’m a bit of a political/social hothead. I won’t promote any details here concerning my views any more than I have on the front page of the site. I just feel (like most people) that the world could be improved and that my way makes absolute, perfect sense (and that anyone counter to my opinions is a knucklehead).
And that’s fine.
Unless you are a writer.
Look, it’s okay to have political views (like assholes, everyone has them). But one thing we do need to remember is that we are not only representing ourselves on social media, we’re representing our product. As every issue existing has been split neatly between two halves of the population, this means that expressing (with passionate enthusiasm) an opinion is going to piss off roughly half of your potential readership. That’s right – 50% of the people who might have purchased your book won’t because of your staunch support of Tibetan Sherpas (and with this statement, I’ve just thrown away 1.35 billion Chinese purchases of Early ReTyrement).
Oh, established writers still get involved in politics. J.K. Rowling just gave a huge donation against Scottish Independence. And George McDonald Fraser, when told that his Flashman novel was on George W. Bush’s reading list, blustered, “Did he even read my book?” (it’s about the English disaster in Afghanistan). But they are established and their readers might look the other way while reading their next novel. We little fish, on the other hand, cannot afford to post our whims on social media.
And it’s not just readers – potential employers check out FaceBook to see what sort of person they are considering to hire. It stands that a literary agency might do likewise. So, do you want your flamewar concerning Tibetan Sherpas to land on the desk of an agent considering your work? Probably not. Books should stand on their own merits, and not the crackpot opinions of their authors.
Wait until you are famous before making your silly opinions public. That’s the time-honored method.