Join Prism Book Alliance® as John Goode goes Outside the Margins today.
I wanted to write about something this month but I couldn’t.
There were things I wanted to add to the general populace and throw my opinions in and see what we all thought at the end of the day but I couldn’t.
I wanted to open my mouth and just speak but I can’t.
And that is a problem.
So something happened in our genre recently, no I am not even going to mention it because that isn’t what this is about. I had something to say about it. I had an opinion and as a gay male who has published a few books I thought my opinion would, you know, matter. As I took time to compose my thoughts I saw a few others speak up and say a few words. Harmless words. Literally, just opinions.
And then all hell broke loose.
People swore, called others names, and then my favorite, said that they were never going to read a book by this person again. That was bad enough but then I saw people go into Goodreads and Leafmarks and mark down their previously glowing reviews and to one star “author is an asshole” posts.
And suddenly I froze.
See I don’t sell a lot of books and the precious few I do sell keep me barely above the poverty line. That isn’t a joke, look down at your ten fingers, add two, that’s my yearly income. Period. I don’t say this to gain sympathy or pity I tell you because the fear of these books suddenly going away would kill me.
So I shut up and watched.
And more things were said and more people were boycotted and more hate was spread simply because opinions were different. It was like looking at the last twenty years in politics on fast forward. I went from scared to angry to now, pissed.
So listen, here’s the deal.
You like my books? Cool. You read my books and liked them? Even cooler. If something I said in a public forum somehow went back and changed my books to being something else, then feel free to change your mind. BUT….if I state an opinion that you don’t agree with, then here is a suggestion.
Ignore my opinion.
That’s it, just ignore it. I mean I do it all the time. I see opinions thrown all over Facebook, in reviews, in my face, and I just shrug and ignore them because that is how they feel and how someone feels shouldn’t change someone else’s life. I mean if someone doesn’t think two guys should get married, cool. But that opinion doesn’t preclude you from stopping actual guys from getting married and everyone knows that.
So why threaten a boycott just because we don’t agree on something?
There are a ton of things that people like and celebrate I don’t like and since no one has asked my opinion on those specific topics I do what every normal person does. Shuts the fuck up and moves on. So why, as an author, am I going to be punished for expressing my views? You read the books, you liked the books, remember? We covered that up top. So then why do you need to like EVERYTHING about me?
I have a hero, a legend in my mind named John Byrne.
He has written some of the most incredible comic book stories in existence and his work is an auto buy for me every time. He has a message board where he talks about a lot of things and guess what?
I do not like a lot of the things he says.
Now did I rip up my comics? Did I declare never to buy his stuff again? No. I simply just went, well that’s his opinion and moved on. Now me not buying his stuff isn’t going to change his life one bit but people not buying my books will, in fact, ruin my life.
So then I am in a jam aren’t I?
If you threaten to boycott people’s works based on opinions I assure you, they will lie to you every single time. The same way you could hold a gun to someone’s head and tell them to confess to taking the Lindbergh baby, you’d solve that case in an hour if. Is that what you want?
Do you want creators muzzled and censored by fear because you cannot simply understand we have a difference of opinion? Is what I think about this subject so important to you that it can retroactively change the book you’ve already read?
There is the art and there is the artist and if you want to like both cool. But you have to actually want to like both and not just the things that you want to agree with. I am not going to lie, I was hurt by the actions by some of the people I thought were friends because it was so harsh and so over the top that I had to take a step back and wonder if I ever knew them at all.
The answer to that is no, of course I didn’t.
So in closing, please stop. Either understand I am a human being with my own opinions and those opinions are separate from my work or just don’t read my stuff to begin with. Because if you are incapable of having a rational discussion with me about something we disagree on then I don’t think we’re going to get along anyways.
If that costs me money so be it, but it is way better than having a gun pointed to my head and forced to agree with everything you say.
Special shout out to Brad Vance, who had the balls to say what he thought and didn’t care what the outcome was. We should all be so brave.
About John Goode
Hi. I’m John. Um…I like getting caught in the rain, I am not into health food and I have been on a plane. I write, but you know that or you wouldn’t be here (stupidstupidstupid, get it together John) Anyways, I have three cats, but not like a cat lady cause I am…um…a guy. I mean that, the cat lady part not the guy part. I mean I do mean the guy thing and can prove it…sigh. I like turtles.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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