Hey guys, hope you all are doing well. I'm new here and would love to get some opinions from fiction authors who also blog. I'm just starting out in both worlds and am wondering how much you reveal regarding your personal life and views on controversial subjects.
I often get the urge to blog about subjects like religion and politics but I hesitate because it will probably cost me fans. I noticed a couple dropping off immediately after a recent post regarding Brightside's sexuality. Is it best to hope your messages come across through your books? If so, what kind of things do you write about?
I never talk about personal life or give opinions, especially not on social issues, on my blog. I do write stories that may be perceived as brutal or controversial but I'm always upfront with that.
Thanks for the feedback. Btw, your blog looks great.
I think each person needs to decide this for themselves.
On the one hand, your intent is to market yourself, but on the other, how much are you willing to compromise your voice in order to retain an audience? If people can't handle the "real" you, can they handle your books?
Personally, I can separate the art from the artist and judge each on their own merits, if someone is really extremely offensive to me as an individual I'm not likely to enjoy their work anyhow, or want to support it, but there are exceptions.
Mel Gibson is one: I will forever love the "Road Warrior" series of films, and a few of his other movies, but I've lost a lot of my respect for the actor himself. Some of his movies were crap, but that's got nothing to do with my opinion of the actor.
Richard Dawkins is a more literary example, I love most of his books but I think the man himself is an arrogant prick who hasn't given enough consideration to sociology and the role of religion in society, and so hasn't learned how to put his arguments to his opponents in a way they'll ever be able to take in. He should read "Difficult Conversations" and start from scratch.
There are lots of songs I love by musicians I'd like to bitch slap and gag when they're off-stage.
My point being that in my opinion you should just be yourself and let the chips fall where they may
If something gets a huge negative reaction you may want to re-think your views, but if you're going to talk about a subject, use your genuine voice.
This doesn't mean there aren't topics you should leave alone, but use your common sense. If you wouldn't discuss it in a public place then you probably shouldn't put it on your blog, or only put it somewhere that's separate from your public persona online, which is easy enough to do - just register a free email address for it and then use that email to create profiles and websites, etc.
I do this myself, actually, when discussing personal issues and trauma I've got a couple of alter-egos I use. Those personas are me without a censor.
I do tend to avoid discussing politics or religion but more because those topics are asshole magnets than anything else, and who has time for that? Same reason I don't start bar fights , it's just common sense.
If there's a cause I believe in though, I'll post as myself and stand up for it and damn the consequences. That's one of the benefits of living in a democracy I won't foreswear for the sake of a buck, not that I do so very often. Just this week I wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper damning my country's Prime Minister for selling us out to the Chinese and calling for people to sign an online petition against the treaty in question. I also tweeted and posted to most of my social media accounts about it, but something like that only comes up once in awhile.
Granted, I'm not selling books, and someone who decides not to work with me based on something like that probably isn't anyone I want to work with anyhow...
We're back to the first line.
Darryl, thanks so much for this. This is pretty close to what I've been telling myself, but your examples really helped. I actually have one of your responses to another discussion (free ways to promote) open in separate tab because I thought it was pretty brilliant and plan on implementing your suggestions. It's great to meet someone who's so helpful and insightful. I appreciate it.
It's great to be appreciated! :D
Great to meet you. Both of those were powerful stories. Thanks so much for sharing.
HI Mark. I stay away from personal and social issues. My blog is dedicated to the writing industry. If you do have something you think readers want to hear about then you can use a character to do this. I don't see anything wrong with that but I stay away from anything that could be construed as a touchy subject.
Thanks, Engelia. I enjoyed your Wallflower post and your blog looks great. Thanks for the advice.
Personally, I reveal some of my personal life. I let my "readers" know when I will be gone, why I'll be gone and all that. Things that are going on in my life that might be interfering with writing. Things like that. I don't ever discuss politics or religion, because quite simply, I was raised to never discuss such things in polite company. However, I do know several bloggers who do post about those things on a completely separate blog. If this blog you have is focusing on your writing and the journey you've taken towards publication, then leave it at that. Include some personal stuff so your eventual fans can get to know you a bit and be a part of your next book release. Save the other stuff for a different blog altogether or just don't rant.
Thanks, Mel. I think I've decided that I'll only bring up the touchy subjects when they apply to my writing.
You have to decide who you want your online persona to be. What kinds of things will be discuss, and in what spirit? How much of his personal life and opinions will he reveal? Essentially, the trick is to be a character whose comments are worth reading and who you are comfortable being. Ideally, you should enjoy being that person.
I'm making this process sound very phony, and that's not what I mean. Your online persona shouldn't be a version of you that's essentially fraudulent. But your blog posts, Tweets, etc. are like all the other pieces of writing you do for professional purposes. They're crafted. You design them to make a particular impression, and thus they're more calculated than the things you say when you're just hanging out with your friends.
The tricky part is that there's more than one strategy for creating an appealing online persona. If you embrace controversy, you may piss off people who disagree with you. If you eschew controversy, you may not attract readers who like that sort of thing. The same holds true for very personal posts. They may appeal to readers who want to feel that you're willing to let them into your life and have them truly get to know you. They can turn off readers who don't care for that.
But I still think you need to make a plan and run with it.
Hi Richard. Your comment about enjoying being that person makes complete sense to me. I think your advice is right on and it's a matter of me figuring out exactly how much of myself i want to put out there. Thanks for the help.