Monday, January 23, 2017

Is Your Author Page the Place for Political Opinions?

My Facebook feed is full of political opinions and, of course, I have a few opinions of my own. In fact, there are some I feel strongly about, however when it comes to my author page, I never share political posts and rarely do so on my personal page. The reason? I don't want to alienate my audience.

Authors have a public presence. Those who read our books seek us out online and follow us on our social media channels. The last thing I want is to put someone off of reading my books because I came out strongly on one side of a debate. Whenever I consider blogging or posting about something political, I think long and hard about the repercussions. I think about my audience and how it might be construed. Not only could I potentially alienate readers, I could actually hurt them by devaluing something they feel passionate about. 
The opinions we share online are, like it or not, forever in the public eye. They are there for our readers to find and for potential publishers and employers to find. 

I'm not trying to make anyone paranoid. My hope is that you'll think it through thoroughly before you post something you may regret in the future. 

Ask yourself some key questions before you make that next political post on your author page:
  • Who could I be alienating by posting this? 
  • Could my post possibly hurt my audience? 
  • Would I be comfortable with my future readers, publisher, or employer reading this? 
  • Will this post build others up or tear them down? 

When in doubt, don't post it. Let it lie and see how you feel about it in a week or a month. It's better to err on the side of caution than to have regrets.

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Melinda Marshall Friesen writes speculative fiction for teen and adult audiences. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with her family.


4 comments:

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. I have not bought an author's book recently because of the tweets that came into my feed by that person. Even though we don't know each other, I felt disrespected by what I read. Great post today!
    -Leslie

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  2. Personally, I think it's up to the individual to decide for themselves. Yes, you run the risk of alienating people, but some people feel the need to express themselves politically. That said, I think it should be done respectfully and reasonably, without insult or name-calling, etc.

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  3. I should add this for clarity, as I think about this a little more. An author's web page is probably not the best place for politics, unless you're a political writer, i.e., you're writing about specific policies or if you're known as an activist author. James Carville, Karl Rove, people like that are probably helped by political opinion on their author page, where people like me, not so much.

    Social media is another matter, however. Blogs, tweets, Facebook--I think that's were it's better kept.

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  4. I agree with this. For my author social media presence, I follow dinner party rules--no politics or religion. I write contemporary romance. It's escapism from the real world and therefore I want to provide my readers a break from the real world insanity.

    I've recently unfollowed multiple authors who--while I happen to agree with their stances--are so argumentative and political that it's crossed into bullying. Not cool. Also, if I'm following an author's site for their writing advice, that's what I want to see, not their political rants.

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