By Kyle Perkins.
As an author, even an indie author, you have a ton of influence in this world, whether you deserve it or not. Everyone deserves a shot at a decent life and to follow their dreams, but not if it imposes on specific groups of people and the lives they choose to lead. People listen to you, and you have a platform that gives you a little bit of power, however, never let it go to your head.
I came across a post today that made me cringe, and the author’s lack of remorse made it even worse. We all have opinions, and that’s fine. If that opinion sways other people into a backwards line of thinking, that is not okay.
The post in question. Attacking someone on the day of their death for their lifestyle choices. Class act. Why not for the thirty years before? Oh, that’s right. No getting a lot of attention in that.
As authors, we all have a responsibility to do our very best at making sure we are setting a good example. We need to make sure that our influence is never squandered spreading hate, and instead we should be educating and leading. This type of behavior doesn’t only affect this particular individual, but our community as a whole. I have talked until I am blue in the face on shady characters within our community that use this platform as a springboard into conning people, but that will happen with any business structure. There are always going to be people that take advantage. However, this is just as bad.
If morality isn’t enough to stop certain authors from spreading hate and using their platform to shine light on antiquated ideals, then maybe this will. IT WILL HURT YOUR BUSINESS. If you need to be a racist, homophobe, or whatever else that brings you joy, you have a right to do so, of course, but should you? There is never a reason to broadcast it to thousands of people across social media. Not all of us attend Klan rallies, and being an author, even an indie author is a global business. It’s not just the people in your small community paying attention, it’s people from different cultures around the world.
If you feel strongly about something, and want to be heard, there are a ton of outlets to do so. Why hurt your business? If logic doesn’t prevail here, and this doesn’t get through, maybe the selfish part of you will kick into overdrive and you will modify your behavior.
I went to this particular author’s page on Amazon and found that since her bigoted rant, she’s already started getting bad reviews that have nothing to do with her work, but more her character.
So, do yourself a favor, and do everyone around you the same favor. If you have a platform, be a leader. Do what you can to help the community, never hurt it. All of the tiny actions and decisions we make throughout the day will affect the people around us. The reason this community isn’t taken seriously by a lot of people is because of things like this that go unchecked. Right along with fake authors, people using images of other models and passing the photos off as themselves, sometimes even selling rights to images that aren’t theirs. Authors being shitty and unappreciative to fans. I could seriously go all day(one thing at a time, though).
As long as readers allow this, and authors continue to get away with this, there is no room for growth. Readers, even if someone is your friend and behaves this way, don’t apologize for them, instead, let them know that they are wrong. It may go a long way to hear it from someone that they respect. This is inexcusable.
While I do not believe in censorship, I do believe in not going out of your way to abuse that freedom to hurt other people. Westboro Baptist Church uses their freedom of speech all the time, and they have a right to, but do you want to be lumped in with a group like that? Hate mongering for the sake of a few minutes of attention? Get your shit together.