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Fulk
02-06-2012, 08:40 AM
I tried looking around for a recent discussion of this question and didn't turn one up. I also thought this was more fitting for roundtable discussion than the Blogging/Social Networking forum, but mods are of course free to move or merge at their discretion.

I've been mulling the question of whether an author should confine their blogging to writing, cute cat videos, book promotion, contests, and other things directly relevant or entertaining to readers and fellow writers, or if they should feel free to blog politics, religion, current events, and other topics that may be contentious or potentially alienate part of their readership.

As someone who wants to take a crack at the blogging thing, to promote a more regular writing habit, this is a question I've really been wrestling with. I'm a fiction writer overall, so while there are themes that crop up in my stories that may relate to blog topics, it isn't quite the same as a nonfiction author who could extend their primary subject matter into the blogosphere.

Most author blogs that I've read don't broach subjects outside of writing and hobbies. And yet I find myself wanting to blog on not only writing, but social justice, current events, religion, etc. Things that will inevitably turn off and tune out would-be readers. Things that interest me. Things I can't easily divorce from myself.

There was a point when I thought it was best to just blog about writing, works in progress, etc. That would guarantee the largest audience, after all.

Now, I'm not so sure. I thought about it like this: there have been discussions on AW before about considering the audience of a novel (something like, for instance, the recent question: "is it okay to have a lesbian couple in a YA novel? Will people think it is inappropriate?"). The answer is almost always a resounding, "Don't worry about it, you can't please everyone. Write the novel you want to write."

If I write a novel that has, say, a gay atheist protagonist, someone inevitably will take offense because they won't like the positive portrayal of one or both of those qualities of the character. The positive portrayal of those things already says something about my worldview. Some will agree with it, some may disagree, but will read and enjoy despite the fact, and some will never read another word I write.

So, that being the case, shouldn't it logically extend to the blogging world? Is there something I'm missing?

Bestow your thoughts and wisdom upon me, AW. :D

Sirion
02-06-2012, 08:59 AM
My opinion is: absolutely not. Delving into politics and religion can be the kiss of death for an author.

The example you gay was a gay atheist protagonist, and you said (correctly) that you can't please everybody. But I think that particular subject goes farther than just having someone not like your work, it would often times make somebody despise your work. There have of course been novels that have made it work, but those are few and far between. Blogging about things that people find morally repugnant, even if you personally do not, can make even fans of your work not like you. Basically, what I mean is that it matters *which* current event issue you are discussing. Some issues people just say "hmm, so that's what he thinks about that" and others people will never read your work again. That's why I've always thought that keeping political views mostly private is the best way to not rattle the proverbial cage.

Like I said, my opinion. You're going to get many, many different answers on this topic.

I admit that I can't always keep my political views out of my blogging either. I'm only human. ^_^

MysteryRiter
02-06-2012, 09:03 AM
Yeah, I have to agree with TT. Even if your blog is interesting, I don't think sharing about political views all the time could possibly help an author if it's your author blog. If you're talking about creating a seperate blog that just happens to be by you, that's a different story. But for an author blog, I'd say no.

CrastersBabies
02-06-2012, 09:24 AM
I also vote no. I avoid politics, religion and the "hot button" issues at all cost. Even under online board identities because you never know what can be traced back to you.

I'm passionate about politics, but I'm not a mouthpiece for my political beliefs (if that makes sense).

I only talk about this stuff with a few trusted folks that I know won't utterly piss me off. I have a blog, but I have other things to discuss besides the volatile issues.

Besides, the last thing I want to read about on my favorite author's website is where they are politically, where they stand on religion. I don't care. I care that they write well. Too much political talk would utterly turn me off. I actually find that the less I know about some authors the better.

One new epic fantasy writer (that has blown the top off the best-seller list) had impressed me greatly with his writing, yet, in online interviews, he was so condescending and rude to his fans that I did not buy his second book. I was astounded by what a jerk he was. Chances are I'll "come around" again and get over it, but I really lost a lot of respect for the guy. I think the same would happen if an author went off the political/religious deep end.

