Monday, May 4, 2015

Leave Politics, Agendas and Rants Out of Your Public Social Media: A Rant

All proceeds from sales of Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing go to libraries!

The newest publication I'm in, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing, inspired me to this rant.

Nowadays if you're an author selling titles you have to be on social media. But there are some guidelines if you want to have a good effect, i.e. have people buy your books, when you are using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.

A major one: be professional and share only content that would be interesting/funny/informative to your public audience. Or at least not annoying.

Or to put it another way: if you are using social media in an "I'm an author" public way then no proselytizing of any kind about politics, religion or any agenda. No rants, she says ranting.

There's one simple reason for this. It turns potential readers off.

How can you know what the impact of any post will be? It turns readers off quickly if they don't agree with whatever. You're assuming your audience agrees with you in all ways. Or that you can change their minds by floggings by social media--which almost never if ever happens.

The surprising thing is that it turns potential readers off even if they agree with whatever it is you're ranting about. This is because of several things. The first is that there's a certain air of smugness, an "everybody thinks/believes as I do because I'm right and I know it" about those sort of posts. There's also sometimes an implied mild threat of "you'd better hop on board with this or else..." Or else what? You won't let them read your work?

Most of all, writers with an agenda can push that agenda to all exclusion of everything else, including good writing. Readers know this. Sure it's possible to write a powerful, award winning agenda driven manuscript, but it's very difficult to do. Most are rants.

If you have Facebook or Pinterest or whatever just for family and friends then go ahead and post those rabid political cartoons, get into a comment fight with your granddaughter about some news item, or whatever. It's a personal page and therefore limited, not an author page with a public persona.

There's one sorta/kinda exception and that is if the issue is part and piecemeal of what you write. For example, if you have a character who struggles with a disability, than news items about something particular to that disability might be okay to post. Or personal stories around the issue. Same might be true around a subject in your nonfiction titles, new nutrition facts if you write cookbooks--if you keep it specific and/or personal. The line between okay and annoying is thin.

So, dear readers, do you agree? Disagree? Rant away in the comments!


Kathy McIntosh said...

Whereas, she ranted, I do agree with your opinion, my rant is about Facebook. I have found that my "private" page is the one most people know, and that my author page isn't seen as often. This of course could indicate a training need for me. :) Since my books have an environmentalist bent, I tend to post about those issues but avoid the political (except when I just can't help myself!). I definitely agree that biased posts and rants won't change anyone's point of view, just alert them to yours.
On the other hand, we're told to let readers know who we are. Sometimes that involves sharing our politics and opinions without an effort to convert.
Nope, I was never on debate team ... too wishy-washy!

Conda Douglas said...

Kathy, author pages are now pretty useless on FB because of how FB has changed--so most authors use their personal pages instead. I know some people who use other social media for their author self and keep FB private. That'll work too.

And I agree that letting readers know our opinions is part of letting them know who we are--however I still think it's difficult to opine without going too far.

J.Q. Rose said...

Love that line the line is thin between ok and annoying. I never mention politics. Just call me scaredy cat. Thanks for mentioning the writing tips book. Thanks for being a part of it!

Conda Douglas said...

Most welcome, JQ! And I've found that reading the tips book has led not only to inspiration, but some fresh knowledge too--I'm so glad to be a part of it, especially because proceeds go to libraries!