removed.)

But fuck it if I'll take any job (including as a writer) where I'm expected not to say anything about politics or anything else that someone somewhere might disagree with, and I think advice that basically boils down to "Be as timid and nondescript and inoffensive online as possible" does a disservice to writers. We're as human and opinionated as anyone else.

I can see blogs as public information. But, the only way anyone can see your facebook page is if you choose a privacy setting that allows anyone to see your postings. Most people don't do that.

Susan Littlefield
06-10-2011, 07:10 AM
I agree with Katie.

Amadan
06-10-2011, 07:11 AM
You know, here's the way I tend to think of it, actually. Anything you wouldn't say in front of your mother or boss shouldn't be said online. It's the equivalent of trash talking someone in a bathroom without checking the stalls first. :tongue


The idea of living my life as if my mother and my boss are looking over my shoulder to make sure they approve of everything I say sounds like a horrifying and spineless way to live to me.

There's a huge difference between trash-talking someone ("My boss is an incompetent shithead!") and talking about things that aren't my boss's concern (like my political views). If you have a job where mentioning any political views on your FB page that your boss disagrees with could get you fired, I'm very sorry and I hope you are able to find a better job.

thothguard51
06-10-2011, 07:29 AM
If you have a job where mentioning any political views on your FB page that your boss disagrees with could get you fired, I'm very sorry and I hope you are able to find a better job.

Or hire a really good lawyer...

shadowwalker
06-10-2011, 07:42 AM
The idea of living my life as if my mother and my boss are looking over my shoulder to make sure they approve of everything I say sounds like a horrifying and spineless way to live to me.

There's a huge difference between trash-talking someone ("My boss is an incompetent shithead!") and talking about things that aren't my boss's concern (like my political views). If you have a job where mentioning any political views on your FB page that your boss disagrees with could get you fired, I'm very sorry and I hope you are able to find a better job.

Of course, it depends on whether or not you're seen as a 'spokesperson' for your employer, too. Look at how many times just on this board some company is criticized for the views expressed by one/some of the execs. And companies can (sometimes) fire employees if their behavior reflects badly on the company. But that's a whole 'nother discussion :Ssh:

But personally, I'm careful about *how* I say things, but not necessarily what I say. I think it's possible to have "controversial" opinions without coming across as a total jerk...

Amadan
06-10-2011, 07:52 AM
But personally, I'm careful about *how* I say things, but not necessarily what I say. I think it's possible to have "controversial" opinions without coming across as a total jerk...


Most well-known authors who blog talk about their politics and personal beliefs. Some are more political than others, and some are more forceful in expressing themselves than others, but hardly anyone seems to be living in fear that mentioning they voted Democrat will lead to no Republicans ever buying their books again or all Republican agents and editors promptly rejecting anything they submit.

benbradley
06-10-2011, 07:56 AM
Controversy sells. It's why people do it. If you're going to do it, ya better do it well
FUCK YEAH!!!

(obviously I need to post more on that Stinkin Thinkin site)

If you don't, that's when they boycott your books
Not sure that's a boycott, that's more ignoring, forgetting, "not recognizing my brilliance," that sort of thing.

I understand a REAL boycott is FREE ADVERTISING!

I can see blogs as public information. But, the only way anyone can see your facebook page is if you choose a privacy setting that allows anyone to see your postings. Most people don't do that.
I don't have a Facebook page, but the news stories regarding it in the past year or two tell me that many or most Facebook users don't know what's private or what's public on their Facebook pages. I've linked to this before:
http://www.haltabuse.org/jayne/speak.shtml#Students
I understand Facebook has changed some of its defaults due to those news stories, but I still wouldn't trust the average user to know what's what.

Eddyz Aquila
06-10-2011, 12:41 PM
Controversy sells. It's why people do it. If you're going to do it, ya better do it well

If you don't, that's when they boycott your books

Yeah, I know it sells, but I'd rather steer clear of that :tongue

I'm really interested what would be considered a controversy. Expressing your own beliefs and politics and having a civilised and diplomatical discussion about them clearly isn't a controversy, so in that case, what would be considered?

AmsterdamAssassin
06-10-2011, 01:40 PM
But fuck it if I'll take any job (including as a writer) where I'm expected not to say anything about politics or anything else that someone somewhere might disagree with, and I think advice that basically boils down to "Be as timid and nondescript and inoffensive online as possible" does a disservice to writers. We're as human and opinionated as anyone else.

One of my colleagues was transferred to another workplace because of complaints. I found out that all he did was defend Islam against a girl who complained about the Islam being misogynistic. I understood his reasons for wanting to defend his religion, but instead of doing what he did, I'd ask the girl if she ever read a Koran or if her knowledge of Islam was secondhand.

Uninformed opinions are not worthy of discussion in the workplace -- if people are truly biased, what can you say that will change their bias?

aruna
06-10-2011, 02:15 PM
I had the opposite effect the other day. I post on one or two forums, under a different ID, and in one I happpened to mention that I was a published writer (I couldn't resist! It was a thread started by someone who asked what other stay at home moms do with their time all day; people were saying things like blowing eggs or whatever.) My post was short and sweet; but one of the forum members looked me up and found my author identity, and sent me a PM to say she liked my post. And then apologized, saying she hoped I didn't think she was stalking! I was a bit shocked tbh as I try to keep that part of me secret. My fault for showing off, though!

The other way around -- publishers or agents tracking my forum posts down -- is a little more difficult, if they don't know my forum ID. I think I could be found on AW, though.

Eddyz Aquila
06-10-2011, 03:05 PM
The other way around -- publishers or agents tracking my forum posts down -- is a little more difficult, if they don't know my forum ID. I think I could be found on AW, though.

See that's the issue, if you willingly use your ID for the marketing example as I outlined above (linking to your Amazon book page in your sig on a different website), then being careful what you say on that forum will definitely attract attention. So that's the case, "ruining' a potential reader is a very grey area.

Momento Mori
06-10-2011, 03:27 PM
Eddyz Aquila:
How much do agents and editors check out the posts made by future authors, do they do a real check or do they ?

They're not going to do that. First and foremost, they're interested in the manuscript and whether it will sell. If they think they've got a winner, then they'll have a conversation with the author/their agent and hammer out terms. They might have a conversation about things like on-line presence and following during that conversation but they'll be thinking in terms of blogs and Twitter following rather than what you do in internet forums.

The only thing you might have to worry about is if the publisher wants to put a morality clause into your contract. In that situation, activity on racist, sexist, paedophilia etc sites will probably get you in trouble.

Like most other people here, I adopt a policy of not saying anything on here or anywhere else that I wouldn't say to someone's face. No matter how clever your screen name and how much you think you've covered your tracks, someone with enough time will always track you down if they want to.

The only issue I've had here is when someone followed a link to my RL blog back from the YA Forum and decided to engage in a trolling campaign. In fact, this is the only internet site where I don't post under my own name - not so much because I'm trying to hide (like I said, I post links here to my RL blog) but because I didn't really think about it at the time.

MM

Wayne K
06-10-2011, 04:00 PM
Elwood P. Dowd: Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

Amadan
06-10-2011, 09:20 PM
One of my colleagues was transferred to another workplace because of complaints. I found out that all he did was defend Islam against a girl who complained about the Islam being misogynistic. I understood his reasons for wanting to defend his religion, but instead of doing what he did, I'd ask the girl if she ever read a Koran or if her knowledge of Islam was secondhand.

Cool story, bro.

scarletpeaches
06-10-2011, 09:31 PM
Personally speaking, I wouldn't say anything online associated with my name that might affect people's opinion of me period.Good luck with that impossible task.

If you interact with anyone, they're forming an opinion of you.
But fuck it if I'll take any job (including as a writer) where I'm expected not to say anything about politics or anything else that someone somewhere might disagree with, and I think advice that basically boils down to "Be as timid and nondescript and inoffensive online as possible" does a disservice to writers. We're as human and opinionated as anyone else.Fuck yeah.

I regularly rant on Twitter about this, that and the next thing. One thing that really boils my piss is when writers are told not to diss books they don't like. Not to talk about tropes and cliches they dislike. Be bland, be uncontroversial, be anodyne, don't risk causing offence. Just shut up and take all the bollocks reviewers, readers, other writers dish out.

Fuck. That. Noise.

Every time I've spewed my guts on Twitter or on my blog, I've had people contacting me privately to say, "Yeah! Go you!" and I think, what the fuck are they so scared of? Are they just a bunch of wusses who wouldn't dare say "I don't like this book," or "Doing X, Y or Z makes you a twunt," in public for fear of causing offence?

Jesus. Don't writers have the right to be offended and to voice their opinions as well?

Sorry but-- Actually, no. I'm not sorry. If an agent or editor doesn't want to work with me specifically because I dare to have an opinion that doesn't sound like a bleated "Yes ma'am, no ma'am, three fucking bags full, ma'am," then I don't want to work with them, either. Plenty other people out there will offer me a publication contract. (And yes I've turned down work because I just don't have the time to write for everyone who wants a piece of me so clearly I'm not offending enough people to buttfuck my career into oblivion.)
You know, here's the way I tend to think of it, actually. Anything you wouldn't say in front of your mother or boss shouldn't be said online. It's the equivalent of trash talking someone in a bathroom without checking the stalls first. :tongueAnything I say about someone, I either would say to their face, or already have. My mother is not a good standard to hold up and ask, "Would you say this to her?" I've told her flat out I hope she rots in hell, so yeah...anything I've said on AW, my blog or Twitter? I'd say to her and quite a few other people too.

veinglory
06-10-2011, 09:53 PM
I think you just have to own what you say under any given persona/handle. if you want to write as a different persona/handle then you choose a new one.

Adobedragon
06-10-2011, 10:21 PM
I regularly rant on Twitter about this, that and the next thing. One thing that really boils my piss is when writers are told not to diss books they don't like. Not to talk about tropes and cliches they dislike. Be bland, be uncontroversial, be anodyne, don't risk causing offence. Just shut up and take all the bollocks reviewers, readers, other writers dish out.

Fuck. That. Noise.



Hell, yeah!

*Snerk* I've already screwed the pooch on this one. I'm obnoxious. I'm opinionated. I discuss politics, stoopid people, books, movies, whatever. And while I've softened my approach (slightly) as I've gotten older, I'm not going to try and scrub the Internet of my various posts.

Some employers do check the Internet; a lot of them don't. So long as you're not coming off sounding like the f*cking Unibomber, or advocating something illegal, teh Internet won't kill your career. Yeah, I know it's happened to a few people. Anecdotes don't equal a trend.

(FWIW I was hired by a church, by an Internet saavy pastor, despite my views on religion. If we want to work with anecdotes.)

As for the "Would you say that around your mother?" blather...Ya'll haven't met my mother, have ya? She's an outspoken, liberal, feminist. And proud of me.

I am what I am.

scarletpeaches
06-10-2011, 10:29 PM
What I don't get is, from day one, we're told to brace ourselves for criticism. We'll be rejected and our works will be torn apart.

Oh, but by the way? You're never allowed to answer back or express opinions of your own. All your life, you're supposed to churn out books without ever expressing any kind of individuality online.