Momento Mori
02-06-2012, 02:37 PM
Fulk:
Most author blogs that I've read don't broach subjects outside of writing and hobbies. And yet I find myself wanting to blog on not only writing, but social justice, current events, religion, etc. Things that will inevitably turn off and tune out would-be readers. Things that interest me. Things I can't easily divorce from myself.

This question came up during a couple of panels at the SCBWI Winter Conference a couple of weeks ago.

The response was that it really depends on who your blog is aimed at, what audience you're trying to reach and whether you're intending to use it as a platform for your published books (or to gain a following pre-publication) or whether you want it as a personal author blog for people to get to know who you are (with a separate blog/website/whatever existing to promote the books themselves).

There were a couple of people from the marketing departments of big 6 commercial publishers who said that they generally advise YA/children's authors to steer away from politics/contentious issues purely because the people most likely to read the blog (i.e. teachers, parents, librarians etc) want to read about the author without having agendas shoved at them.

But that said, they also admitted that there were YA/children's authors who saw their political and other views as a part of who they were and their authorial identity (e.g. if you write books about gay protagonists then the chances are that gay rights are going to be close to your heart), in which case it made sense to blog about it. The proviso is that you need to be aware that very strong opinions one way or another is always likely to turn some people off.

What seemed to be most important was that if you're going to blog, then you need to (a) blog fairly regularly and (b) blog about things you're comfortable about talking. If you're just phoning a blog in every week then readers will get bored with it and drop off. If you blog about something you feel passionate about, then readers will get passionate with you.


Fulk:
There was a point when I thought it was best to just blog about writing, works in progress, etc. That would guarantee the largest audience, after all.

The problem is that there are so many blogs out there that deal with writing, writing process etc that it can be difficult to differentiate yours from them. Again, one word that kept coming up during the SCBWI Winter Conference was "discoverability" - what can you do to stand out from the rest of the herd?


Fulk:
Bestow your thoughts and wisdom upon me, AW

As someone who runs a sometime blog, I'll give you my take on it, Grasshopper :).

My political, religious and other opinions are my own and they make up who I am. If there is a subject particularly close to my heart, then I am going to blog about it. I don't personally think that the issue is one of having or talking about issues so much as your ability to engage with people who have a different opinion. If you're phrasing something as a "here's my take on X, Y, Z but other people think differently and that's cool" then most reasonable people will go "I disagree with that but I do not think you're an asshole". The people who do vehmently disagree with that and think you're an asshole are the people who were never going to buy a book about a teenage gay atheist in the first place.

By contrast, if you phrase your opinions as fundamentalist fact and insult and belittle those who dare to think differently, you're going to find yourself getting a lot of wank thrown at you. This makes for an unhappy blogging experience and will see you get attention for all the wrong reasons.

I do worry that in the chase for publication, there's a lot of fear out there and that authors feel they can't be individuals with opinions about anything. Yes, you need to maintain a degree of professionalism, but there's a difference between professionalism and being an anodyne android.


CrastersBabies:
One new epic fantasy writer (that has blown the top off the best-seller list) had impressed me greatly with his writing, yet, in online interviews, he was so condescending and rude to his fans that I did not buy his second book.

While that goes to the author's professionalism, it's got nothing to do with his political/other opinions. If the guy's an asshat, then that's going to come through regardless.

I think that the general rule of thumb has to be "don't be a dick" (a rule that applies to pretty much every situation) but I would never suggest short-cutting who you are.

So in conclusion, to thine own self be true as someone much wiser than me once said.

MM

Terie
02-06-2012, 03:18 PM
Depends on the author. I can name two right off the top of my head without even thinking about it who broach social and political issues: Jay Lake (http://jaylake.livejournal.com/) and Jim C Hines (http://jimhines.livejournal.com/).

To be perfectly honest, I think it's borderline offensive for anyone, especially a writer, to suggest that other people not blog about whatever they damn well please. It goes to the heart of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The authors who take these kinds of stands are perfectly cognizant that they might alienate some readers, and they're willing to take that risk. Who is anyone else to tell them they shouldn't?

