Indie Authors and Controversial Posts – Should You? Should You Not?

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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

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29 thoughts on “Indie Authors and Controversial Posts – Should You? Should You Not?

  1. Interesting…
    But the controversy, the one that indiscriminately brings the two sides of the coin, can be used to tear off the veils of the lies and falsehood deliberately kept hidden.
    I know, many can not like it, so what?
    If we talk about racial intolerance (it is controversy in certain social spheres or even in certain countries), but it is important to write and discuss it.
    If we talk about food manipulation, the Cartels will not appreciate it, so what?
    Consumers have the right to know it, it is a question of health and disease, life and death.
    Many writers, in their blogs, only talk about their books, reviews and interviews they receive or give. They republish posts by other writers, repeat interviews, and so on. Beautiful. Interesting and not really controversial.
    So, to make it short, I’m like you. I appreciate that you think beyond the paradigms and that if someone then does not like what you write, … who cares, so what? They may go to read the blogs of others!
    I wish you a happy 2018 full of personal satisfaction … and sure, professional!
    :-)claudine

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Controversy is unavoidable. Even an opinion on the best writing, editing, publishing methods is going to have somebody up in arms. “How dare she?” When we open our mouths (or pick up a pen, in the writer’s case), we should prepare for controversy.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree. We write what is important to us, and there is no important matter that isn’t controversial. But you know, I don’t think we often realise it. Because these are the important things for us, we just write about it and often we don’t realise (or we don’t care) whether they are truly controversial.

    Respect is key here. And universal. When we write what is important to us, we should remember that the same thing may not feel important to others. Then we should ‘make’ it important to our readers, to the point they should at least care what we are telling, if not share it.

    That’s the true power stories have always had. To turn things important to us which we had never even consider before.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Couldn’t agree more! I cringe… and smirk when I see posts cautioning writers/authors especially from being controversial on their blogs.- to protect their brands. If you’re simply “writing what sells” and looking for a publishing contract – live long and prosper. But the passion of a writer’s voice is not limited to books. It’s a part of who they are and encompasses issues that could be seen as a controversial. However, just as time and effort are put in to deliver a literary product of interest, the same can be done for posts of personal beliefs and stances. And let’s face it, controversy is different things to different people. A writer doesn’t have to intend for something to be controversial for it to be taken as such.

    People speaking up and risking their livelihoods is nothing new. It is a choice–just as not doing so is. Some people are not as open to sharing their views and prefer to keep them private. But if the sole reason for avoiding controversy is to sell a book/product or not lose a follower, that’s telling too. For me, it has the reverse effect and I tend to avoid those who continue to fiddle while Rome burns.

    Excellent post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you and well said. As I stated in another response comment, my entire livelihood is controversial lol. Everything I believe and everything I am is different than the norm. To not be controversial is to not be who I am.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree. I think the first sentence summed it up nicely. It depends on what and why you write in the first place. Plus, I thought the point of writing was expression, so I personally refused to be censored. Like you, I’m in education, and I feel as if I’m already censored enough; I’m not about to be quiet on a dang blog too lol

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Yes you can’t please all the people all the time, but sometimes writing down your truth in a non-confrontational way can cause all the different viewpoints to come together to make an interesting discussion. It’s all down to how you word it I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Came here via Nesie’s place – read it all before I realized it was you! I totally agree. The use of categories and tags help signpost readers to our more controversial posts. If people want to read about the writing/publishing process or something about Irish history they can ignore posts in the ‘politics’ category. (And if they are tired of reading about #brexit they can avoid posts with that tag!)
    I hope the presence of such subjects does not deter them from coming back for the things that interest them. My hope is twofold: firstly that those who are tired of politics will come here for the non-controversial stuff and maybe have their curiosity piqued sufficiently to take a look at the political stuff, and, vice versa, that those who come here for the political discourse (if any!) become curious about my longer works. Politics is as important to me as is football to many. It’s a fundamental part of who I am. First and foremost I hope people visit my blog to find out more about me. If I censor the politics I am presenting only a shadow of myself to the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I enjoyed your post. Thanks. This a difficult matter, for sure. To be quiet and not share the things on your heart is difficult as they can be like a fire burning in our hearts. Sometimes they must come out. We also face the problem, as you said, of not being real if we keep it all in.
    The challenge on the other side, however, when we speak to those controversial topics, is that we often find it hard to speak in love. The balance between the two is hard to find.
    Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for sharing. You hit on two key points that I love: Balance and love.

      I think sometimes our concept of love is always on the acceptance side when in truth love is more balanced. It is merciful and compassionate and gentle. But love is also disciplined and firm. I find often that when love shows up in the later forms, it tends to be rejected by us. And I believe we reject it because our concept of love itself is not very balanced.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a very interesting topic and one close to my heart. I have pretty passionate views on things. In the past when I was a lot younger, say 20 years younger, I would have jumped into any argument or controversial topic feet first not caring a jot if people had an issue with me. I fought the moral fight, bigots, homophobes, and xenophobes be damned, come get some. I still have the same feelings, but I’ve mellowed in my middle age. I no longer go in fists waving. If people read my writing (when it is finally published), my beliefs should be clear from some of my lesbian themed material to inclusive, diverse characters who most often find themselves in a minority struggling up hill. My writing speaks for me. That’s not to say I would never offer a public opinion on something. You are perfectly right, if a reader’s moral compass doesn’t align with yours and they attack you for it, then they are probably in the wrong place to begin with. I also agree that some indie authors go to great lengths not to have a public opinion on certain things, particularly when it comes to politics. However I think their choice to say nothing speaks volumes about what their opinion actually is. It is the old adage, if you can’t say something nice, didn’t say anything at all. I think it is also difficult from the point of view that the indie market is world wide and politics often is not. For instance, I live in the UK. I have my personal opinion regarding the political situation in the USA and topics like gun ownership, immigration etc, but I am not American, and aside from 3 months in 2001, I have never lived in America. That doesn’t stop me having an educated opinion, but it does make me think twice before confronting someone with a differing opinion to me publically who is American. I hope I would listen and discusses rather than argue. Chances are the person probably wouldn’t change my mind, certain things are just wrong, but I don’t walk in their shoes same as they don’t walk in mine. Some people may argue that what affects the USA affects the world so everyone has the right and obligation to speak up. That is true when it comes to foreign policy, trade, and even immigration, but internal politics are a different kettle of fish and I don’t blame some authors for being cautious. Having said that, I really don’t mind if people know I think Trump is narcissistic, panders to the masses while stroking his ego, and will ultimately be bad for the USA from a foreigner’s perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For some reason your comment went to my spam *rolls eyes* lol. Thank you for leaving such a detailed comment on the table. It is always wise to listen before speaking and I too can relate to being more laid back these days far as my response. I don’t argue with people anymore, I just present the facts as they are. Like that quote floating around says (not sure who coined it) but 2018 is not about arguing for me. I’m giving an “OK” and going about my business lol.

      Like

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