DISCLAIMER: This is simply my own opinion. I also stress throughout the post that no one has the right to be disrespectful. Writing is a business and publishing books is a career move. I always encourage you to use wisdom in all that you do. Even if you are speaking truth, don’t put people down. That’s not wise.
I think it boils down to why you write in the first place and what you hope to gain from it. It should be a personal choice, not a commandment.
I understand why people propose you don’t post about super controversial topics. The reasons are obvious and have been stated repeatedly already. I won’t bore you with a regurgitation of the facts (see disclaimer.) But at the same time, I don’t understand why some propose Indies stay clear of it altogether. Even if it can help others. I think about what it means to be a writer. For me, this is not a job. It’s much more.
I know most people don’t take blogs and bloggers seriously, but when it comes to writing, it’s not like the 9-5 you go to every day where there are rules, regulations, and guidelines you must live by. Let me put this in perspective.
I am a part-time teacher as well as an author. I know what it means to go into a place that already has a set standard and to clock in and out.
I blog and I write books but when I am not doing this, I am teaching.
To teach, you have to be certified, have the educational background and follow the governmental guidelines necessary to do so. There is already a schedule, a curriculum, etc. (It is why one day, I would like to open my own school. I try not to do anything without an ultimate end goal.)
When I think about being an author, on the other hand, I think of having a much greater freedom than working a 9-5. The freedom to own my own and to speak the truth. Now, there are some that say that because this is a business (writing is) you shouldn’t talk about things that are controversial because you’ll lose readers. Perhaps it is a matter of perspective because I do not think of it this way.
Losing readers for cursing people out is one thing. Losing readers because you are rude and arrogant and just don’t care is one thing. Professionalism is important. If you don’t know how to talk to people, perhaps you shouldn’t be in business.
On the other hand…
If I lose readers for being real. If I lose readers because they cannot stomach the truth I have to offer. If I lose readers because they do not agree with me, then they were not my readers, to begin with. If I lose these people because I decided to be real and they didn’t like it, then they were not part of my target audience in the first place. I know it sounds harsh, but I see a lot of Traditionally Published authors speaking their minds too and writing their truths. I see a lot of them using their platform to raise awareness of social injustice and other things. There’s a lot they say that can be considered controversial and it seems that for Independent Artists there should be more freedom. It is only when I get to Independent / Self-Publishing that I hear this talk about how we should, in short, censor ourselves and I understand the need for it but only to an extent.
Using wisdom is one thing, I understand that. In the words of my father-in-law, “Don’t be a fool your whole life.” However, using your art to expand conversations and to raise awareness cannot be done without some inkling of controversy. Someone somewhere is going to disagree with you. The whole point of writing, it seems to be, is to ultimately expand the conversation of the book. To not speak about your thoughts concerning the political, religious or social climate of today, to censor this in fear of losing readers, doesn’t make any sense to me. Why are you alive?
If I am going to write then I am going to write the truth and if people feel that it is a truth they cannot accept then they weren’t part of the chosen few I was meant to reach in the first place. I have long given up trying to save the world. I am not that naive anymore. I am only trying to reach those who are interested.
I am not saying to be disrespectful. Be choice with your words. That’s important and I’ve spoken about that a lot on this blog. I am only saying that if you are truly speaking the truth you are going to offend someone somewhere sometimes and that it’s not something you can control. If your job is not to offend anyone, where does that leave you? You may as well go work for someone else.
Listen, my intent is not to offend but it’s inevitable that when telling the truth you will annoy someone. To spend my life writing trying not to do so is to not do my job. In case you haven’t already noticed, I do not write to get rich. I don’t care about being famous, political correctness and offending people who can’t handle the truth and all that. It would be nice for my books to reach a large audience of course, but that is not why I write.
“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard