Politics and Authorship

When I read other authors talk about their marketing techniques, a lot of them say they never talk about politics online. They say it’s alienating to readers who don’t agree with them, and they don’t want to offend people. Obviously, it’s their choice to discuss or not discuss whatever they want.

For me though…
it feels like a cop-out to refrain from commenting on the news of the day. And by that, I mean actual news–not celebrity foolishness or some lady who got into a car accident when she was shaving her privates.

I was accused of “trying to be the internet police” this weekend when I called someone out for posting something hateful. I do that. If the poster or speaker is someone I have an actual friendship with (whether online or RL), I feel complicit if I see certain things without comment. These include hateful, racist, or sexist language, reinforcement of stereotypes, or things that are demonstrably and/or provably false. So if you’re laughing at disabled fat people, accusing 16-year-old girls of “slutting it up,” or suggesting compulsory drug testing for all pregnant women–you can expect to hear my reasoned dissent.

It would be easy to say “If you don’t like what I post, don’t read it,” or “Get the hell off my page if you can’t handle what I’m laying down.” But honestly, if someone actually disagrees with me to the point where it makes them dislike me as a person, or avoid my work like I’m some kind of Orson Scott Card–what I honestly hope for is that they approach me to talk about it. My point has never been to declare things and then close off all discussion.

Anything I post, I’m willing to defend. Any question someone has, I’ll do my best to answer it. People have asked me all manner of things from how much I weigh, to things about my sex life, to whether or not I’ve ever actually wanted to kill someone, or if I’ve have had sex for money. Granted, I may tell someone that their question is none of anybody’s goddamn business–but even after I do that, I still might answer.

Ultimately, I like discussing the big issues–particularly among those with whom I disagree. I’ve had great conversations with conservatives about fiscal conservatism, the purpose and realities of welfare, equality in the legal system, guns, drugs, and plenty of other divisive topics. Rational discussion is how we learn and progress as a people. What I won’t do is dignify asinine stances with rational debate. If you think black people commit more crimes than white people, or that gays are icky and what they do shouldn’t be marriage–my willingness to discuss that is limited.

This post was stemmed from another writer who asked me if I worry that “all this political talk” is costing me sales. I have to say, refraining from discussing things I find important is far too big a price to pay just to sell some books. I tend to blame my miniscule advertising budget anyway. Besides, if you read my books you’re gonna get a tiny dose of my politics anyway. The Finster Effect is pretty damn political, and S4S and KMLYLM both deal with social issues galore.

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