Looking at Facebook this morning, I see quite a few authors posting about the current state of affairs in politics. One called Democrats “Demtards”, one called Republicans “Rethuglicans”, and one even said if you didn’t agree with how she felt, you were free to drop her as a friend, thank you very much.
Congratulations, you’ve just accomplished the same thing as the CEO of Barilla. You’ve effectively insulted almost half of your readership. You can rest assured that they will remember you in a negative light.
A good friend of mine, Quincy Allen, used to post about political topics all of the time. I pointed out that he was also alienating some of his audience, and he thought about it for a long time. Now he does do an occasional post on politics, but it is analytical and well reasoned without being preachy or insulting.
“But wait!” I hear. “You’re censoring my voice!”
Nope, I’m not. You’re free to say and do as you like. I’m pointing out that you are making a bad business decision, and you can expect to get the same results as Barilla’s CEO.
You are an author. You’re a brand. No matter how you feel on any hot topic of the day, whatever side you take will make half of your audience love you and the other half despise you. It’s tough to make a living selling books when 50% of your readership won’t even “like” your Facebook page because you tend to insult those folks who disagree with your viewpoint.
I wrote an article for the Horror Writers Association about this topic. I recommended that authors make a separate page or Facebook account for their professional and private sides. Make sure the private side consists of only folks you actually know, especially if they know your political leanings. Keep the professional side neutral or, at the very least, open and inviting. Don’t blast people for having the “wrong” viewpoint. Thank them for their opinions.
Hey, it’s hard enough to make sales these days. Don’t hamstring your professional side, unless you are fine with the consequences.
Oddly enough, this post cost me a Facebook friend that I deeply admire. Which I believe proves my point — if you post something that can be taken as controversial, you have to be prepared for the results.
Remember, I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t post something controversial, just be aware of the potential consequences.