Bollocks. If I want to answer someone back I will (with reviews, I say no more than 'thank you' and leave it there) but if I get into it with someone, damn right I'll answer back. If I have an opinion and it's solicited, I'll express it. If something pisses me off, believe you me, I will call you out.

You don't get to bleach my personality out when you hand me a publication contract, dude. Don't even think it.

Adam
06-10-2011, 10:33 PM
Anyone who Googles me will quickly come to the conclusion that I'm quite mad. They would be correct.


Wibble.

scarletpeaches
06-10-2011, 10:34 PM
You only need to wear one pair of underpants on your head, Adam.

Adam
06-10-2011, 10:36 PM
I have a lot of hair to cover.

scarletpeaches
06-10-2011, 10:39 PM
The pink lace was a nice touch, though.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-10-2011, 10:44 PM
I came to work for a security firm, who put me to work at a large automobile parts warehouse. The head of security was boasting to me how good the security was. I didn't comment, but I also didn't cheer along. So he asked me my opinion.
I gave my opinion, being careful to keep my comments purely on material security issues. For instance, if you put a camera on a door, don't put a lamppost between the door and the camera, because the light of the lamp will render the camera view black.
I was thanked for my comments. Five minutes later, the accounts manager for my security firm called me up, asking me where I got the gall to tell the head of security blahblahblah. I told him I gave my opinion when asked. The account manager told me not to express anymore opinions, because I should appreciate I had every freedom I could want. I commented that I missed the most important one. You know, freedom of expression? Account manager yelled at me that I should shut up. I was not allowed to discuss anything with the head of security.

Next day, the head of security wanders into my security post and says, "Nice weather, isn't it?"
I told him I was sorry, but I was not allowed to discuss anything with him. And turned back to my work.

Ten minutes later I was relieved of my duty and told that I'd get a warning in writing, and I was removed from the auto parts warehouse and put to work somewhere else.

scarletpeaches
06-10-2011, 10:45 PM
Which just goes to show not expressing your opinion did fuck all good in the end, so you'd have been as well spitting it at them.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-10-2011, 10:48 PM
If you want to beat James Purefoy, you will find a whip lying about. Or something...

scarletpeaches
06-10-2011, 10:49 PM
I'd rather he beat me, to be honest. But that's for another thread, likely in the erotica forum.

Amadan
06-10-2011, 10:59 PM
What I don't get is, from day one, we're told to brace ourselves for criticism. We'll be rejected and our works will be torn apart.

Oh, but by the way? You're never allowed to answer back or express opinions of your own. All your life, you're supposed to churn out books without ever expressing any kind of individuality online.


And you'd better take down any Goodreads reviews that are less than 5 stars because other agents and authors will see them and OMG YOU WILL BE BLACKLISTED FOREVER!

ChaosTitan
06-10-2011, 11:03 PM
I think as a professional writer, we each have to find where that line is for ourselves.

Every one of my posts on AW is linked to my professional life, so I try to not say anything here that I don't want to get thrashed for down the road. BUT that is also just part of my personality. I'm not an in-your-face, tell-it-like-I-feel-it kind of person. I'm typically reserved and kind of shy, and I hate confrontations (in person or online). I don't like saying things that I know will hurt other people. Again, that's just who I am, and it reflects back in the online persona that you see her and on Twitter (or Facebook, or wherever).

Of course, there are things I'll be very up-front about hating, like movies or music. But when it comes to books, I'm much more reserved because this is my profession. Those writers are my peers. I'd rather say "no, Author X's book wasn't to my taste" than be all "that author sucks donkey balls and I can't believe she thinks she can write!" Again, part of who I am (because I know how much it hurts to have someone slam you personally, when it's only the book they can legitimately judge), and also it's just the kind of writer I want to be. I don't want to diss my peers, so I do watch what I say and how I say it.

*shrug*

AmsterdamAssassin
06-10-2011, 11:14 PM
I don't want to diss my peers, so I do watch what I say and how I say it.

*shrug*

I agree -- harsh criticism often says more about the criticaster and less about the critiqued object.

I don't like a lot of things, but I prefer to focus on what I do like and not harangue on what I dislike.

scarletpeaches
06-10-2011, 11:15 PM
And you'd better take down any Goodreads reviews that are less than 5 stars because other agents and authors will see them and OMG YOU WILL BE BLACKLISTED FOREVER!But but but...what about those ones that aren't my fault, like when that other author who doesn't like me got her lapdog to downgrade my rating to give me a falsely-totli bad rating and everyone will think my books are shite? :cry:

Further to Chaos'ss''ss's post: You mentioned that it's only the book people can legitimately judge, which is correct, then go on to say you don't want to slam your peers, which is cool.

However, I don't see judging a book - however vehemently - as having anything to do with slamming your peers, so I can do one without the other. Hell, as writers we're told time and again not to confuse a review with a personal judgement/criticism.

If I wanted, I'd do the latter - slamming my peers - as well, but that's another discussion. Hell, I've had people rip into my work, and if they paid for the book, fair enough. Don't care. I've had people rip into me as well and...meh.

Eddyz Aquila
06-10-2011, 11:20 PM
I'm glad I started this thread, there's some really good ideas and thoughts around here, from both sides. :)

AmsterdamAssassin
06-10-2011, 11:21 PM
I've had people rip into me as well and...meh.

And you liked it. I asked James, he said it made you moist. ;)

scarletpeaches
06-10-2011, 11:22 PM
I'm hiring out as AW's attack dog if anyone's interested. My rates are reasonable. My opinions are not.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-10-2011, 11:22 PM
I'm glad I started this thread, there's some really good ideas and thoughts around here, from both sides. :)

Ah, that's so sweet. Makes my teeth hurt... ;)

Wayne K
06-10-2011, 11:22 PM
:e2shower:

AmsterdamAssassin
06-10-2011, 11:23 PM
I'm hiring out as AW's lapdog if anyone's interested. My rates are seasonable. My opinions are hot.

Fixed, to reflect reality.

brainstorm77
06-10-2011, 11:41 PM
But but but...what about those ones that aren't my fault, like when that other author who doesn't like me got her lapdog to downgrade my rating to give me a falsely-totli bad rating and everyone will think my books are shite? :cry:



The sad thing is this happens a lot on Goodreads. But that's a whole other thread.

scarletpeaches
06-10-2011, 11:53 PM
Yep. I said it in jest but this actually did happen, and the person concerned wasn't even clever enough to hide her name.

Anyway, like brainy said, it's another thread.

ChaosTitan
06-10-2011, 11:57 PM
Further to Chaos'ss''ss's post: You mentioned that it's only the book people can legitimately judge, which is correct, then go on to say you don't want to slam your peers, which is cool.

However, I don't see judging a book - however vehemently - as having anything to do with slamming your peers, so I can do one without the other. Hell, as writers we're told time and again not to confuse a review with a personal judgement/criticism.


True. There is, of course, a difference between dissing a book and dissing the author. And for me, choosing to do neither to any kind of extreme level is just part of who I am.

It's always possible to critique something without being a jerk about it. ;)

scarletpeaches
06-10-2011, 11:57 PM
Not be a jerk? Where's the fun in that?

(;))

I just strongly disagree with the policy of "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." If someone asks my opinion - or hell, even if they don't - I'll give it. I don't see why 'nice' is more valid than 'nasty'. We need to hear both sides of an argument to make a fair judgement; the world of publishing isn't exempt from this.

Eddyz Aquila
06-10-2011, 11:59 PM
Ah, that's so sweet. Makes my teeth hurt... ;)

I can fix that with a good swish of a blade... ;)

Back on topic, can anyone give examples of this:


So long as you're not coming off sounding like the f*cking Unibomber, or advocating something illegal, teh Internet won't kill your career. Yeah, I know it's happened to a few people.

?

ChaosTitan
06-11-2011, 12:00 AM
Not be a jerk? Where's the fun in that?

(;))


Fun? Who's having fun?

Stop that immediately!!!!


I just strongly disagree with the policy of "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." If someone asks my opinion - or hell, even if they don't - I'll give it. I don't see why 'nice' is more valid than 'nasty'. We need to hear both sides of an argument to make a fair judgement; the world of publishing isn't exempt from this.

No worries. I suppose that school of thought has just been drilled into my head since I was a kid. No changing it now. ;)

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 12:13 AM
NO TIME TO ARGUE. PUREFOY ON TELEVISION.

BAI.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-11-2011, 12:19 AM
NO TIME TO ARGUE. PUREFOY ON TELEVISION.

BAI.

Pwah. Tart. :)

Eddyz Aquila
06-11-2011, 12:26 AM
If you must derail this thread, you may only do so with images of cute puppies, supercars or ideas of great books. :D

Back to topic. As said above, can anyone give examples where the internet made a negative impact on the author's career? (apart from Mrs. Jacqueline Howett)

AmsterdamAssassin
06-11-2011, 12:34 AM
If you must derail this thread, you may only do so with images of cute puppies, supercars or ideas of great books. :D

Okay, here a cute tarantula puppy:

http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/users16/miketroll/default/young-singapore-blue-tarantula--large-msg-125124440507.jpg

Libbie
06-11-2011, 12:42 AM
I don't let any opinions fly that any reasonable person wouldn't already assume I hold based on my participation with a certain radio show (http://askanatheist.tv). It's futile to try to keep my name off that and still be actively involved, and I care about the show, so whatever. If any publishing professional wouldn't want to work with me because I'm an outspoken atheist, then I'm cool with that. I try to comport myself with professionalism (except for when I mention being constipated on my Facebook, which is private anyway) so at least I'll know that if anybody declines to work with me because they googled my name, it will be because they dislike atheists and not because I've been acting like a bag of dicks.

I do try to keep my entire online presence as civil and professional as possible.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 12:43 AM
If you must derail this thread, you may only do so with images of cute puppies, supercars or ideas of great books. :D

Back to topic. As said above, can anyone give examples where the internet made a negative impact on the author's career? (apart from Mrs. Jacqueline Howett)Did Howett ever have a career to ruin?

And here is a clown spider:
http://i980.photobucket.com/albums/ae287/scarlettparrish/Clownspider.jpg

kaitie
06-11-2011, 01:07 AM
The idea of living my life as if my mother and my boss are looking over my shoulder to make sure they approve of everything I say sounds like a horrifying and spineless way to live to me.

There's a huge difference between trash-talking someone ("My boss is an incompetent shithead!") and talking about things that aren't my boss's concern (like my political views). If you have a job where mentioning any political views on your FB page that your boss disagrees with could get you fired, I'm very sorry and I hope you are able to find a better job.

I agree, there is a difference. However, I don't think it's spineless or horrifying. I'm a private person, so maybe I just have different standards. For the record, I don't discuss things that are better meant for private in public period (even when I lived in a foreign country).

However, let's say I go out to dinner with a friend at a restaurant. Sure, I don't really mind talking about elections or something like that if it's with a friend I know I can discuss that kind of thing with. That's issue number one: there's a reason common manners have always said don't discuss politics or religion at the dinner table. But if my friends and I can discuss without getting annoyed or arguing or something, I'd do it.