Becky Black
02-06-2012, 03:19 PM
I wouldn't do it myself, but I'd say do it, if you've fully considered and are prepared to take the consequences. Even if you don't enable feedback on your posts so don't have to deal with any flak directly, people will react elsewhere, on Twitter, Facebook and so on. The risk of course is that someone who might have read your books now refuses to because they don't like your views, and they'll tell their friends to do the same. They might respond by giving you 1 star negative reviews of your books on Amazon and Goodreads, even if they haven't read the books. That's totally unreasonable of course, but it happens all the time.

Do it if you've got a thick enough skin, or indeed like a good fight, and know it might lose you readers and you're prepared for that to happen - and so is your publisher.

crunchyblanket
02-06-2012, 04:23 PM
I don't know if I could trust myself not to say anything. I'm a massive gobshite. Politics gets me riled up.

Maybe, if I ever get famous, I should just blog politics under a well-chosen pseudonym. If I ever get famous ;)

EngineerTiger
02-06-2012, 06:30 PM
You know the old social caveat? Never discuss religion or politics?

If I go to a writer's blog, I expect to see discussions about writing, the writer's books, perhaps books the writer enjoys himself/herself. I really prefer that non-writing discussions appear elsewhere.

Perhaps you could set up two blogs that you link together. One strictly for your writing (that is your professional blog) and one for more esoteric, these are my thoughts items (personal blog). Cute kitten and dog pictures could also appear on this one.

scarletpeaches
02-06-2012, 06:33 PM
I don't know if I could trust myself not to say anything. I'm a massive gobshite. Politics gets me riled up.

Maybe, if I ever get famous, I should just blog politics under a well-chosen pseudonym. If I ever get famous ;)I like gobshites. :D

But seriously, as Phil Collins once said.

I have a lot more respect for people who have the courage of their convictions than I do for people who are all, "Oh no, I can't say that in case I upset someone."

Talk about politics and/or religion if you want. For every person you drive away, you'll attract another.

With my blog (which I'm incredibly lazy about, I know), my view is, "It's my blog. If you don't like it, sod off and read something else."

Of course, my interests are mostly books and photos of hot men, so what do I know?

crunchyblanket
02-06-2012, 06:43 PM
I have a lot more respect for people who have the courage of their convictions than I do for people who are all, "Oh no, I can't say that in case I upset someone."

Talk about politics and/or religion if you want. For every person you drive away, you'll attract another.



True that. It doesn't seem to have hurt Orson Scott Card's sales any.

Thing is, you're an author, sure, but you're also a human being with thoughts and opinions and if discussing those things is part of who you are, I see no compelling reason why you should hide it.

areteus
02-06-2012, 08:06 PM
Its a tricky one... I am of the camp which says do it but seperate it from your writing blog. I tend to keep most of my political stuff on my personal blog where only my friends can read it and feel perfectly justified in doing so because all my friends rightly deserve to have my bland and insipid opinions on politics inflicted upon them because they dare to do the same to me, the gits. I would not dream of sullying the minds of the innocent with my opinions of the local council's bin collection schedule (which is the last overtly political post I made...).

Jamesaritchie
02-06-2012, 08:43 PM
Of cours enot. Writers should always hide any political or religious beliefs, and never venture an opinion on anything, or they might offend a reader.

Jamesaritchie
02-06-2012, 08:45 PM
[QUOTE=TTCleveland;6983083]My opinion is: absolutely not. Delving into politics and religion can be the kiss of death for an author.

QUOTE]

Can you name a single author who has suffered the kiss of death for delving into politics or religion? All I can think of who do this just get more famous. They may alienate some readers, but they always gain others, and receive free publicity on a regular basis.

scarletpeaches
02-06-2012, 09:22 PM
What I find far more offensive than political or opinionated bloggers are those who jump on the latest politically-correct bandwagon and make the issues of the day all about them, because they're addicted to the oxygen of publicity.

So what that means is -- blog about whatever the hell you like, as long as you're sincere in what you say, and not just trying to curry favour from the current in-crowd.

Richard White
02-06-2012, 09:23 PM
Politics and religion will not appear on my blog(s).

