A question: Do my readers care what my politics are?
Here is why I ask:
Best-selling Kindle author John Locke came out with a new book, affectionately known as Howie, on how to build book sales in which he said that novelists should post meaningful articles on their blog, ones that would touch readers and reach across the blogosphere to draw people in. He said they should relate to the theme of one's writing.
Today someone took that advice to mean that he should post a highly political blog and did one that in effect attacks anyone and everyone not a member of the "Tea Party Movement". Now I need to go back and read Mr. Locks Howie book because I really don't think that was what the gentleman had in mind. I could be mistaken.
Although normally make it a rule not to post on politics on this blog, on Twitter my tweets make it pretty clear where I stand on a couple of political and social issues. I am a pretty fervent supporter of gay rights. Because of my strong connection to Scotland, I tweet links to Scottish nationalist articles which support Scottish independence. Both of these (depending on what country you're from) are fairly divisive.
Perhaps as an author, I shouldn't tweet on them. My belief has always been that my readers don't give a damn what my politics are as long as I tell a good story, but there is another movement of thought that readers are attracted to writers who the know something about. Well, you can't know about me without knowing I support those things. I tweet about them to make it clear who and what I am as well as to share information.
As I said, I could be wrong. That's going to take some thought.
Look at the subject of Scottish independence. One can enjoy a story about the heroism of Scottish heroes while believing that Scotland is better off as part of the United Kingdom. Sure, I'll point out other arguments if we discuss it, but it has nothing to do with enjoying my novels. I hope not anyway.
In only one of my novels are there openly gay people, but I think treating everyone with respect is such a part of my ethos that this comes across in my writing. Still those who oppose gay marriage, as an example, could enjoy my novels even the one with openly gay characters. Nor does it matter that some of the characters in other novels are gay but that the issue is simply never raised or they choose to hide it.
I suspect that many readers do avoid writers whose writing is driven by an agenda. I do. Heck, I avoid ones whose agenda I agree with.
No doubt, I was wrong to get a bit angry at the writer with a political agenda. He isn't the first. He won't be the last. Although I think it tends to get in the way of story telling, there are even exceptions to that. So he has a right to his agenda which he's admitting to up front.
My agenda as a writer is different. I look at myself as the minstrel in the market square spinning a tale for a few coins tossed in my hat.
My writing is not done--it is NEVER done--to convince anyone of my beliefs. I hope my reader enjoys my story. I hope it touches their emotions. I hope it increases their connection to humanity. It will not and is not intended to change their politics.
So let me tell you a story...