At the same time, I don't discuss things like that at work. People have many different viewpoints, and there is no need to create conflict or potentially cause problems or have people think differently of me just because I disagree about something controversial. That doesn't mean I'll lie about something or if asked that I won't answer a question, but truth be told, that doesn't happen often. I don't get involved in conversations I know can cause problems. I'm a peace-keeper and not a fan of conflict, and I don't want to be judged.

The problem with saying something online, especially if you don't have privacy settings enabled, is that anyone can see what you are saying. Instead of having dinner with a friend at a restaurant, I might as well stand up on the table and shout my opinions to the world. Not only that, there's a record of it that isn't easy to remove. If I say something to a buddy at a restaurant, generally speaking what's said there stays there. Not so on the internet. Things that are said are still there to be viewed later on by anyone who feels like looking.

As for boss and mom--I say that because most of the mothers I know with kids my age or younger reads what their kids say. They visit Facebook pages, blogs, etc. The kids may or may not know this is going on. I can guarantee that the things I say to my friends aren't the same things I say to my parents. And I'm not someone who hides things from my mom. She's awesome and a great friend and I tell her almost everything. It's just a matter that my way of talking to my mom is different than the way I talk to my friends. The things we discuss are often different.

Employers do look people up online. Bosses follow what people are saying to make sure they're not out of line, or they look up prospective employees. I'm not someone who drinks, but if I were, I wouldn't be posting pictures and talking about getting drunk or anything of that sort because if my boss read that, they're going to make judgments about me and it could cost me a job. If I'm talking about how much I hate my job or how my coworkers suck or something like that, a future boss might see that and think "Wow, she's going to do the same thing about us."

And while people aren't supposed to make decisions based on religion or politics, those are two of the most divisive topics out there and a lot of people do judge others based on their opinions. I would hate to lose a chance at a job because I am online discussing something that my future boss might completely disagree with.

I have plenty of issues I'd love to discuss online. I follow politics regularly and have tons of opinions, and my political beliefs happen to be unusual enough that a lot of people would consider them unpatriotic at best. I am very open about religion but could easily offend a large number of people with my views.

I love to discuss things like this, and I am friends with people who are open and with whom I can discuss this kind of thing freely without risk of any of us getting offended or starting arguments. The thing is, a lot of people out there can't.

There are some issues I'm publicly involved in because it's my moral responsibility to be (the environment, for instance), but for general every day things? I just think it's better to err on the side of caution. I can discuss things with my friends and family privately. My views don't need to be shared with the entire world, particularly when I don't know those people or how they'll respond or who I might inadvertently offend.

Amadan
06-11-2011, 01:15 AM
I agree, there is a difference. However, I don't think it's spineless or horrifying.


But it is. You're suggesting, for example, that I shouldn't mention I'm an atheist, or pro-choice, or that I hate Twilight, because someone somewhere might take offense and not buy my books. (Which is likely -- I'm sure there are some people out there who would.) So to make sure I never alienate any prospective readers, I should keep all my opinions private.

You're free to do that, of course, but I'll strongly argue against the proposition that this is something authors in general should do. And frankly I wouldn't respect anyone so desperately afraid of offending anyone in the world who might give them money that they say nothing except how much they love kittens.

This is entirely different from being a "jerk" -- no, I wouldn't advocate going out of your way to be an asshole (though plenty of authors do that too and it really doesn't seem to hurt their careers). But you can be strongly opinionated without coming off as someone who sounds like a nightmare to work or interact with.

And posting things on your blog or Facebook page is not like standing on a table and shouting your opinions to the world. People have to choose to read your blog posts.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 01:18 AM
Most well-known authors who blog talk about their politics and personal beliefs. Some are more political than others, and some are more forceful in expressing themselves than others, but hardly anyone seems to be living in fear that mentioning they voted Democrat will lead to no Republicans ever buying their books again or all Republican agents and editors promptly rejecting anything they submit.

And I also know people personally who boycott authors because of statements like that. It does happen.

Personally, I don't really want to know about the author's beliefs. I have found out things about authors that made me lose interest in their books, even books that I once enjoyed. Anne Rice going off the deep end, for instance. I can't read her books now without knowing she went pretty crazy getting negative reviews. I found out another author helped murder her best friend's mom when she was fifteen. That author might be a completely different person now and her books might be amazing, but I can't look at one without being aware of that. I used to love Orson Scott Card, but I can't read anything he's written now without the knowledge that he made some very anti-gay comments. The man's brilliant as heck, but the experience isn't the same anymore.

I'm a pretty open-minded person and everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but sometimes knowing things about the author changes the reading experience.

Something else that changes the reading experience for me: finding out that the author is just not a very nice person. I've read a couple of blogs where you discover that the author appears to be a narcissist, or just a jerk. It's happened a couple of times now, and that also makes me not want to read the books. On the other hand, reading an author who is nice and cool and funny makes me want to read even more.

Personality matters, and when you're inserting the author's personality into the mix, which is exactly what's happening when an author is using websites and social media, giving a positive impression is important. In the same way you'd smile and shake hands and be pleasant at a business meeting, I think it's important to give the leave the best impression we can online as well.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 01:22 AM
And I also know people personally who boycott authors because of statements like that. It does happen.I'm sure it does. There are also folks who contact outspoken authors to say "Thank God someone has the balls to speak the way you do." And they get readers out of it. Fans. Friends.

It works both ways. I know for a fact I've driven people away with things I've said online. I couldn't give a flying fuck, because the only person I have to sleep with at night is myself. I know I've been true to myself. And yes, yes, you can say "You can be true to yourself without being publicly objectionable." Well I'm saying I find hiding what you are to be more offensive than publicly admitting to atheism, creationism, leftism, rightism, any other bloody -ism.

Cowardice offends me more than outspokenness ever could. For every person who's called me a bitch, there are ten more who've emailed me privately to say "Good on ya." No lie.

Amadan
06-11-2011, 01:25 AM
I'm in violent agreement with scarletpeaches. This worries me. :o

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 01:26 AM
You're not the only one. :Wha:

kaitie
06-11-2011, 01:35 AM
But it is. You're suggesting, for example, that I shouldn't mention I'm an atheist, or pro-choice, or that I hate Twilight, because someone somewhere might take offense and not buy my books. (Which is likely -- I'm sure there are some people out there who would.) So to make sure I never alienate any prospective readers, I should keep all my opinions private.

You're free to do that, of course, but I'll strongly argue against the proposition that this is something authors in general should do. And frankly I wouldn't respect anyone so desperately afraid of offending anyone in the world who might give them money that they say nothing except how much they love kittens.

This is entirely different from being a "jerk" -- no, I wouldn't advocate going out of your way to be an asshole (though plenty of authors do that too and it really doesn't seem to hurt their careers). But you can be strongly opinionated without coming off as someone who sounds like a nightmare to work or interact with.

And posting things on your blog or Facebook page is not like standing on a table and shouting your opinions to the world. People have to choose to read your blog posts.

I'm suggesting that you be aware of what you're saying when you say it. For instance: Stating you're an atheist isn't in and of itself a deal breaker. However, if you said something that could be construed as looking down on others, that could be a deal breaker. Having a belief isn't a problem, but I've seen a lot of people say things online that go beyond "This is what I believe and why." I've seen a lot of comments that would be more along the lines of, "I don't understand how anyone could believe there's a supreme being out there. It just doesn't make sense."

I have no problem with someone stating they're atheist or Buddhist or Christian or whatever, but the second that goes from stating a belief to putting down another belief (and it's easy to do), then it becomes an issue. You should always be true to yourself and not feel like you're hiding who you are. If someone asks your religion, of course you should feel comfortable telling it.

If these things are important to you and you can discuss it in a calm, rational way and don't mind losing people, then I'm for it.

The thing is, I see people make statements online that make me cringe. A rant about a politician or a law or whatever. Things that just...well, aren't necessary. I've seen many blogs that give me the impression that the person concerned forgets sometimes that they're not just talking to a few friends.

I guess a lot of people would disagree with me, but for me a public, professional persona is public and professional. I'll discuss my views if someone asks or if it's relevant and I'll do so in a non-inflammatory way. I'd discuss something controversial if I had a good reason or felt it was necessary. But, for instance, making comments about how I feel about the coming election on a blog? I'd leave that kind of thing off and share it in emails instead.

And yes, people have to look for your stuff, but that's what readers are doing. And readers come from all walks of life and backgrounds and beliefs. I'd rather create a forum where everyone felt comfortable rather than one where certain people felt unwelcome.

Again, I'm not a conflict person in general, so it could just be my personality. I'm also opinionated as heck, which is kind of a funny combo. ;)

Anyway you really don't have to agree. I'm sure you probably won't. This is just my own take on things.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 01:41 AM
The thing is, I see people make statements online that make me cringe. A rant about a politician or a law or whatever. Things that just...well, aren't necessary. I've seen many blogs that give me the impression that the person concerned forgets sometimes that they're not just talking to a few friends.

I guess a lot of people would disagree with me, but for me a public, professional persona is public and professional. I'll discuss my views if someone asks or if it's relevant and I'll do so in a non-inflammatory way. I'd discuss something controversial if I had a good reason or felt it was necessary. But, for instance, making comments about how I feel about the coming election on a blog? I'd leave that kind of thing off and share it in emails instead.I've blogged and tweeted about things that aren't necessary. Hell, my presence on this site isn't necessary. Writing isn't necessary. But you know what? I do it all anyway because I want to. People are drawn to unapologetic personal integrity, and shy away from those who water themselves down to curry favour. Avoiding conflict? Cool. But not at the expense of your own, as I just called it, personal integrity.

There are people on this site - not in this thread, but no doubt they know who they are if they should chance across this comment - who actually do hide what they are, under the banner of "Being nice," and "Maintaining professionalism." Trouble is, they can't hide what they are for long, and that, my friend, gets them a hell of a worse reputation in this business than outspokenness ever will.

I've had people seek me out to work with me. I've also heard of other professionals specifying other writers they would never work with, specifically because of the dichotomy between public writer and private "festering tumour" (direct quote).

Momento Mori
06-11-2011, 01:44 AM
kaitie:
Anne Rice going off the deep end, for instance. I can't read her books now without knowing she went pretty crazy getting negative reviews. I found out another author helped murder her best friend's mom when she was fifteen. That author might be a completely different person now and her books might be amazing, but I can't look at one without being aware of that. I used to love Orson Scott Card, but I can't read anything he's written now without the knowledge that he made some very anti-gay comments.

I get where you're coming from, but personally I like to know that an author thinks something (even if it's something I'm vehemently opposed to) rather than being a bland, neutral beige person who won't say what they think or someone who's faking something they're not because they think it will appeal to the widest possible demographic.

Politicians do that; authors shouldn't.


scarletpeaches:
I couldn't give a flying fuck, because the only person I have to sleep with at night is myself.

Yes to this.

MM

kaitie
06-11-2011, 01:45 AM
I'm sure it does. There are also folks who contact outspoken authors to say "Thank God someone has the balls to speak the way you do." And they get readers out of it. Fans. Friends.

It works both ways. I know for a fact I've driven people away with things I've said online. I couldn't give a flying fuck, because the only person I have to sleep with at night is myself. I know I've been true to myself. And yes, yes, you can say "You can be true to yourself without being publicly objectionable." Well I'm saying I find hiding what you are to be more offensive than publicly admitting to atheism, creationism, leftism, rightism, any other bloody -ism.