Why?

Because, even though I may have passionate beliefs about certain topics, they are not topics I would discuss in the workplace nor in general public.

I consider my writing blog part of my writing workspace.

I have dropped author's blogs because I really don't give a crap about their political or religious beliefs (one side or the other, it doesn't matter).

I have dropped authors because they were complete arseholes at conventions or on-line. I feel no obligation to support them with my money nor my time.

I'm not adverse to a reasoned discussion of topics when there is a belief that both sides of the argument will be at least politely considered, even if the ultimate decision is that "O.K., I don't agree with you, but I respect your right to be wrong. *wink*" I also believe there are topics that should be discussed, but see, I said, discussed. Not, "If you don't believe like me you're a (fill in the insult of the day here)" - and that goes for people on both sides of the spectrum. Rudeness and intolerance is not confined to only one side of any issue.

However, I have yet to see a political or a religious topic that didn't degenerate rapidly. Therefore I will not engage in them in a business setting, nor will I allow my blog(s) to be used to "score points".

Maybe it's a generational thing. Maybe it's a where I was brought up thing.

Don't really care, it's who I am.

Phaeal
02-06-2012, 09:43 PM
A good writer will be telling me enough about herself through her fiction.

If I was writing a biography of a writer, his extraliterary views would be of interest to me. Otherwise, not so much. Virulently hateful views could put me off a writer, but I've found that writers I later learned to have such views had already put me off with their novels.

If you can be passionate without being an asshole, blog about what you like. I myself will blog as much as I want about the glory of Nyarlathotep -- Cthulhu supporters can just sink back to the bottom of the Pacific where they belong.

jimbro
02-06-2012, 09:44 PM
It all depends.

For example: if you are a writer of "Christian" fiction, you will be expected to blog on topics that other Christians would be interested in, and be expected to espouse opinions in line with those of your readership.

If your work targets Science Fiction Fans, you will be expected to blog (at least sometimes) about the importance of science in society.

Basically, you should always keep your audience in mind. You want to build a connection with them. You don't have to pander to all of their opinions and beliefs (even if that were possible), but you shouldn't strive to piss them off either.

Richard White
02-06-2012, 10:03 PM
I will note, my earlier post is my opinion that guides my blogging, etc.

Other people have to decide for themselves what they're comfortable with and live with the consequences no matter what they decide.

To quote those master philosophers, Rush. "If you chose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

robjvargas
02-06-2012, 10:05 PM
To be perfectly honest, I think it's borderline offensive for anyone, especially a writer, to suggest that other people not blog about whatever they damn well please. It goes to the heart of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The authors who take these kinds of stands are perfectly cognizant that they might alienate some readers, and they're willing to take that risk. Who is anyone else to tell them they shouldn't?

Wait. Freedom does not mean immunity from consequences. The people suggesting not to do this are speaking of whether the consequences make the action advisable. Not whether a writer has the right to do it.

Blogging on a hot-button issue (and politics general tends to be so, trust me on that) can suddenly make your blog about that, not about you and/or your writing. Believe me, I've been tossed out of forums for refusing to believe the prevailing wisdom of said forum.

CrastersBabies
02-06-2012, 10:20 PM
While that goes to the author's professionalism, it's got nothing to do with his political/other opinions. If the guy's an asshat, then that's going to come through regardless.

I think that the general rule of thumb has to be "don't be a dick" (a rule that applies to pretty much every situation) but I would never suggest short-cutting who you are.

So in conclusion, to thine own self be true as someone much wiser than me once said.

MM

I agree. He's an asshat, but it kind of went along with what I said about "not wanting to know everything" about my favorite authors. And, if they're lacking on professionalism, chances are, they're not going to be terribly tactful when it does come to politics and hot-button issues.

Mark W.
02-06-2012, 10:50 PM
I think an author should be able to blog on whatever they want. Said author should do so only with the realization that there are consequences to doing so.

I think it is in all how you do it. You can voice your opinions, but don't be an asswipe about them. I am a Conservative but one of my favorite authors, David B. Coe, is a Liberal as wide as the Mississippi River; yet, he is always considerate in his political postings therefore I have no problems with them.

