I was talking to a fellow author last night about whether either of us would go on a talk show to promote our books even if we didn’t agree, or like, the host of the show. It was an interesting discussion, and it really sparked some thoughts in my mind about what we as artists are willing to do to make our writing successful.
Several shows were mentioned, but the theme of the conversation remained the same.
This spurned me to think about writing and whether I view it as art or business. The funny thing is, I don’t know that I have a good answer.
I write for me, but on some level, I want to find success. I don’t think there’s a single author out there who writes just for themselves … at least not authors who are seeking publication. If they just write for themselves, they tend to not put it out there for others to read.
That leads back to the question of “What would I do to make it as an author?”
Personally, I don’t think being a guest on a talk show means you condone what has been said or the stances the host takes. In fact, I’ll wager that if we really wanted to, we could find something we disagree with in every person on this planet.
But, is going on that show considered selling out?
I presented that question to Twitter and received a variety of answers. Many of them leaned towards beliefs meaning more than money or exposure.
This left me scratching my head. If writing is at all viewed as a business, then there needs to be some balance in how a writer approaches publicity. If I didn’t want my writing to be promoted, why did I publish it in the first place?
Not that I am completely innocent, I walked away from a publishing contract over an editing change and publication timing.
All that said, I believe the dream is to make a living as an author. That might mean putting myself in uncomfortable positions to promote what I want to be my livelihood. I can’t do that by hiding from people I disagree with. In fact, I feel that being strong in my beliefs and having the ability to stand for that can go much farther to promote my product than shying away from it.
If an author is willing to pass up exposure to millions of potential readers, that’s just bad business.
Does that make me a sellout? I’m not sure. I haven’t hit that point. I’ll let you know if I ever get there.
In the meantime, keep on reading, keep on creating, and keep on flying the Black.