Cowardice offends me more than outspokenness ever could. For every person who's called me a bitch, there are ten more who've emailed me privately to say "Good on ya." No lie.

I'm having a hard time explaining my thoughts without giving specific examples which I really don't want to do because I don't want to call people out. I definitely don't think you shouldn't be true to yourself. You should. It's important. And, ironically, I often tell people that "you have to live with yourself" and should therefore always follow what you think is right.

If it's important for you to tell your readers your political thoughts, then go for it. I can easily see a circumstance in which a controversial issue pops up and I would feel the need to weigh in and let my opinion be known because I feel very strongly about the issue from a moral standpoint. Trust me, I wouldn't shy away from that.

I guess what I'm trying to get at, though, is that those are conscious statements made with the awareness that you might offend people and done anyway. What I'm cautioning against is the concept that what you say doesn't matter or the way that some people approach social networking--filled with too much information and throwing out statements without consideration for the possible consequences. I'm encouraging professionalism, and I'm encouraging people to think through what they're going to say before they say it and determine if that's really the right forum for it.

I also think it's important for people to realize that even if right now their blog is only read by a handful of friends, in a year or two or five that blog might have a hundred thousand readers. I'd rather post things online with the awareness that anyone can see it and err on the side of being private in general.

Again, this is just me. I'm sure there are a lot of people who would even argue that if a reader is turned off by the author then that's not a reader they wanted anyway, and there's something to be said for that. It's just not really my way of doing business.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 01:48 AM
Avoiding conflict? Cool. But not at the expense of your own, as I just called it, personal integrity.

This is what I'm trying to say. I'm obviously not getting it across well, but this is it exactly. Be yourself and who you are and don't be ashamed of that. I'm not at all trying to suggest that someone should keep their mouth shut at the expense of integrity.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 01:48 AM
I guess what I'm trying to get at, though, is that those are conscious statements made with the awareness that you might offend people and done anyway.I understand what you're saying.

I don't set out to offend people - really! I just acknowledge that I might. And I cease to care.

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 01:51 AM
I've hung out with an editor while she searched a writer's name on the internet. If the writer is vulgar or too political in public, it can affect his/her audience and therefore sales.

I've heard agents on a panel at several writers' events who said they always search a writer's name on the internet.

It happens. The result depends on who is doing the searching and what they find--how they react.

I'm one of those readers who won't buy a book by someone who expresses opinions I consider hateful. Heck, I won't even check them out of the library.

Amadan
06-11-2011, 01:53 AM
I guess what I'm trying to get at, though, is that those are conscious statements made with the awareness that you might offend people and done anyway. What I'm cautioning against is the concept that what you say doesn't matter or the way that some people approach social networking--filled with too much information and throwing out statements without consideration for the possible consequences. I'm encouraging professionalism, and I'm encouraging people to think through what they're going to say before they say it and determine if that's really the right forum for it.


The problem I have with what you're saying is that you are defining "professionalism" as "Taking no positions that might offend anyone."

I don't think many people are naive enough to think that if they post on their blog about how they love/hate Obama, or they are an atheist or a born-again Christian, that some readers won't be alienated by that. And obviously, you should decide whether expressing your opinion of Obama or religion is important enough to alienate some people (of course, my experience is that as many people start following you because they agree with you as drop you because they don't).

But it's not unprofessional to be free with your opinion. It's just a personal choice.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 01:55 AM
The problem I have with what you're saying is that you are defining "professionalism" as "Taking no positions that might offend anyone."

I don't think many people are naive enough to think that if they post on their blog about how they love/hate Obama, or they are an atheist or a born-again Christian, that some readers won't be alienated by that. And obviously, you should decide whether expressing your opinion of Obama or religion is important enough to alienate some people (of course, my experience is that as many people start following you because they agree with you as drop you because they don't).

But it's not unprofessional to be free with your opinion. It's just a personal choice.This is exactly my experience too, except I'd go so far as to say you end up with more followers than the number who left. Why? Even if they don't agree with you, folks admire your openness.

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 01:57 AM
But it's not unprofessional to be free with your opinion. It's just a personal choice.

I'd disagree. I think it's more professional to be as neutral as possible in order to remain conflict-free with one's audience.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 01:58 AM
Are you suggesting that someone like me, for example, is unprofessional for expressing opinions with which others might disagree?

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 02:01 AM
I'm saying that the standards for professionalism which I've been taught include neutral demeanor where possible to avoid alienating one's colleagues or customers.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 02:02 AM
And my experience is the complete opposite. So I guess your definition of professional and my editors' are different.

Amadan
06-11-2011, 02:03 AM
I'm saying that the standards for professionalism which I've been taught include neutral demeanor where possible to avoid alienating one's colleagues or customers.


Sure are a lot of unprofessional authors out there. A lot.

And I'm not talking about the batshit crazy ones who go off on their fans like Anne Rice.

ChaosTitan
06-11-2011, 02:04 AM
But it's not unprofessional to be free with your opinion. It's just a personal choice.

It is unprofessional in certain circumstances.

I work in retail. I get annoyed at the stupid things customers say and do and ask. But it's professional of me to answer their questions and give them the customer service our company requires of us. It is unprofessional of me to tell them they're dumb because they can't read a price tag that's hanging right in front of them (opinion), that they're pillow color choices are dreadful (opinion), or that they're acting like a child because I won't let them combine coupons (policy, but still my opinion that they're acting like a child).

So yes, there are instances when you can flatly say giving your opinion is unprofessional, and that you should just hold your tongue in public and then go vent in private.

As I've said before, in the realm of authors and the Internet, everyone's threshold for professionalism is going to be different. And everyone's comfort level for what they do and don't say in public will be different.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 02:05 AM
Sure are a lot of unprofessional authors out there. A lot.Guess I'm unprofessional too. Weeeee! :snoopy:
And I'm not talking about the batshit crazy ones who go off on their fans like Anne Rice.Unprofessional bookwhoring alert: I use the word 'batshit' in the dedication to my next novel. And yep, it's a vampire tale. No, they do not sparkle.

Oh, and I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say: I'd much rather work with someone I butt heads with on many an occasion, than someone greige.

(Combo of grey/beige for the uninitiated. Wouldn't want to cause offence, now.)

Sophia
06-11-2011, 02:05 AM
Re professionalism: I think that if you were working for a company, say, and were at a conference or other professional venue where you are representing your company, for example, then being as neutral as possible in order to avoid conflict is your duty as an employee.

As an author, I think it's not so clear cut. If you were self-published, then you are the only one who might get hurt by putting potential readers off. You have no moral obligation to anyone to behave in a certain way.

As an author signed with a publisher, I think that freedom is reduced a little simply because there are others involved now: the other employees of the publisher, who are counting on you to do your bit to encourage sales. Part of that would be to put off as few potential readers as possible, I think. That's where professionalism as Karen Junker talks about it becomes relevant, to me.

The decision has to be made before you sign, for both you and the publisher. Are they willing to take a chance on you, and are you willing to perhaps compromise in order to be a fit with them?

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 02:05 AM
Sure are a lot of unprofessional authors out there. A lot.

And I'm not talking about the batshit crazy ones who go off on their fans like Anne Rice.

And I'm sure their behavior gains them fans in the arena in which they are participating. But they may never know how many potential fans they've alienated.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 02:07 AM
It is unprofessional in certain circumstances.

I work in retail. I get annoyed at the stupid things customers say and do and ask. But it's professional of me to answer their questions and give them the customer service our company requires of us. It is unprofessional of me to tell them they're dumb because they can't read a price tag that's hanging right in front of them (opinion), that they're pillow color choices are dreadful (opinion), or that they're acting like a child because I won't let them combine coupons (policy, but still my opinion that they're acting like a child).

So yes, there are instances when you can flatly say giving your opinion is unprofessional, and that you should just hold your tongue in public and then go vent in private.

As I've said before, in the realm of authors and the Internet, everyone's threshold for professionalism is going to be different. And everyone's comfort level for what they do and don't say in public will be different.Please do this on the day you quit.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 02:08 AM
And I'm sure their behavior gains them fans in the arena in which they are participating. But they may never know how many potential fans they've alienated.I'm sure the numbers who swarm in more than compensate for the numbers lost.

ChaosTitan
06-11-2011, 02:10 AM
And my experience is the complete opposite. So I guess your definition of professional and my editors' are different.

I know we've had this discussion before in other threads, but I think a certain amount of leeway has to be given for genre, too. An author who writes sweet Amish romance, for example, might cross a few eyes if she Tweets about how much she hates organized religion, and swears up a raunchy storm every time she blogs.

On the other hand, I know a guy who writes (and this is what he calls it) zombie smut. So he blogs and tweets about zombies and smut and everything in between. It fits.

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 02:10 AM
I'm sure the numbers who swarm in more than compensate for the numbers lost.


But you don't really know for sure how many are lost because of some comment or action that could have been avoided.

It's really easy to be a big fish in a tiny pond.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 02:11 AM
I know we've had this discussion before in other threads, but I think a certain amount of leeway has to be given for genre, too. An author who writes sweet Amish romance, for example, might cross a few eyes if she Tweets about how much she hates organized religion, and swears up a raunchy storm every time she blogs.

On the other hand, I know a guy who writes (and this is what he calls it) zombie smut. So he blogs and tweets about zombies and smut and everything in between. It fits.Yup. Gotta love being a professional pervert. :D

(Zombie smut, though? What's hot about boning someone and your Johnson falling off?)

But you don't really know for sure how many are lost because of some comment or action that could have been avoided.

It's really easy to be a big fish in a tiny pond.If your readership, sales and royalties climb steadily and agents/editors seek you out, I'd say your opinions aren't doing your career any harm.

ChaosTitan
06-11-2011, 02:12 AM
Please do this on the day you quit.

:ROFL:

Trust me, I plan to. Been planning to for nine years. I have a lot of gripes stored up... :evil

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 02:15 AM
:ROFL:

Trust me, I plan to. Been planning to for nine years. I have a lot of gripes stored up... :evilDuring my last week working in a department store, when a customer grabbed me (yes, really) to demand an answer to an enquiry, when another interrupted me, when someone waited until I was up a fucking ladder to come speak to me, they were greeted with, "What now? Jesus..."

When a fellow member of staff asked me to check something on the pricing gun which I was using to answer someone else's enquiry, I looked her dead in the eye and said, "Are you stupid? I'm speaking to [person's name]."

The womenswear manager was a bitch on wheels and whenever she approached me with THAT LOOK on her face, I just told her to piss off.

What were they gonna do? Fire me?

God it felt good.

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 02:17 AM
If your readership, sales and royalties climb steadily and agents/editors seek you out, I'd say your opinions aren't doing your career any harm.

Harm is relative. What if you could be earning TWO billion dollars a year instead of only ONE?

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 02:19 AM
God, that would suck. How does anyone cope with only ONE bajillion monkeydollars?

*sigh*

And to think, two would have bought me that Purefoy I've been eyeing for over a decade now... :(

kaitie
06-11-2011, 02:38 AM
The problem I have with what you're saying is that you are defining "professionalism" as "Taking no positions that might offend anyone."