So it is really in how you approach them and not in what you say.

Shadow_Ferret
02-06-2012, 11:02 PM
I go to an author's blog to find out about them. That means they post truthfully about what interests, or angers, them. If all they talk about is writing, or publishing, or topics only another writer will find interesting, I bail and never return.

My blogs, and all my social media, are a reflection of who I am, not some sterilized, generalized, inoffensive characature of a writer.

areteus
02-07-2012, 12:22 AM
It all depends.

For example: if you are a writer of "Christian" fiction, you will be expected to blog on topics that other Christians would be interested in, and be expected to espouse opinions in line with those of your readership.

If your work targets Science Fiction Fans, you will be expected to blog (at least sometimes) about the importance of science in society.

Basically, you should always keep your audience in mind. You want to build a connection with them. You don't have to pander to all of their opinions and beliefs (even if that were possible), but you shouldn't strive to piss them off either.

This is I think th ecrux of the matter...

You need to write things that the audience are interested in so they keep reading. Talking about geek topics is appropriate for a SFF writer in the same way as talking about politics or religion may be interesting to your readers if you write about politics or religion in your books.

Now, here is a question to add to this topic...

What about topics that directly impact on writers such as epiracy, ebooks, closure of libraries, etc?

robjvargas
02-07-2012, 12:26 AM
I go to an author's blog to find out about them. That means they post truthfully about what interests, or angers, them. If all they talk about is writing, or publishing, or topics only another writer will find interesting, I bail and never return.
See, that's the key, though. What is the author's intent in having the blog *as well as* your intent in reading it.

IF an author is wanting to communicate what you're wanting to read, great. Not all are, and not all readers want it, either. That doesn't make either one illegitimate. Just aimed in different directions.

KathleenD
02-07-2012, 12:44 AM
Sincerity, and intent.

I read plenty of author blogs where the writer in question is opinionated and passionate... and has figured out how to be that way without resorting to "and if you disagree you are a stupid poopoohead."

I read a very small number of blogs where the writer does say things that amount to "stupid poopoohead" but has such good advice/hilarious euphemisms for poopoohead that I'll cut him or her a little slack. But the writing has to be amazing.

That's right. Great writing DOES cover a multitude of sins. Who knew.

Blogs written by out and out bigots, I don't have time to read. Someone mentioned Orson, and someone else mentioned that you can usually tell a raging asshole from their fiction. OSC's books started going downhill long before it came out that he's a bigot, because he started using his fiction to clobber readers over the head with his special brand of crazy. (What's the term, "sold his birthright for a plot of message"?) His subsequent hanging out of ass was really just a confirmation of the problem, not the actual problem.

Honesty in writing attracts people. (ETA: I believe some of OSC's problem is that he isn't being honest, not at the gut level. The guy who wrote the definitive outsider novel knows better than what he's saying now.) Aren't we supposed to be strong and vivid and use our active voices?

Toothpaste
02-07-2012, 12:55 AM
I don't think it's insincere to avoid certain subjects for whatever reason an author chooses. One can still be honest, open and truthful and not discuss certain things.

I write for kids. I know kids will be googling me. Now it was certainly my choice to make my internet presence one that is PG, not everyone needs to do that, but I didn't feel a need to share certain parts of myself online in the first place, so I figured why post things that my own readers couldn't access? Sure I write my blogs for grownups, I'm not writing specifically for kids, but there are certain subjects I avoid because I don't feel a need to address them. I get passionate about writing and publishing, about equality, about certain hobbies I have, and of course my cat (oh noes! Not cats on the internet! That must mean you have no personality and shouldn't be taken seriously Toothpaste!). I don't need to put 100% of who I am online, every belief, every little detail of my day to day life. In my mind, the internet is a tool, it's not a contract I made with my existence that if I don't put absolutely every thought I ever have out there I am not being honest with myself. I doubt you'd find a single one of my friends who'd say, "You know, Toothpaste is cool, but I wish she'd just open up a bit more." In person, I say it like it is. But again, with my friends. I don't go into my temp jobs and let everyone know everything about me. Why? It's none of their business.

