Wednesday, October 15, 2008

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Should romance authors speak their mind?

I read an interesting post on another blog today about how some romance authors don't feel comfortable expressing strong opinions for fear of driving readers away. I personally don't have a problem expressing my opinions, strong or otherwise, at least most of the time. But I can see how if a romance author were to say, have a very strong, and unpopular opinion and express it in such a way that most readers would find it offensive, that they could possibly lose readers. An example might be a romance author who believes that Roe vs Wade should be overturned, and believes that anyone who does not agree with him/her is an idiot and states that baldly on his/her blog. Yeah, that person is probably going to lose a few readers, but then again, I've also seen when this tactic is done correctly that it generates a lot of visits to the author's blog by the curious, as well as a lot of comments, even if they are angry ones.

The truth is I have a lot of opinions that many would consider unpopular. I'm Native American (Oglala Lakota) and my feelings about the importance of maintaining our languages and culture, as well as a separate cultural identity are strong. Much of these views and feelings play out in the stories I write, and I've been accused of being "opinionated" by others, including a reviewer of one of my books. I think that when it comes to strong views, opinions, and beliefs it's important to be able to speak intelligently, and respectfully. If as a romance writer you do that, accepting the fact that not everyone is going to agree with you, then you should never be afraid to express a strong, or even less than popular opinion. The problem comes in I think when not just romance authors, but anyone expresses their opinion on a subject and then cannot accept when others disagree. When a person becomes defensive, angry, uses abusive language etc. because others don't agree with their opinion then this is what can drive off readers.

Anyway, just an interesting footnote to being a romance writer that I thought I would share my thoughts on.

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