Let’s take this premise:
The apolitical author sells more books.
I see the point. Right now, expressing a view on any given subject may indeed alienate people who feel differently. I have myself avoided the products of some celebrities who are rabidly opposed to something I am just as rabidly for. I don’t make a habit of it, but I do it from time to time. Just as often–even more often–I have gone out of my way to support artists and businesses who embody values I support.
Writing stories with political overtones, no matter how subtle, does invite comment. Lately, some comments have taken on an ugly tone. If you don’t write about controversy, you do avoid that negativity. Who isn’t tired of name-calling and ugly innuendo—and this comes from every side of every issue.
So here’s what I think.
Having different opinions is perfectly acceptable. It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.
My opinions find their way into my books, my blog posts, and into my social media. Anyone who does not agree with me is welcome to debate me over a cup of tea or a glass of wine. They are also welcome to not read my books. No harm; No foul.
What I find disquieting is the suggestion that writers may and even should sacrifice candor, insight, and their unique perceptions for financial gain or to keep the peace.
Writing is a revolutionary act and has for centuries pushed boundaries and expanded perceptions.
This is no time to stop. How do you write from only part of your heart? How do you formulize and saccharinize every story so you don’t miss even one sale because you dared to speak your mind?
My heart tells me the best way to go is to tell your truth, even though that approach may not fit into a neat business model. I believe, to paraphrase the late Congressman John Lewis, in getting into good trouble, necessary trouble to further a cause or to expand discourse.
Tell me What you Think
Are politics appropriate to discuss in book-related social media posts and in books?
Should writers steer clear of certain issues for fear of alienating readers?
Where do you draw the line?
What issues are you willing to stand for, despite the blowback?