Saturday, August 13, 2016

Who You Should Vote For

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of 16 novels, including The Unfinished Gift, The Reunion and When Night Comes. He has won 3 Carol Awards and 3 Selah Awards. Three of his books were finalists for Inspirational Book of the Year (RT Book Reviews). Dan is a member of ACFW and Word Weavers. He lives with his wife, Cindi, in the Daytona Beach area where they love to take walks and spend time with their grandkids. Click here to connect with Dan or check out his books

*     *     *

Did my blog post headline catch your attention? That was its objective. Of course, I’m not actually going to tell you who to vote for. Not in a forum like this. That would be stupid. Right off the bat, I’d lose half of you. First, I’d lose the ones who plan to vote for the other person. Then I’d lose a bunch more who might even agree with the person I’m suggesting, but don’t think this is the place for someone to talk politics.

After all, this is a Writers Blog.

To be honest, I’m putting this blog post under the heading of “Marketing Tips” not politics. Let me explain what I mean. I’m 59 years old. Not quite a senior citizen, but almost. I’ve been paying attention to politics pretty closely since the Watergate scandal broke in the 70s (when Nixon was forced out of office). That’s a good long while.

I think I can say, I have never seen a presidential election quite like the one we’re facing right now, between Trump and Hillary. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the country as polarized as it is now. Or have seen political conservatives (of which I am one) get so upset and worked up about so many of the issues we’re facing now (and about the candidates they think are the best people to solve them).

Let’s just say, it’s been pretty interesting scrolling through my Facebook feed.

For the first time in a long time, I’ve had to click the “Un-Follow” button several times, to stop receiving an overdose of nasty, angry posts clogging up my feed. Some of these folks were people I had considered “writing friends.” It’s because of this, I thought I should speak up here with some friendly advice.

If you are an author writing books you hope will be bought by members of the public, you should be aware that if you make people feel angry or stupid by things you say on Facebook or Twitter, they probably won’t buy any more of your books.

I’m not saying you should shut up completely, or never say anything about a candidate or issue you support, or against one that you oppose. You have that right. It’s a free country. I believe in free speech. But I also believe it’s wise, if you do so, to always do so with respect for others. Even others whose positions or candidates you disagree with.

If you make them angry, or make them feel stupid…to me, that’s just plain stupid. How do I know this? There are several Hollywood movies that have come out in recent years, movies I probably would have wanted to see (and paid to see), but refused to support because the liberal stars of these movies had come out publicly saying horrible things about some of my conservative views. Had they kept their mouths shut, or even shared their concerns with respect, I would have happily paid the money and bought a ticket.

I suspect this very thing goes on all the time when people are buying books, especially in an election season like this. So my advice? If you must speak out on political matters, be very careful. Don’t knee-jerk react. And always be respectful, especially to those with whom you disagree.

Who knows, they might still buy your book if you treat them right. But they most certainly will not if you make them feel angry or stupid.


Southern-fried Fiction said...

I absolutely agree. I have stayed out of the political debate for the exact reasons you stated. And believe me, I have strong opinions. 😐

Andrea Rand said...

Thank you for your post. I will admit I have lost sleep on more than one occasion worrying about this election and where our country is headed. It's important to remember that every person is a child of God with unique life experiences that has shaped their opinions on things. When I remind myself of this it's much easier to feel compassion for those I disagree with and open to trying to find common ground. It's just sometimes easy to forget this when the other person is some avatar on a screen.

Kathy Rupff said...

Great post -- Thank you!!

Robin Mason said...

BRAVO, DAN!!!!! standing ovation!!! and thank you for addressing this!! we as a nation, as humans, are too divisive already, and we with the words do not need to add fuel to the fire. i don't engage in hot or trending topics on FB. i did address two issues on my blog, although not the issue itself but (some) Christians' hateful reaction and words to the issue.
thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing

Diane J. said...

Thank you! I will say that I am fairly tolerant of writers on social media with their political beliefs, I just skim by. I lose patience when it's a diatribe day in and day out. But I understand they're human and have opinions. I can stop following. I'm capable of separating someone's politics from their writing.

What really gets to me is when I buy a novel that the author decides is the perfect place to spout their political opinions. It never comes off as just a form of the character it always come off as the author stepping in and preaching their viewpoint.

In the past month I've put down two books that have done that. One literally called the opposing party "bad guys." The other made only the nice people come from one party and every single horrible character (of which there were many) were all the opposing party. Then flaunted it, outright. That's utterly rude and disrespectful. I don't mind that people have their own political opinions, but I do mind when you preach and rip my opinions apart, and I just paid money for that?

I want a refund for any book that should be just a novel and that doesn't say anywhere on the outside that it is going to slam or lean toward one party. If I want politics I'll buy political books. Don't put it in my fiction. I think that is disrespectful to your reader.

Sorry, long-winded, but the political stuff has been so exhausting. Oh, if you're an author and someone pays to attend a conference where you're giving a speech on writing, zip it with the political cracks. That's not what I paid for.

Okay, so obviously, this post hit a nerve. Sorry for my own diatribe. But I thank you for addressing the problem. I'll go chill out now.

Dan Walsh said...

Thanks folks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I think things are going to grow even more intense as the election grows near. I'm hoping I can remain sane and civilized until the big day.

chappydebbie said...

I know what you are talking about....Facebook is quite dramatic these past months. I fear it will only get worse. That's why I don't go on nearly as much as I used to.

Tami said...

I agree with your take on Hollywood being so radically vocal on their opinions, like the rest of us aren't allowed our thoughts, because we're mere mortals who don't know what to do or think if they don't share their superior wisdom. Like you, there are movies I would see and music I would buy if the "star" would just give me the dignity of allowing an opinion that differs from their own.

Marlene Banks said...

We all have political opinions and that's okay. Yet, I always felt it wise to keep mine out of my writing persona. My readers don't need to know who I'm voting for. When I was a kid (way back when) in school we learned about the government and voting and we were taught voting was a very private individual choice. So personal, in fact, you did not have to tell your spouse (or any family member) if you didn't want. Today, however, people seem to forget that. They blab their choices all over social media and even have the audacity to ask other people who they are voting for! The personal and private aspect of voting seems to be gone. I don't care who other people are voting for and it's none of their business who I'm voting for. You may choose to talk about it to family and friends but that should be YOUR choice not a mandate.
What is even more disturbing is how the Christian community is arguing about the candidates. I have grown to despise election season because people act just plain foolish and the so-called people of God are at the head of the line. I don't get it, if you know Who your real Leader and King is and you know what the Bible says, you shouldn't be all upset over this seriously flawed human government. God is still on the Ultimate Throne no matter who gets in the White House. The Bible teaches that the Lord puts the King on the throne, good or bad ones, for His purposes.
I block political posts when I catch them. I have seen some mean spirited to down right ugly and vicious posts come from even ministers of the Gospel. I was shocked and appalled at how people think that is okay. This speaks volumes about the kind of society we have created.