Anyway, my point is, you are free to write about what you want, and others are free to judge you or not (and you'll note you can be equally badly judged for NOT sharing everything online so there's no winning). I think the key is to decide who are you professionally. There are authors who keep things to themselves. There are also authors I have met who are wonderfully acerbic and brutally honest, I enjoy hanging out with them very much. What would you say at a cocktail party with other authors, editors, agents, reviewers etc? Then, translate that to the net. And you're golden :) .

Terie
02-07-2012, 01:12 AM
Wait. Freedom does not mean immunity from consequences.

And where did I say there is no immunity from consequences?


The authors who take these kinds of stands are perfectly cognizant that they might alienate some readers, and they're willing to take that risk. Who is anyone else to tell them they shouldn't?

Why, look. Right there in bold, I said that writers who take on these issues are willing to take the risk of alienating some readers.

The question that's the title of this post is, 'Should fiction authors blog politics/current events/contentious issues?' And I say, no one gets to tell anyone one else what they should or should not say. Quite a few folks here are saying, 'No, they shouldn't.' And sorry, but that's bollocks. We each get to choose what we say on our own blogs; we don't get to determine what others should and shouldn't say. If someone says, 'I choose not to,' that's totally cool. I happen to choose not to. But I'm certainly not going to go tell those who do that they shouldn't.

If someone has considered the possible and even likely consequences and then posts anyway, that's fine. I'm glad OSC has made his views known: saves me money on not buying any more of his books. He has a right to his opinion, I have a right not to buy books from people whose opinions are odious to me, and he made a considered choice in making his opinions known. I'm sure the backlash was no surprise to him; he's not an idiot.

My point is that, beyond not violating the law (commiting slander or libel, shouting 'fire' in a movie theatre, and so on), no one has any right to tell others what they should and shouldn't say in their own space. And several folks here have said, 'they [other writers] shouldn't'. That just gets up my nose.

robjvargas
02-07-2012, 01:34 AM
My point is that, beyond not violating the law (commiting slander or libel, shouting 'fire' in a movie theatre, and so on), no one has any right to tell others what they should and shouldn't say in their own space. And several folks here have said, 'they [other writers] shouldn't'. That just gets up my nose.

Then that goes back to the fact that we were asked. Should I impose my preferences upon you?

Nope.

But if you ask me, I'll tell you.

So I don't see any "borderline offensive" or "up my nose" to find here.

backslashbaby
02-07-2012, 02:08 AM
I can only speak for myself, and I don't want my personality at all tied to my work. It just seems completely irrelevant. My fiction comes from a very specific part of my brain, and I want the stories to stand on their own, completely away from all the random things about me that have nothing to do with the work.

I don't feel that way about other folks doing it, but I like keeping those things very separate, for me.

Stacia Kane
02-07-2012, 02:25 AM
To be perfectly honest, I think it's borderline offensive for anyone, especially a writer, to suggest that other people not blog about whatever they damn well please. It goes to the heart of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The authors who take these kinds of stands are perfectly cognizant that they might alienate some readers, and they're willing to take that risk. Who is anyone else to tell them they shouldn't?


But the thing is, not all of them ARE aware of that risk. With politics, sure, maybe they are. But with other things? They may not be.

IMO there's a big difference between telling someone NOT to do something and telling them they SHOULDN'T do something. No one should tell writers what they CAN write about, but I don't think it's all untoward for those with experience to tell beginning writers that they may want to avoid certain topics unless they enjoy being at the center of an internet shitstorm.

Would you not tell a writer they shouldn't respond to reviews, whether directly or on their own blog? Isn't that standard advice? You shouldn't do it. Don't do it. It only leads to trouble and being made to look like an ass.

Speaking as someone who's had blog posts wildly misrepresented all over the internet, I recommend people be very careful what they say. I tell writers that the internet could bite them on the ass and suddenly people who haven't even read my blog are claiming I said if you write a negative review you'll never get published. I warn readers of my light paranormals that my new series is much darker and that if they don't want to read something like that they may want to avoid the books and suddenly everyone is claiming I'm telling readers whether or not they're allowed to read my books and how to feel about them if they do. I ask a serious question about what constitutes "addiction" and if it's always harmful and suddenly, again, I see people claiming I've said antidepressants are worse than heroin.