I don't think many people are naive enough to think that if they post on their blog about how they love/hate Obama, or they are an atheist or a born-again Christian, that some readers won't be alienated by that. And obviously, you should decide whether expressing your opinion of Obama or religion is important enough to alienate some people (of course, my experience is that as many people start following you because they agree with you as drop you because they don't).

But it's not unprofessional to be free with your opinion. It's just a personal choice.

I'm not. I'm saying that context matters, that the method of discussing an issue like that matters, and that the reason for stating it matters. If done and dealt with in a professional matter, I'm not all that opposed.

What I see a lot of is people who do seem to not consider these things. They state opinions or discuss issues or word things in unfortunate and potentially offensive ways without a second thought (or maybe just without a care). I've seen plenty of posts that read as if they're intended for a group of friends than the public.

Maybe my idea of professionalism is different than other people's, but again, I can guarantee that my way of discussing a topic to a crowd of people is going to be different from when I'm shooting the bull with a couple of friends. Maybe that makes me sound false or inauthentic, but I don't feel it is. Different situations have different requirements and guidelines and manners.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 02:44 AM
I'm just chucking this thought out there and it is not, in any way, a response to anyone else in this thread. Merely a result of my own personal experience, and conversations I've had with editors and agents.

Being outwardly professional online and in public doesn't make you a nice person. It just means you appear to be nice.

Inauthentic appearances eventually become transparent. And the people you're trying to work with are the very ones who will see through them first.

That is all.

brainstorm77
06-11-2011, 02:44 AM
I'm unprofessional.

Hehehe!

kaitie
06-11-2011, 02:46 AM
It is unprofessional in certain circumstances.

I work in retail. I get annoyed at the stupid things customers say and do and ask. But it's professional of me to answer their questions and give them the customer service our company requires of us. It is unprofessional of me to tell them they're dumb because they can't read a price tag that's hanging right in front of them (opinion), that they're pillow color choices are dreadful (opinion), or that they're acting like a child because I won't let them combine coupons (policy, but still my opinion that they're acting like a child).

So yes, there are instances when you can flatly say giving your opinion is unprofessional, and that you should just hold your tongue in public and then go vent in private.

As I've said before, in the realm of authors and the Internet, everyone's threshold for professionalism is going to be different. And everyone's comfort level for what they do and don't say in public will be different.

I'll give my own example. I worked as a tutor. Sometimes, a teacher would discuss something with a student that had me totally irked. They would talk about politics or whatever in a way that, to me, seemed incorrect. These were college students, btw, and the students would bring it up.

I often wanted to go over and give a different opinion and try to explain why the other side thought differently, but it would have been highly unprofessional of me to go and interrupt another person's tutoring session and then essentially say that they weren't tutoring properly because their opinion on the topic differed from my own. Now, if someone defined something wrong or was teaching incorrect facts, I could have stepped in and politely said, "You know, I'm pretty sure it means this. Let's check," or something, but in a situation where my opinion differs? No way.

I had a boss once who treated me very poorly and who I had a very negative experience with and I ended up quitting. It was something that I didn't discuss in public period because we lived in the same town, and it wasn't professional or right for me to discuss what was essentially a private matter in public where other people who knew her might be around to overhear. If anyone asked, I just said that we'd had some problems and left it at that. I discussed it with family and friends in private at home, but it wasn't appropriate to deal with in public.

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 02:48 AM
Being outwardly professional online and in public doesn't make you a nice person. It just means you appear to be nice.



Thank all that is holy for that. Appearing nice is part of the social contract that most people subscribe to. There are entertaining exceptions.

brainstorm77
06-11-2011, 02:52 AM
:e2moon::e2paperba

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 02:54 AM
Thank all that is holy for that. Appearing nice is part of the social contract that most people subscribe to. There are entertaining exceptions.And that is where I disagree with you 100%. I can't fucking stand people who put on a front and who only appear to be nice.

I'm not saying I dislike genuinely nice people. I'm saying I could happily lamp those who put on an act. They're deceitful, and several rungs below bad actors on my personal pecking order.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 02:56 AM
Inauthentic appearances eventually become transparent. And the people you're trying to work with are the very ones who will see through them first.

That is all.

I think that's true as well. Which is why being a nice person just in general is important to me. :D But I think professionalism and being nice aren't necessarily the same thing. To me I think it's more about trying not to leave a negative impression. I think there's a lot to be said for a smile and courtesy and manners.

Then again, it seems snark registers big these days, so maybe being professionally un-nice is something to aim for. :tongue

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 02:58 AM
I'd argue that most people think that they ARE nice. Whether or not that is the case. But I think that for the most part, people do have a sense of what is considered polite public behavior.

There are exceptions. But society depends on not too many of us turning over the facades to see the dark underbelly.

Mr Flibble
06-11-2011, 03:01 AM
I think if I can talk about say, another author's work rationally, constructively without just saying 'ZOMG IT SUXXORS' then I'll do so. I can debate why Song of Ice and Fire isn't my thing, or why I think X is a bad book because of Y.

But if I'm incapable of that (there's a book that to this day I CANNOT discuss rationally because it makes me foam at the mouth) then I'm best not mentioning the title/author in public. Because that's my problem, and although I personally think it's Just Not On, I don't need to inflict foaming mouth disease on anyone else. Although if anyone wants to take this 'Foot in Mouth' disease from me, that'd be cool.


Unless I'm having one of my 'moments'*, in which case all bets are off...

Have I said stuff while pissed off that probably I shouldn't have? Hell yes. Regretted it too sometimes. But show me one person who hasn't (maybe not on the net, but still.) The difference is my battiness is out there for the world to see! (and I'm trying hard to contain it too) And often it's not on its own, but it has company :D

It's tricky - I try to be myself, but to be professional at the same time (with regard to books/publishing anyway. I reserve the right to be pissed off at other things that are not part of that) I fail sometimes. *cough* And heck, sometimes you need to be pissed off at stuff! Whitewashing etc - these are things that people SHOULD be pissed off at.


*Which have been known to last quite some time.

ETA:
Appearing nice is part of the social contract that most people subscribe to. That's cool if you ARE nice. Lying your face off to appear so is worse than being an arse in teh first place a lot of the time. IMO. I'd rather an honest wanker than a two faced suck up.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 03:02 AM
And that is where I disagree with you 100%. I can't fucking stand people who put on a front and who only appear to be nice.

I'm not saying I dislike genuinely nice people. I'm saying I could happily lamp those who put on an act. They're deceitful, and several rungs below bad actors on my personal pecking order.

I don't know. Maybe this actually agrees with you. I'm gonna write it out and see. But yeah, I've known several people who were very two-faced. People who were super nice and agreeable and fake to your face, but turned around and talked trash behind your back. The same people who would say, "Oh I love those new shoes!" then turn around and say "Omg, did you see those hideous things she's wearing? How embarrassing!" as soon as you were gone.

I have a huge problem with that sort of thing. However, I don't think being nice or professional or tactful necessitates that type of attitude. I can be nice to someone I dislike. I can be nice even when I say something someone doesn't want to hear.

I think a lot of professionalism is about courtesy more than fake niceness. And I don't think being courteous is automatically false even if you are doing it to be professional.

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 03:03 AM
I just worry about an editor or agent finding all the mistakes in my posts. :)

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 03:04 AM
I don't know. Maybe this actually agrees with you. I'm gonna write it out and see. But yeah, I've known several people who were very two-faced. People who were super nice and agreeable and fake to your face, but turned around and talked trash behind your back. The same people who would say, "Oh I love those new shoes!" then turn around and say "Omg, did you see those hideous things she's wearing? How embarrassing!" as soon as you were gone.

I have a huge problem with that sort of thing. However, I don't think being nice or professional or tactful necessitates that type of attitude. I can be nice to someone I dislike. I can be nice even when I say something someone doesn't want to hear.

I think a lot of professionalism is about courtesy more than fake niceness. And I don't think being courteous is automatically false even if you are doing it to be professional.Oh, definitely. Yes, I agree with you. :)

But just as courtesy isn't necessarily false, so too can we say that outspokenness isn't necessarily rude.

Amadan
06-11-2011, 03:11 AM
All the anecdotes about working retail and working with teachers and bosses and so on are completely beside the point when we're talking about authors.

A retail worker who starts preaching religion to his customers or talking about how he's going to vote is being unprofessional. An author who talks on his blog about the same thing is not.

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 03:13 AM
A retail worker who starts preaching religion to his customers or talking about how he's going to vote is being unprofessional. An author who talks on his blog about the same thing is not.

I don't see why an author can't be held to the same standards of professionalism as any other profession or trade.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 03:17 AM
I don't see why an author can't be held to the same standards of professionalism as any other profession or trade.

I see it the same way.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 03:20 AM
Define professionalism.

This thread is evidence that when it comes to authors, you can't.

What pisses off some people in this discussion is perfectly okay with my editors and readers, so...:Shrug: Hasn't done me any harm. If anyone thinks my behaviour is unprofessional (and I'm sure some do) they don't have to work with me or read my books. Plenty of other people are willing.

And in fact, what many people call professional behaviour does itself offend others, including me. So...you can't win.

Even when it comes to shopworkers, there are difference standards of professionalism depending on environment, customer demographic, and so on.

Who's going to set themselves up as the AW Volturi? (Yeah I went there.)

rhymegirl
06-11-2011, 03:23 AM
But fuck it if I'll take any job (including as a writer) where I'm expected not to say anything about politics or anything else that someone somewhere might disagree with, and I think advice that basically boils down to "Be as timid and nondescript and inoffensive online as possible" does a disservice to writers. We're as human and opinionated as anyone else.

I agree with this.

Isn't it better to be honest about your opinions?

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 03:26 AM
Professionalism will be defined in each person's own way, of course. But there are some basic politeness guidelines the violation of which may or may not affect a reader/editor/agent opinion.

Some people don't give it any thought at all. But some may wish to consider the effect their public persona has on their career.

Mr Flibble
06-11-2011, 03:27 AM
No topic is off limits with my customers.I try to be polite about it...

Usually. I have thrown out people with some force/serious swearing. They deserved it too.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 03:27 AM
Mine's had a pretty good effect, thanks. Unlike some who have gone the other way, played nice, and shot themselves in the foot because they couldn't keep the act up.

ETA: Sod off, Idiots, with your lightning ninjafingers!

kaitie
06-11-2011, 03:27 AM
Lol, I was just saying the same thing, Karen, and you beat me to it.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 03:29 AM
Mine's had a pretty good effect, thanks. Unlike some who have gone the other way, played nice, and shot themselves in the foot because they couldn't keep the act up.

ETA: Sod off, Idiots, with your lightning ninjafingers!

Okay, I'm really not trying to be obtuse here, and I'm not sure if you can, but could you give an example of what you mean by this? Because I really am not sure I get quite what you mean by people playing nice and shooting themselves in the foot.

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 03:32 AM
Mebbe they simply need an adjustment in their medication?

