Political blogging for a fiction writer

Dear Miss Snark,

I just wanted to let you know that I am huge fan of your blog. I read it everyday with while drinking my morning green tea.

Awhile ago, you spoke of the importance of writers establishing a web presence. So I started a blog. However I find myself blogging about my second great love, politics, and commenting on other political blogs. I believe that I have always remained respectful of other peoples opinons. (And when I can't, I comment anonymously).

However, close non-publishing friends have suggested that this is not exactly the most professional thing to do as a writer (of fiction, mainly scifi, fantasy and romance), and that I will alienate potential readers of anything I eventually publish. Should I halt the political commentary on my blog? Should I do as some others suggest, and start a new, anonymous political blog which cannot be tracked to my writing blog? Or should I have a seperate political blog where those who want to know my politics can find out? Still, would that alienate readers?

Thank you again Miss Snark, for your wonderful blog, and for taking the time to read my email.

You can blog about damn near anything you want if you write about it well enough . Those imps over at Making Light have some pretty political statements. No one seems to be sending them off to Siberia. Not that Siberia doesn't sound fun right about August .... but that's another story.

Editors and publishers publish people all the time who have crazy political views. I mean c'mon...the Dalai Lama?? What kind of stuff is that Buddhism non violence? Clearly the man has NEVER ridden a New York subway or he'd have those saffron robes of his hiked up to shove his way on to the 1/9 train just like we all do.

Write well. Write with a fresh eye. You'll be fine.


Keziah Hill said...

I love fiction blogs that range over a whole lot of subjects. And if you share the same politics as me that's an added bonus.

Anonymous said...

It is no fun discussing politics with someone who shares the same politics as you. ;~)

December Quinn said...

It's not really fun discussing politics, period. I wouldn't stop buying an author because of their politics, and I wouldn't necessarily not buy one to start with, but I sure wouldn't keep reading their blog if it was all about politics.

Believe me...you say you're respectful, but it's impossible to say that for sure until you've been on the other side of the debate. What's respectful to you might be pretty insulting to someone else. That is a huge turn-off, whether I agree with the views expressed or not, because it akes me think the writer isn't smart enough to avoid alienating potential readers.

kitty said...

I agree with december quinn. I stay away from politics on the lit blogs.

Anonymous said...

My best bud--and one heck of a good print published writer--and I are poles apart politically. We remain friends because we talk writing and not politics. She writes about them on her blog, but I choose not to read those entries.

I choose not to read Making Light entries that are concerned with politics, whether I agree with them or not. I'm there (and here) to learn more about my craft, and don't give a rat's pattoot for anyone's politics.

Years back I ceased reading a favorite writer because he once spent 400 pages of his whodunnit mystery to rant that THIS political party is GOOD, and THAT party is E-VUL. Didn't matter whether I agreed or not, I was cheated out of what should have been a mystery story and 25 bucks because the dude had to vent. After that I decided to keep personal politics out of my own works.

Since many blogs are free I suggest the writer have one to promote books/career and a different one for political views.

My own blog is a politics-free zone and will remain that way.

A. C. Crispin said...

The science fiction and fantasy genre is chockablock FULL of writers with strong political opinions. (Which is putting it politely. Many of these folks are raving whackos, in my opinion. Some of the libertarians...well, 'nuff said.)

So I don't see having strong political opinions is a deterrent to being a successful s.f. writer. (BTW, you know not to call it scifi (skiffy) in your publishing correspondence, right?)

-Ann C. Crispin

Anonymous said...

Egad! Real-world politics in science fiction! It's a totally heard-of thing!

Check out the history of the first worldcon, or SFWA's response to the Vietnam War, or Dupers for Poland.

Ann Crispin had it right. If you can't stand political discussions, stay out of the SFWA suite.

A plain fact: you cannot separate a writer's politics from their worldbuilding or their sense of narrative causality. One person's literary convention can be another person's major continuity error, depending on their political views. To write fiction is to say "Here is how the world works." It's an inherently political act.

In my weblog, I write about what interests me. Readers stick around and read it insofar as it interests them. That's the whole of it.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden