I was recently on a flight back from the East Coast to the West Coast and enjoying my seat in the Exit row, because it had a bit more space than other coach seats. With a moment to relax, I was thinking back to my writing assignment from the previous week’s English Composition class. For that assignment we had to pick a side and write an argument for that side.
This ‘short’ blog post won’t be as in-depth as that and I’m not sure if I’m picking a side exactly. . .but I’m musing on the following topic:
As an author we are often encouraged in our industry to create an author platform; to be known as a mystery writer, sci-fi writer, self-help writer, etc. As writers we are encouraged to be voracious readers and read different authors than we would normally expose ourselves to.
But here is the core question: Should we draw the line with some authors because of the platform they establish themselves in or what they represent through their personal life choices?
I’m not saying there is an easy answer here. But here is an example. . .
Michael Jackson as a music artist is well loved by many fans and his music is well loved by many. But, prior to his passing, his personal life choices and accusations of illegal activities involving children leave some serious ethical questions.
As a consumer, can I truly separate the fact that by purchasing Michael Jackson’s music that I’m indirectly supporting Michael Jackson’s lifestyle choices?
Image from: https://creationsciencestudy.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/michaeljacksonmugshot.png?w=474
Several years ago I remember many people were boycotting Carl’s Jr. because Carl’s Jr. chose (and still chooses) to make sex-filled TV ads. Many of those people decided to support the competition instead of support Carl’s Jr., as is their prerogative.
Trying to get back on track. . .
Thus we as authors will not appeal to everyone, especially as we conduct interviews and our personal life choices come out in the open or based on the writing platform we choose to build for ourselves. People may boycott us because of these reasons.
If we choose to boycott other authors for the same reasons, then if others don’t support us shouldn’t that be a fair price to pay for our personal and professional choices?
If memory serves, back in the day everyone wanted to be a published author. Getting published isn’t as difficult these days. Being a best selling author seems to be the new goal, the new challenge.
If this is true, then what has greater priority as a writer:
a) I want to write what I want to write regardless and/or make some lifestyle choices that may mean others boycott my writing.
b) I make different life choices, write for the market instead of for me and show that authors too can grow and change like our protagonists.
There are probably other options here. And maybe I’m over simplifying things on some levels. I know I’m still processing this whole thing.
In the meantime, keep on writing.