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 03:34 AM
Okay, I'm really not trying to be obtuse here, and I'm not sure if you can, but could you give an example of what you mean by this? Because I really am not sure I get quite what you mean by people playing nice and shooting themselves in the foot.I mean I know of writers who to all outward appearances, come off as nice, but bitch behind people's backs. Or they adopt the opinions of whichever person they're talking to at any one time because they have none of their own, and word of their chameleon-like behaviour gets around. It's a small world, and somehow, editors/agents get to hear about it. They then choose not to work with such people in future. Not because they were outspoken, but because they were outspoken behind people's backs.

No, it doesn't destroy their careers, but doors slowly close to them, one by one. And if nothing else, they lose friends over it.

My point being, if Writer X tries to cover over what they are with an act of niceness, they eventually run out of energy and the act crumples in front of the wrong person, or the wrong person gets to hear about it.

Okay, I'm taking my example to extremes, but it has happened to more than one person I could name (but won't). You don't have to be a complete bitch or a complete Pollyanna, there is a happy medium, but if I absolutely had to choose between the two, well, you know which I'd go for. ;)

Mr Flibble
06-11-2011, 03:35 AM
Considering what you're saying is good

Being afraid to say 'Actually, I don't care for the madonna/whore dichotomy in fantasy because it's lazy writing/characterisation and it makes me wonder about those authors that they can't come up with any sort of other female...' isn't IMO. Being scared to voice an opinion or only voicing the good ones isn't honest. It doesn't mean you have to publically flog the author.

It's only bad if the opinion comes across as a rant. (and not always then, depending on what you're talking about. Some things deserve ranting)

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 03:38 AM
Right. But the OP was asking more about public display rather than the behind the scenes, stab-you-in-the-back stuff.

Yes, that kind of bad behavior can backfire. But I am an advocate for writers having the best possible success with their careers. My opinion is that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Mr Flibble
06-11-2011, 03:40 AM
Only if it's sincere honey. Insincere anything soon shows up.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 03:40 AM
Right. But the OP was asking more about public display rather than the behind the scenes, stab-you-in-the-back stuff.

Yes, that kind of bad behavior can backfire. But I am an advocate for writers having the best possible success with their careers. My opinion is that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.Ha! I've used that saying myself.

But, as Chaos earlier pointed out before, there's a certain leeway in my genre. There's also a certain leeway in my humour. Some people get it, some people don't. If I piss someone off and didn't mean to and regret it, I apologise. So that professionalism is there.

I do, of course, speak out a lot too. I hope people realise it's more out of passion than malice.
Only if it's sincere honey. Insincere anything soon shows up.Yup.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 03:41 AM
I mean I know of writers who to all outward appearances, come off as nice, but bitch behind people's backs. Or they adopt the opinions of whichever person they're talking to at any one time because they have none of their own, and word of their chameleon-like behaviour gets around. It's a small world, and somehow, editors/agents get to hear about it. They then choose not to work with such people in future. Not because they were outspoken, but because they were outspoken behind people's backs.

No, it doesn't destroy their careers, but doors slowly close to them, one by one. And if nothing else, they lose friends over it.

My point being, if Writer X tries to cover over what they are with an act of niceness, they eventually run out of energy and the act crumples in front of the wrong person, or the wrong person gets to hear about it.

Okay, I'm taking my example to extremes, but it has happened to more than one person I could name (but won't). You don't have to be a complete bitch or a complete Pollyanna, there is a happy medium, but if I absolutely had to choose between the two, well, you know which I'd go for. ;)

Okay, that I can agree with. I wasn't sure if you meant people being two-faced or people who were trying to be nice then had a bad day and said something rude and ruined reputations or something.

In any case, I've known people who are similar, and it frustrates me to no end as well. But that's not my definition of nice or professional or courteous. As someone who values honesty, I think it's very important that people also recognize that tact matters a lot and you can disagree or say things that might offend in ways that are tactful and not offensive (or not as offensive).

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 03:43 AM
I think you're right that certain genres have certain reader expectations. You are expected to be outspoken and flaunt some convention if you write certain genres.

Amadan
06-11-2011, 03:46 AM
I don't see why an author can't be held to the same standards of professionalism as any other profession or trade.


So according to you, John Scalzi (who has one of the most popular author blogs around, one that other authors clamor to be featured in) is unprofessional.

That's an absurd formulation. Readers are not the same as retail customers at a store. They don't get to expect authors to wait on their convenience and deal with their bad attitudes with a smile, they don't get to demand authors give them their money back if they don't like their books, they don't get to demand an author be "fired" if the author is rude to them.

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 03:50 AM
John Scalzi makes his choice to be the way he is in his blog. I don't read it, so I can't comment on whether I think he's being unprofessional.

But I do not buy books by authors who express themselves in ways I don't like. The author is not only 'fired' -- he/she is never hired in the first place. I'm a reader and I'm not alone.

aadams73
06-11-2011, 03:50 AM
There's a pretty wide gulf between being honest and opinionated like Scalzi and being a douche.

Don't be a douche.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 03:51 AM
There's a pretty wide gulf between being honest and opinionated like Scalzi and being a douche.

Don't be a douche.

Well said. :D

Amadan
06-11-2011, 04:06 AM
Well said. :D


Really? 'Cause you and Karen aren't saying "Don't be a douche," you're saying "Don't be opinionated."

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 04:08 AM
What happens when you're the kind of person who thinks a complete lack of opinion on anything worth opining on is kinda douchey?

Wayne K
06-11-2011, 04:11 AM
Then the whole world goes to Hell

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 04:18 AM
I'm not saying 'don't be opinionated'. I'm saying that there are consequences and you may want to think about that before you act publicly.

One of my favorite authors is very opinionated and political on his blog. But I agree with his positions on almost everything, so I still buy his books. I do not buy books by people with whom I don't agree. That is just my own preference.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 04:23 AM
I prefer to choose my reading material based on...well, the book, rather than who wrote it.

Amadan
06-11-2011, 04:23 AM
I'm not saying 'don't be opinionated'. I'm saying that there are consequences and you may want to think about that before you act publicly.

One of my favorite authors is very opinionated and political on his blog. But I agree with his positions on almost everything, so I still buy his books. I do not buy books by people with whom I don't agree. That is just my own preference.


So according to you, your favorite author is unprofessional and should keep his mouth shut, because surely there are people like you but with different opinions whom he has lost as readers.

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 04:26 AM
According to me, he can do what he pleases. He's posted often about his concious choice to be open about his opinions on his own blog and he is aware that it could be costing him fans and readers. I respect him for being himself. And yes, it's probably costing him something and we'll never know how much.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 04:28 AM
According to me, he can do what he pleases. He's posted often about his concious choice to be open about his opinions on his own blog and he is aware that it could be costing him fans and readers. I respect him for being himself. And yes, it's probably costing him something and we'll never know how much.Is that only because you agree with his opinions, or would you say the same for any writer?

If his opinions change, will you stop buying his books? Because that means your choice of reading material isn't based on the reading material.

Amadan
06-11-2011, 04:29 AM
According to me, he can do what he pleases. He's posted often about his concious choice to be open about his opinions on his own blog and he is aware that it could be costing him fans and readers. I respect him for being himself. And yes, it's probably costing him something and we'll never know how much.


So do you really think if someone is open about being, say, an atheist, or a feminist, or a Tea Partier, that they might be unaware that this will likely alienate some readers?

Think about what you say. Cool. Message received. But don't tell authors that they will damage their careers or they're being unprofessional if they decide speaking their mind is more important than being milquetoast and posting nothing but kittens and squee.

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 04:35 AM
Don't tell me what I can say and what I can't.

My opinions about what is professional are my own. I have every right to express them. Just as you do. But you do not have the right to tell me what I can and cannot say.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 04:37 AM
But you do not have the right to tell me what I can and cannot say.Applies across the board, I would've thought.

Amadan
06-11-2011, 04:39 AM
Don't tell me what I can say and what I can't.

My opinions about what is professional are my own. I have every right to express them. Just as you do. But you do not have the right to tell me what I can and cannot say.

Don't say "Amadan is right and I'm wrong." I forbid it.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 04:52 AM
No, I'm not saying you can't be opinionated. I'm saying you need to think before you post something, ask yourself whether it's relevant, reasonable, necessary, etc. If you do feel that you want to discuss an opinion or political issue or something inflammatory, that you should do it in a professional, respectful way rather than ranting, and that you need to be particularly cautious to the way that others will take your words.

I've said repeatedly that you should not lie, you don't have to hide yourself, and that you can speak your opinion. That doesn't mean I think you have to, either.

Just because you have an opinion doesn't require it to be shared. We need to consider our reasons for sharing and be professional. And as I said before, this goes beyond just opinions and what not. Oversharing happens all the time on the internet about a variety of things. It might be complaining about a friend when it's inappropriate, or work, or talking about some stupid thing you did (lying to your boss to get out of work, for instance). And there are some instances that are automatically going to be hot-button topics and those you need to think extra hard about and be very aware of what you're doing and why and how.

I've been in a position of having to professionally give my opinion in highly controversial situations before. I actually had to give a presentation in Japan to a group of Japanese teachers that was basically about how their method of teaching was not working and how they would have to change in order to meet upcoming requirements for the job. That was a tough, controversial topic, but I didn't mince words or hold back because of it.

I tried to be professional, respectful, and understanding, and as a result the survey results after my presentation were overwhelmingly positive. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about.

I'm saying this here because I've seen the comments people make and the posts and I've seen plenty of people who go too far with it.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 04:55 AM
Think about what you say. Cool. Message received. But don't tell authors that they will damage their careers or they're being unprofessional if they decide speaking their mind is more important than being milquetoast and posting nothing but kittens and squee.

I'm going to have to go searching for this, but I've seen agents before discuss the issue of people sharing too much or not keeping their mouths shut when they should, etc. What you say can make a difference. There are plenty of things I'm sure we could probably agree it's not a good idea to say online. For instance, someone gives you a bad review. It's probably a bad idea to go and write a blog post giving your opinion about how that reviewer doesn't get your book and is stupid or whatever, even if that's what you think.

Again, time and place. Some things are best said over the phone to a friend and not on a blog.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 04:55 AM
Nobody's disputing the need to think before you speak, but what needs to be established once and for all is 'opinionated' and 'professional' are not, no-how, never will be, necessarily mutually exclusive.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 05:06 AM
I didn't see anyone say they were.

Amadan
06-11-2011, 05:08 AM
No, I'm not saying you can't be opinionated. I'm saying you need to think before you post something, ask yourself whether it's relevant, reasonable, necessary, etc.


I think all of my opinions are reasonable. :D But very few of them are necessary, nor are all of them relevant to anyone but me.

I know of few authors with much of an online presence who follow your and Karen's advice, frankly. I know of a few -- they're mostly very smiley and inoffensive and they post about what flavor of tea they drank that morning and how bad things make them sad and how much they love the new book their BFF just got published. Very pleasant, very... professional, very fucking uninteresting. But I suppose they never lose any readers who are offended that bad things make them sad.

