Opinions ~ Outside the Margins with John Goode

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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.

~John Goode



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.

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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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9 thoughts on “Opinions ~ Outside the Margins with John Goode

  1. I’m too young to remember (wow, I don’t get to say that very often!) Jane Fonda and the Vietnam War, but I can remember friends of my parents saying they’d never watch another movie of her’s because they didn’t agree with her political views. Didn’t think much about it then, but when I was older and others would refuse to see a movie or read a book that they probably would have enjoyed solely because they didn’t agree with the actor/author on an issue, it always saddened me. I’m all for following your principles, but I’ve been able to separate the “person” from the “author” almost all the time (I read a lot more than I watch movies). Maybe it’s because I don’t follow all the gossip and am not aware of the stuff that turns people off. I didn’t hear about the author you’re referring to until yesterday, and I went back to read the blog post that explained everything. This is one of my favorite authors of all time, and nothing changed when I read this. Absolutely nothing. I don’t care if they were written by a man, a woman, or a zebra. And now I want to go add all the authors supporting her to my TBR list:)

    • No one was upset because they had a masculine pen name and was not commenting on their gender. People were upset because she used her status as a gay male to criticize other female authors. And when people brought up that what she had done was wrong they were accused of hating her because she was a woman and then people boycotted the people who spoke out against what she had done.

      This was wrong, people have a right to talk and discuss about what she did and how it affected the genre. No one was upset because she was a woman, no one was upset that she hid her gender,what they were upset was making sweeping generalization about female m/m authors when in fact she was one of them. And the people who boycotted those who spoke out against what she did was wrong, dead wrong.

      Conversely no one should down rate her books because she is a woman or was hiding it. If you read her books and liked them they are still the same books and her actions shouldn’t change that in the least. She writes good books, no one denies that but her decision to comment on other female authors with statements like “Oddly enough I find the overuse of obscenity an almost infallible cue that the writer is female trying to appear male.” That is a direct quote from her. Also there is. “My impression of m/m lit is that it is written by women and written for women. I don’t mean this in any way to denigrate the quality of writing or the purpose behind it. Much of the m/m stuff written by women doesn’t quite ring true to me.”

      Is she talking about her own stuff or judging other’s books under the veil of being a gay man? These are the things that should have been discussed and instead people were threatened with boycotts for saying what she did was wrong.

      That is what I was talking about.

  2. John, this post is everything. Thank you so, so much. I’m not quite sure which incident you are talking about, because as I see it there were several, but as you said it’s not about this one thing. Like you, I was quite shaken, but unlike you I’m not an author and don’t stand as much in the public eye.
    I’m so sorry that this happened and that it made you feel so bad. *hugs*

  3. Brilliant John. I’m assuming you mean the JL incident?? I’m not that keen on her work anyway, but I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to mark down any review that I HAVE left, that’s just completely pathetic!! Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion BUT things are going too far nowadays and yes, you could say that she has brought all of this on herself and it’s now coming back to bite her on the bum…in spades!! But the disgusting vitriolic attacks are appalling, and need to stop…everyone’s had enough now, and I can only think that it’s a matter of time before someone else is targeted and the victim of the trolls. Just think what would have happened if she’d been honest from the start…absolutely nothing. She needs to post an apology (and I’m assuming she has), apologising profusely for what has gone on in the past and let that be the end of it….BUT there will always be those that won’t take that for an answer in view of the fact that she’s had several goes at women authors before.

    I truly am not bothered in the slightest whether a little pink pussycat or a little furry creature from Alpha Centauri writes my stories, I just care that they are the best the author can do. I DON’T CARE as long as the stories keep coming, you are the authors and I love what you write (as you know), and as long as that keeps happening, I’ll be a very happy bunny indeed. <3

    • I agree, I don’t care who rites the books I read. But when you judge other people’s work under the cover of being something you are not, it is wrong.

      For example if I said I was a black male and then judged people’s books who had people of color in them saying they didn’t seem genuine to me, is that right?

      No one cared what her gender was and if it was needed at the start it surely wasn’t needed in the past five years. Since my first book this industry has been dominated by incredibly talented female authors and her judging them as a fake gay male just didn’t sit well with me.

      But the people who tried to say this were threatened with boycotts and had their work down graded because of it. So you can life and judge other people and not take a hit but bring up that you didn’t like the fact someone lied and judged other people and your stuff gets trashed.

      Seems legit.

  4. I have to admit I’m a bit conflicted on this topic. On the one hand, I absolutely hear you, John: The way authors are scrutinized these days is scary as heck, and a huge number of so-called controversies tend to be blown out of all proportion and often get started over the most minute things (last year, I saw one start over something that had never even happened). As a result, you get an awful lot of authors who only post about kittens and rainbows in order not to annoy any readers. Indeed, a couple of months ago, there was an article in the RWR cautioning authors against commenting on any “controversial topics” (like, eh, racial inequality and marriage equality) online. (In turn the article, itself sparked quite a controversy – and rightly so!)

    On the other hand, I think that in extreme cases boycotts are justified, e.g., when an author makes a habit of harassing readers and reviewers online or when an author knowingly marries a pedophile, has no problem with his molesting small boys, and in turn maltreats and abuses her own children. In both cases, I’m not going to touch any of those authors’ books ever again.

    • There is nothing wrong with not wanting to buy a book from someone who has acted horribly to someone or shares a lifestyle you cannot abide by. This is not that. This is threatening someone’s work because they did not agree with something someone else did and mentioned it out loud.

      That’s not right.

  5. I truly love your books. They all touch my heart and soul and I eagerly await the next one. The fact that anyone can just discount an authors work because of an opinion or what name they use is ridiculous. The writing should always speak for itself.

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