WordServe Literary Agency, consisting of Greg Johnson and Rachelle Gardner. I'm not a huge fan of blogs of multiple writers, because I find myself muddying the writers together, unable to recall who wrote what book. But...I love the advice at the Water Cooler. In particular, I like a recent post by Mike Duran entitled "How Opinionated Should a Novelist Be?" A professed Christian, Mike is accustomed to taking a stance. As a matter of fact, his post at WordServe Water Cooler resulted in a need to write a subsequent post at his own blog - a post entitled "The Problem With Message-Drive Fiction."
Mike states that John Grisham once stated in an interview: "I’m a Christian, and those beliefs occasionally come out in the books. One thing you really have to watch as a writer is getting on a soapbox or pulpit about anything. You don’t want to alienate readers."
Writers develop platforms, but with those platforms come responsibility, and that's a point we don't see talked about.
It's great to have a readership. You have this audience interested in what you have to say. It's mighty tempting to deviate from talking about your stories, entertaining talent or expertise, and venture into your other interests and beliefs. Be very careful.
You can tout free-speech and all that, but stop and think before you do. While I would love to talk about Constitutional rights, I learned a long time ago that conversation about politics, religion, and hot-spot topics must somehow be tied to my mission or else ignored in the FundsforWriters or C. Hope Clark environment.
My goal is to disseminate information and attract readers interested in making a living at writing. My goal with my fiction is to find writers who appreciate my mystery-genre story. I take no hard political or religious stands in either. Some righteous souls might call me cowardly.
Anyone who knows me in person, knows that I can debate and joust with the best of them. I'm a recovering Type A personality who uses writing to invigorate yet soothe her life. I have my buttons that can spark a tongue lashing, like most everyone else. But the last thing I want to do is chase away people. My writing and my newsletters are the connection between me and people who want to write for a living, too.
We may not have the same take on Christianity, the Middle East wars, the President, the recession, abortion, states' rights, Republicans, Democrats, life after death, or even the death penalty. Oh my gosh, if I was narrow minded enough to only seek 100 percent like-minded souls to do business with, I'd be broke and lonely. I prefer to seek commonality, not differences.
When you use your platform to preach an unrelated stance, you take a huge risk. A monstrous risk. Look what happened to The Dixie Chicks when Natalie Maines expressed her feelings about then president George W. Bush. Whether you agreed with her or not, the result to the group was devastating, a PR nightmare. Suddenly, the country image of the group became sullied as they stepped into the limelight as political advocates instead of entertainers. They lost fans in flocks.Some people do not like Tom Cruise and John Travolta for their Scientology beliefs.
Some can overlook those who insert their beliefs in their platforms. Still, most assuredly, the artists lose a certain amount of support from some who can't get past the fact the artist inserted something non-related into a world where it doesn't necessarily agree with the fans. It's borderline abuse of your platform.
Readers don't come to you for religious indoctrination or political correction. They want a story. And you're safest keeping your platform built on that.