By all means people should write what they feel comfortable writing on their blogs. But I can tell you from experience that being misrepresented, called names, made fun of, and talked shit about is not fun, and it is not conducive to happiness, and I recommend people not do it unless they enjoy that sort of thing--in a different discussion I mentioned people who want to be the Erich von Stroheim of genre fiction, and hey, if that's what people want to be, great, but some of us just want to have fun and connect with our readers and share our experiences, and having something you said with good intentions or curiosity or whatever turned around to smack you in the face is not fun. And unless you've been there (and I don't mean this directly at you, Terie, at all) I think it's something you maybe can't quite understand.

Did it affect my sales? I doubt it. Hell, I remember the writer--I won't mention her name but you probably know who I mean--who actually blogged about how she was going to use the name of someone who gave her a bad review for an HIV+ crack whore character in a future book, and it was a huge mess, but afaik she's still selling plenty of books. I don't really believe any of the internet messes hurt people's sales; I don't believe they really help them, either. But I do believe it's personally hurtful; I remember checking Twitter one night and literally crying over the cruel shit people were saying about me. It sucks. And if I can keep someone else from going through it I will.



Wait. Freedom does not mean immunity from consequences. The people suggesting not to do this are speaking of whether the consequences make the action advisable. Not whether a writer has the right to do it.

Blogging on a hot-button issue (and politics general tends to be so, trust me on that) can suddenly make your blog about that, not about you and/or your writing.


Bolding mine. That, so much. I blogged several years ago about why I don't blog about politics, and that was one of my main reasons. Not because I worry it would hurt sales; for every one I lost I'd probably gain one elsewhere. But I do not want the buying of my books to turn into a political act.

And frankly, reading the political opinions of others tends to bore me. When I go on a writer's blog and see it's all about politics I'm turned off, even if I agree (unless of course it's someone who writes non-fiction about politics). Because to be honest, I expect a writer to be a bit more imaginative in the subjects they cover and the things they say, rather than just falling back on politics.



Politics and religion will not appear on my blog(s).

Why?

Because, even though I may have passionate beliefs about certain topics, they are not topics I would discuss in the workplace nor in general public.

I consider my writing blog part of my writing workspace.

I have dropped author's blogs because I really don't give a crap about their political or religious beliefs (one side or the other, it doesn't matter).

I have dropped authors because they were complete arseholes at conventions or on-line. I feel no obligation to support them with my money nor my time.

I'm not adverse to a reasoned discussion of topics when there is a belief that both sides of the argument will be at least politely considered, even if the ultimate decision is that "O.K., I don't agree with you, but I respect your right to be wrong. *wink*" I also believe there are topics that should be discussed, but see, I said, discussed. Not, "If you don't believe like me you're a (fill in the insult of the day here)" - and that goes for people on both sides of the spectrum. Rudeness and intolerance is not confined to only one side of any issue.

However, I have yet to see a political or a religious topic that didn't degenerate rapidly. Therefore I will not engage in them in a business setting, nor will I allow my blog(s) to be used to "score points".

Maybe it's a generational thing. Maybe it's a where I was brought up thing.

Don't really care, it's who I am.


Also, this.

The main reason I don't blog about politics or religion is because I want everyone to be comfortable visiting my blog. I want everyone to feel accepted and welcome. Period. In my mind my blog is like a dinner party and I don't know who might show up, but as the hostess it's my job to make sure everyone feels like they belong there and has a good time, whether they love Al Franken or Rush Limbaugh, whether they're devout Christians or fervent atheists.

They're my readers. I don't care how they vote. I care that they enjoy themselves reading what I write, whether it's a novel or a blog post or a tweet.


Others are of course free to write whatever they like. But I know more than one author who's been blindsided like I was, and none of them enjoyed the experience, and I don't think it's wrong of me to share that experience and tell people to keep it in mind.