The Politics of Writing

Posted: November 9, 2009 in Uncategorized
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Opinions. We all have them, and generally don’t think twice about expressing them. Some of us are more opinionated than others, and have an easier time speaking our mind than others.

I’m one of those who opens my mouth at the drop of a hat. I guess I can blame my Mother for lack of a filter in the brain to mouth department. The question is, should I be doing that?

Should you be doing that?

Yes, I know it’s a free country, etc, but that’s not what I mean. Can you or I afford to express our opinions on forums and possibly risk alienating a potential customer? Is the need to point out how someone we disagree with wrong, so strong, we’ll let it effect our career? Prior to my first pro paying sale, I didn’t think twice about getting involved in the flame wars on various message boards. I had nothing to lose, and felt it my duty to point out people’s flaws in thinking. Now, however, I’m not so sure.

With a still struggling economy, the publishing industry floundering, is the risk of losing even one sale for the sake of ego gratification worth it? I’ve been thinking about this for some time now, and have decided that for me, it probably isn’t. Sure, sometimes I still stick my nose in the fray, as I did today, because, well, I’m not perfect, but I know I shouldn’t. First of all, I’m never going to change someone’s mind. I can utilize every piece of information available to establish my position, and it’ll still be like trying to teach a pig to sing. It wastes my time and annoys the pig. I know, if a writer or publisher gives an opinion I disagree with, I’m less likely to support them with my business, and I would assume others think the same way. As a writer and co-publisher, I can’t afford to be right, and run the risk of losing sales, simply because someone disagrees with me.

Were I making the money that Steve King makes, and also in a position to put my money where my mouth is, that would be one thing; but I’m not.

What about you? Do you care whether or not someone agrees with you even if means loss of income? Or am I totally off base?

  1. Louise says:

    I think you have some really good points here, Scott, and it’s definitely excellent food for thought, imho. I know once I took over the editor in chief position with Lachesis, I started to realize more and more how my words could influence people’s opinion of my work (and then the company). While I still think we’re all going to have our moments, and sometimes we feel so strongly the words are liable to slip out before we can bite our tongue, I have to agree with you on how perspective on the flame wars and such message board arguments changes a great deal.

  2. raingods says:

    It does take time to be able to bite our tongues, no question about that. The fact I wrote that in the midst of posting in a flame war tells me so!

    As a writer it can certainly affect my sales, but as a publisher now, it not only affects myself, but Rich as my business partner and every writer that we publish. It’s one thing to hurt sales for my own work, but quite another to do the same to other people’s sales. Bandersnatch and our writers shouldn’t suffer because of my loose lips. 😛