Lord of Chaos
06-11-2011, 05:12 AM
You should always think about what you're going to say or type before you do. Everyone is entitled to there opinion but sometimes descretion is the better part of valor. Smaller named people can get away with more outragious opinions because they're less likely to be heard about by a large number of people but people speaking their mind has killed their careers before. Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise both suffered greatly for their opinions of Jews and women with post pardum depression respectively. I guarantee you if James Patterson or Stephen King came out and made a huge rant about abortion, or Jews, or African Americans, or homosexuals, or any number of highly controversial topics their book sales would tank.

That doesn't change their right to have their opinion, but it doesn't matter how talented they are, the public would boycott their work in a heartbeat. Unless a person really has no problem with that, it would be best to act and speak professionally.

Karen Junker
06-11-2011, 05:14 AM
I think you are reading something into what I'm saying.

I'm saying you need to think about what effect your public presence may have. If you are willing to take the risk, go for it.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 05:21 AM
Again, I haven't said that you should never say anything controversial, either. Look, I come on here and argue with people all the time. I try to do it in a professional and respectful way, though, and I hope I succeed. I'm not saying you can't disagree or never say anything that might upset people.

I'm saying the how and why matter along with the what. I'm saying that sometimes there is a good reason to talk about politics or whatever, and sometimes there isn't. I'm also saying that coming across as negative, condescending, or crossing the line from pleasantly snarky to bitchy, or other forms of douchebaggery will influence the opinion people have of you. Some people like Tucker Max can make a fortune off being an asshole. Most people can't.

And before it's said, I'm not saying that talking about religion or politics or controversy means you're negative or condescending or egocentric or any of those things. What I'm saying is that there are certain topics, particularly those we feel very strongly and very negatively about, that can make it really easy to fall into that category. I have met very few people who can discuss politics without resorting to "Only an idiot would believe that" before the end of the conversation. The point I'm trying to make is that we should be really careful when we do say something and make sure we aren't falling into that category or aren't likely to devolve into it.

If you've got a good blog community with a good vibe and positive atmosphere, you can talk about a lot of different things and it will be interesting, fun, and safe. Nathan Bransford says things I disagree with sometimes, and I've even argued in the comments of his blog before, but one of the cool things about his place is that the atmosphere is so open and safe that you can have a discussion without it turning into something negative or rude. An awful lot of that (maybe all of it) has to do with his approach.

Amadan
06-11-2011, 05:22 AM
That doesn't change their right to have their opinion, but it doesn't matter how talented they are, the public would boycott their work in a heartbeat. Unless a person really has no problem with that, it would be best to act and speak professionally.

You mentioned Stephen King. He's not exactly a ranter, but he's quite open about being a Democrat. He's also written negative reviews of other authors' books. I think he actually took far more flak for saying Stephanie Meyer can't write than he ever did for admitting he's pro-choice.

The public will not boycott an author en masse no matter how much of an asshole he is. For all the people who swear they will never buy Orson Scott Card's books again, he's still a best-seller.

Is there any author to whom anyone can actually trace falling sales to a display of asshatery?

I think it's a fallacy that you should tone down your opinions to avoid hurting your career. I think you should try to avoid being an asshole on general principles, but that's a different thing.



I think you are reading something into what I'm saying.

I'm saying you need to think about what effect your public presence may have. If you are willing to take the risk, go for it.

You used the word unprofessional. That's the sticking point I have -- it has a very specific meaning, and one I strongly disagree with in this context. To say it's unprofessional to be opinionated is to say that by being opinionated, you are not meeting your professional obligations and are, in fact, a sub-standard member of your profession.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 05:22 AM
You should always think about what you're going to say or type before you do. Everyone is entitled to there opinion but sometimes descretion is the better part of valor. Smaller named people can get away with more outragious opinions because they're less likely to be heard about by a large number of people but people speaking their mind has killed their careers before. Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise both suffered greatly for their opinions of Jews and women with post pardum depression respectively. I guarantee you if James Patterson or Stephen King came out and made a huge rant about abortion, or Jews, or African Americans, or homosexuals, or any number of highly controversial topics their book sales would tank.

That doesn't change their right to have their opinion, but it doesn't matter how talented they are, the public would boycott their work in a heartbeat. Unless a person really has no problem with that, it would be best to act and speak professionally.

Or look at the writer who recently said that women weren't as good as men at writing. That kind of opinion would probably have been better left unsaid.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 05:24 AM
Bet it hasn't affected his book sales none.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 05:24 AM
You mentioned Stephen King. He's not exactly a ranter, but he's quite open about being a Democrat. He's also written negative reviews of other authors' books. I think he actually took far more flak for saying Stephanie Meyer can't write than he ever did for admitting he's pro-choice.

The public will not boycott an author en masse no matter how much of an asshole he is. For all the people who swear they will never buy Orson Scott Card's books again, he's still a best-seller.

Is there any author to whom anyone can actually trace falling sales to a display of asshatery?

I think it's a fallacy that you should tone down your opinions to avoid hurting your career. I think you should try to avoid being an asshole on general principles, but that's a different thing.




You used the word unprofessional. That's the sticking point I have -- it has a very specific meaning, and one I strongly disagree with in this context. To say it's unprofessional to be opinionated is to say that by being opinionated, you are not meeting your professional obligations and are, in fact, a sub-standard member of your profession.

I haven't seen her saying that being opinionated is unprofessional. I think that's where you're making a link that isn't there.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 05:26 AM
Bet it hasn't affected his book sales none.

I don't know yet. See, this is a tough one because I don't have sales numbers to know. I do know a lot of people who have said they won't read Anne Rice books anymore. I know people personally who won't read Stephen King anymore after some comments he made in an interview. Is it enough people to affect sales? I have no idea.

Amadan
06-11-2011, 05:29 AM
I haven't seen her saying that being opinionated is unprofessional. I think that's where you're making a link that isn't there.


I'd disagree. I think it's more professional to be as neutral as possible in order to remain conflict-free with one's audience.


I don't know yet. See, this is a tough one because I don't have sales numbers to know. I do know a lot of people who have said they won't read Anne Rice books anymore. I know people personally who won't read Stephen King anymore after some comments he made in an interview. Is it enough people to affect sales? I have no idea.

People are saying "I will never read so-and-so again" all the time. It happens far more often because of what so-and-so wrote in a book than because of what so-and-so said in an interview -- evidence to me that you should spend more time worrying about your writing than whether someone disagrees with your opinion.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 05:31 AM
Tell you what; for every person who gets pissy about anything I say, I'll buy one copy of Mein Kampf and another of A House for Mr Biswas.

folkchick
06-11-2011, 05:31 AM
I think your name becomes somewhat of a commodity when you are a published author, so choose your words wisely. If, say, you are rough and rowdy in your books, then heavens yes, be rough and rowdy in person. If you are reaching out to a wider audience and wish to keep all doors open, then it would be best to edit what you say. Sometimes we'd like to think it's expression, but when you have a product on the market, it becomes a business. I think the rule is, anything you say online should have the same acceptance level of standing in front of an agent at a conference face to face.

Personally I enjoy someone who can expresses themselves, cuss, push the lines of social normalcy. Makes me all tingly inside. But I do not like opinions that cause harm to others. Anyone who blasts away at the expense of someone else's feelings make me very angry.

But lastly, Veinglory said early on that if you are going to be opinionated, then do it well. Own it.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 05:38 AM
Am I remembering wrong that some publisher had a morality clause in their contract? Yeah, I think this (http://www.boingboing.net/2008/08/21/random-house-asks-yo.html)is what I was thinking of. Obviously that sort of thing wouldn't apply to everyone, but someone had to think it was important.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 05:40 AM
Not a contract I would ever sign, and a very good reason not to write YA.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 05:41 AM
Yeah, I remembered it for being controversial. I'm just thinking if there are publishers who are concerned about that sort of thing, I could see the concern existing before a contract is signed as well.

AlwaysJuly
06-11-2011, 07:14 AM
My thing with expressing political opinions, personally, is whether it's worth it to me or not to lose readers over something. Some things are. If someone is offended by just how passionate I get (read: occasionally angry) about animal rights, or if I feel the need to express myself about gay rights, I'm OK with losing, well, blog readers, I have no book sales yet to fret over. But hypothetically at least, I'm OK with that too. Those things are important enough they're worth talking about to me, whatever the potential fallout.

But if I were to flood my Twitter feed with statements that I think Republicans and Democrats have failed the country equally or put up a bullet list of my political opinions on my blog, well, I think I'd be potentially alienating people for no good reason.

Though probably if I did put something political up on my blog, it'd be more interesting than anything I've written lately...

Anyway, I tend to take the side that you can talk about anything you want, it's all in how you express yourself. There are writers who are very expressive about their politics, like Maureen Johnson, but she's always been very thoughtful and compassionate in the posts I've read and I think if someone holds her opinions against her, that's more on them. There's another author who I stopped following on Twitter because I didn't need to read her nasty insults towards the opposing political party every 5 minutes in my Twitter stream.

I like different opinions. I like controversy. I don't like jerks. It's really the "jerk" part that will keep me from reading an author if how they express themselves strays that way. While I realize some people read a different opinion than theirs and get "jerk" out of it, well... those are losses I think I'm willing to accept.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-11-2011, 10:07 AM
I couldn't give a flying fuck, because the only person I have to sleep with at night is myself.

The sadness in this statement is so profound I deeply sympathize with your James Purefoy obsession... ;)

AmsterdamAssassin
06-11-2011, 10:08 AM
All the anecdotes about working retail and working with teachers and bosses and so on are completely beside the point when we're talking about authors.

A retail worker who starts preaching religion to his customers or talking about how he's going to vote is being unprofessional. An author who talks on his blog about the same thing is not.

What about an author who still supplements his income as a retail worker/tutor/office worker?

AmsterdamAssassin
06-11-2011, 10:12 AM
Being outwardly professional online and in public doesn't make you a nice person. It just means you appear to be nice.

Inauthentic appearances eventually become transparent. And the people you're trying to work with are the very ones who will see through them first.

You can be authentic without resorting to asshattery.

If the only way you can express an opinion is by pissing off a lot of people, perhaps it's not the opinion, but the expression of the opinion that might need reflecting upon.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-11-2011, 10:19 AM
It is unprofessional in certain circumstances.

I work in retail. I get annoyed at the stupid things customers say and do and ask. But it's professional of me to answer their questions and give them the customer service our company requires of us. It is unprofessional of me to tell them they're dumb because they can't read a price tag that's hanging right in front of them (opinion), that they're pillow color choices are dreadful (opinion), or that they're acting like a child because I won't let them combine coupons (policy, but still my opinion that they're acting like a child).

So yes, there are instances when you can flatly say giving your opinion is unprofessional, and that you should just hold your tongue in public and then go vent in private.

As I've said before, in the realm of authors and the Internet, everyone's threshold for professionalism is going to be different. And everyone's comfort level for what they do and don't say in public will be different.

I work in security, where 90% of my communication with the public involves telling people NOT to do something. You wouldn't believe the amount of crap people expect me to swallow. You should see my list of sardonic remarks I've stored to use as replies to dumb questions.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 03:56 PM
You can be authentic without resorting to asshattery.I don't remember saying otherwise.

Wayne K
06-11-2011, 04:28 PM
Douchenozzlery is what gets me steamed

swvaughn
06-11-2011, 04:32 PM
Being outwardly professional online and in public doesn't make you a nice person. It just means you appear to be nice.


