There is a particular book that I’ve wanted to read for a very, very long time. I have, however, refused to read it because the author of that book has beliefs that I find repugnant, and is outspoken about them. Since I became an author, I began to wonder if I was being an idiot for sticking to this decision. I mean, buying the book doesn’t mean I condone or agree with that author’s beliefs? Right?
I don’t know, and that’s where I’m having an issue. I’m not going to say who the author is or what the beliefs are…I don’t actually think that’s important (and I’d really kind of prefer if no one speculated on it either). I’m fairly sure that I have political/social/religious views that, if people knew about, would cause them to think differently about my work. But I suppose that’s why I do my best to keep those aspects of my life private.
Social networking and the internet have changed the author-reader relationship. It used to be that you could idolize your hero from afar. Now you can idolize him/her on Twitter, Facebook, their blog, and YouTube. You can chat directly with your favorite star. And I think that creates problems. Because what do you do when you find out that your hero is a lunatic? When you read a book, the author is a ghost in the pages. When they become real, solidify, they risk tainting their work with their personal beliefs.
Maybe I should be better at compartmentalizing my feelings about authors and my feelings about their work, but I’m only human. So I suppose this blog post is a kind of a plea to new authors or anyone who’s trying to break into writing. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have opinions or that you shouldn’t let your opinions be known. I’m just saying that you should be aware that your opinions could keep you from reaching readers, so maybe you should pick your battles wisely. That’s all.