But... but what if you really are a *shudder* nice person?

So nice, in fact, that your level of niceness has nearly gotten you fired? (recently, true story, not gonna elaborate here on account of it's online and all... and so are people I work with)

I hate being nice sometimes. It's a label I've had all my life, and I seem to only be able to rebel against it in my writing.

My stories are most decidedly NOT nice.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 04:33 PM
Tru fax. I can confirm that Sonya is a sickeningly nice person. So nice, in fact, that receiving one of her emails sent me into a diabetic coma.

swvaughn
06-11-2011, 04:41 PM
Tru fax. I can confirm that Sonya is a sickeningly nice person. So nice, in fact, that receiving one of her emails sent me into a diabetic coma.

See? :cry:

(I think that's why I'm completely incapable of writing a "nice" story. I tried once ... I really did! But all this torture and dramaz and stuff crept in there, all by itself...)

At least I can say in publix that I admire Scarlet's forthrightness and honesty. I'm not afraid of my opinions. It's just that my opinions are... nice.

Blech.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 04:42 PM
I have moments of niceness myself.

Then I take a pill and have a lie-down. It soon passes.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-11-2011, 04:43 PM
I don't remember saying otherwise.

I'm not saying you didn't. However, one can voice an opinion without resorting to downright insulting someone. Or at least make that less obvious.

I was in a public spot, preventing people from entering a building site, and you just get tired telling people they're not allowed to pass through the building site, they have to take a longer route. Apart from people being irritated at not being able to follow their regular route, they would ask the most stupid questions, like:
"Why?" [It's a building site. Dangerous without hardhats and safety equipment]
"But I have to be just at the other side." [That doesn't render you impervious to falling hammers.]
"So I cannot pass through there?" [No, not even you.]
"Couldn't you have done this some other time?" [We tried to get your permission, but you didn't answer your phone]
"Why are there no signs?" [There are fifteen signs for you to turn back posted from the beginning of the street]
After a while, when the 287th person asks you if 'no entry' means no entry for them as well, it's difficult not to get sarcastic. I couldn't stop from replying with 'Is that a rhetorical question?', or 'We're doing this just to annoy you', or 'if you just take these tests and return with a hardhat and safety shoes, I'll lend you a yellow vest and...'.
There is the urge to shout at people, call them moron, or rub their noses against the signs plastered all over the street, but that wouldn't be professional.

I do use my creative juices to think up some polite replies to totally annoy people without them having a single reason to file a complaint.

As to criticizing someone's work, I don't think 'your book sucks' will aid the author or endear me to his/her readers. If I find some legitimate complaint [shifting POV, awkward sentences], I might voice that opinion, but only if someone besides myself benefits.

bearilou
06-11-2011, 04:46 PM
I stood up in one of my managers' face and told him 'That's the most idiotic thing I've heard in my life. You clearly have no idea what we do back here or that you are not talking to stupid people just because we are in what you consider blue-collar jobs.'

I am now going on three years being unemployed.

Did it need to be said? Yes. The manager's attitude and policies were not based in any sort of understanding of the job he was affecting. Would I say it again? Sadly, yes, even knowing it would put me on the chopping block to be fired.

But it comes down to that. We all have our lines of personal integrity. They are not all in the same place. Going on about how you'd do this or you'd do that and sort of implying that because someone else won't do it they're weak or spineless is judgmental and no one is really in a place to dictate where any of our lines are drawn anywhere.

Someone once told me "Never say anything that you don't want splattered across the headlines of the newspaper." I've taken that advice to heart. It's called my comfort level. It's my line, the one I will or won't cross. And yes, it is dictated by what others will think of me when I say something. Just because I choose to temper my words and try to take care in how I speak to others and of others does not make me spineless or weak. It simply shows the kind of person I am. Consequently, if someone chooses to be more blunt, that does not make them assholes or bitches. It's just who they are.

I've also gone on record before that if you put it out there on the internet, it's there pretty much for good. It's hard to expunge anything after that. And that regardless of what you say or how you say it or when/where/why you choose to express yourself in public, which is what the internet is, does affect how people think of you. The line there is whether you care what they think. Some care more than others.

I have a friend who has a facebook and it's in his real name. He's a gun collector and has pictures of himself posing with all his guns. There is one where he is pointing a handgun at a camera. It's actually a good picture of him and I like the perspective. He had that picture as his main pic for facebook.

Then lamented when he wasn't getting any callbacks for interviews. I and a few others advised him to choose another image. He did. A week later, he had an interview. Coincidence? Probably. Still sent a powerful message. Be careful of the image you project out there. That's all. If you're willing to deal with the fallout? More power to you.

scarletpeaches
06-11-2011, 04:49 PM
What some people think is rampant douchecockery, others admire me for, so given that whatever I do I'll offend someone, I choose to please myself.

bearilou
06-11-2011, 04:56 PM
What some people think is rampant douchecockery, others admire me for, so given that whatever I do I'll offend someone, I choose to please myself.

Exactly!

Brings to mind a quote from Hamlet my mother used to waggle at me.


"This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man."

AmsterdamAssassin
06-11-2011, 05:00 PM
I stood up in one of my managers' face and told him 'That's the most idiotic thing I've heard in my life. You clearly have no idea what we do back here or that you are not talking to stupid people just because we are in what you consider blue-collar jobs.'

I am now going on three years being unemployed.

Did it need to be said? Yes. The manager's attitude and policies were not based in any sort of understanding of the job he was affecting. Would I say it again? Sadly, yes, even knowing it would put me on the chopping block to be fired.

You voiced an opinion and were removed from the workplace, leaving your colleagues to deal with a manager who's clearly a waste of space.
While I applaud your 'integrity', I'd be more inclined to discredit the manager to the point where he'd be fired.
Perhaps that would demand a more circuitous route, but in the end the results would be more satisfactory.

bearilou
06-11-2011, 05:04 PM
You voiced an opinion and were removed from the workplace, leaving your colleagues to deal with a manager who's clearly a waste of space.
While I applaud your 'integrity', I'd be more inclined to discredit the manager to the point where he'd be fired.
Perhaps that would demand a more circuitous route, but in the end the results would be more satisfactory.

[laughs] Yeah. Too soon old, too late smart, I suppose. It had been an uphill battle to that point and really, my jumping in that guy's face was borne more out of frustration. I do take responsibility that I went about it in a non-optimum manner.

Gotta say, it still felt good to see that guy's face when I said it.

Mr Flibble
06-11-2011, 05:08 PM
This above all: to thine own self be true,

Absolutely. And remember that no one person is liked (or disliked) by everyone.


That doesn't stop me from wanting to ding Germaine Greer this morning after her comments on Question Time...However, having read many comments by Ms Greer (about her works as well as other things), at least I can be fairly sure her work isn't something I'd enjoy. So it's kinda like a review...

AmsterdamAssassin
06-11-2011, 05:14 PM
Gotta say, it still felt good to see that guy's face when I said it.

I've had managers who couldn't handle my stubborn attitude. Several of them looked for ways of ousting me from the company. One even tried to get me to punch him [until he found out that I was trained in martial arts and that my punch would likely land him in the hospital -- after that realization he didn't dare be in a room alone with me]. The less intelligent managers are all gone now, the intelligent ones have focused their attention on others.
Surviving in the corporate world can also be tremendously satisfying if you can see your enemies vanquished.

kaitie
06-11-2011, 07:39 PM
You can be authentic without resorting to asshattery.

If the only way you can express an opinion is by pissing off a lot of people, perhaps it's not the opinion, but the expression of the opinion that might need reflecting upon.

I just liked this statement.

shaldna
06-11-2011, 11:15 PM
I'll be honest, I'm pretty careful to keep my lives separate. I don't use my real name on the webz for general stuff, and when I DO use my real name, I never say anything that I would be ashamed of later.

In short, if I write something about someone, or soemthing, and if that something has my name attached to it, it's because I WANT people to read it.

Medievalist
06-11-2011, 11:20 PM
I have been on the Internet on pretty much a daily basis since 1989.

While I have had various IDs, all of them have been visibly tied to my legal name.

There is no real anonymity on the 'net unless you are exceedingly skilled and have a fair amount of time on your hands.

I try to be fair, and honest, and mostly, polite. But I have a low tolerance for asshattery.

cwfgal
06-12-2011, 09:56 AM
I think the issue is less about what you say than it is about how you say it. Sure there are some hot topics where a simple opinion will make some people write you off, but overall I think a reasoned, respectful discussion on any topic can be had most of the time without acting like an asshat, damaging one's reputation, or compromising one's values.

Seems to me that if you want to discuss a hot topic, or voice an opinion for others to consider or weigh, a respectful, polite, and calm presentation is the best way to do that. That keeps the focus on the issues. If you want the focus to be on what a badass you are instead, then behave as badly as you want, tell the world, "I don't care what anyone else thinks!" and cuss and rant to your heart's content.

I'm not afraid of hot topics and I've been known to argue a point to death, even taking a side I don't necessarily support just to explore the issues. But I always try to do it calmly, rationally, politely, and with respect for others. Not because I care about what others think of me, but because I care about the subject, the issues, and what's being communicated.

Beth

AmsterdamAssassin
06-12-2011, 11:07 AM
I'm a moderator on another forum, so I need to detach myself from 'hot' conversations and wade in to remove the offending posts. Because of my even-handed approach, I've been complimented on how I managed to defuse situations that were about to get out of hand.

Also, in real life, I give courses in conflict resolution and self-defense based on aikido principles.

shaldna
06-12-2011, 11:27 AM
I think there are instances where people just shouldn't post anything - like those writers who post a rant about their publisher / agent or those who have rejected them - Rejection Queen? I'm sure that didn't do her any favours.

Also, real life implications. For instance, if someone worked in government and started posting government secrets then it's a fair chance they would loose their job - and possibly find themselves in prison.

Now, while I do feel that people should be able to say and do what they want, you also have to consider, from a business point of view, how that si going to influence readers.

By this I mean, take those who write childrens books - those kids look up to them, and with that comes a certain responsibility. Can you imagine the reaction, particularly from parents, if (and this is a purely hypothetical example) JKR had been snapped sniffing coke at an S&M orgy?

I don't think people should be forced to behave a certain way, but I do feel that people need to consider their actions in the greater scheme of things. I can appreciate how hard it is for anyone in the public eye, you get caught on an off day and you say or do something that later comes back to bite you in the ass.

I'm all for being outspoken, and I love when people have strong opinions that they voice. But I can't stand rants and attention-seeking 'look at me' behaviour, or being a dick for the sake of it. You can be outspoken and opinionated and still be professional.

Eddyz Aquila
06-16-2011, 09:54 PM
I think there are instances where people just shouldn't post anything - like those writers who post a rant about their publisher / agent or those who have rejected them - Rejection Queen? I'm sure that didn't do her any favours.

That goes without saying, if you want to be respected, give respect first. :)


I'm all for being outspoken, and I love when people have strong opinions that they voice. But I can't stand rants and attention-seeking 'look at me' behaviour, or being a dick for the sake of it. You can be outspoken and opinionated and still be professional.

Excellent summary.