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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just browsing my Kindle page http://amzn.to/gv8HeP to see if I had any new reader reviews. Turns out, I did, for my novel The President's Henchman. A reader noted that I have "exceptional writing skills" and "definitely know(s) how to keep a reader engrossed." But then I had to go and spoil things with my "decidedly liberal slant." The reader will be unable to buy any of my other books because I am "obviously trying to push an agenda." Rating: two stars.

Everyone's entitled to an opinion. Here's mine: My agenda when I sit down at my keyboard is to write smart entertainment. I'm not trying to be proselytize; I just want to be observant, funny and, well, smart. That and provide a good value at $2.99 per ebook.

We all know this is a sharply divided country in terms of our politics, and when you write political fiction, as I do, you're bound to bump up against people on the other side of the aisle.

So, in order to spare readers who take a contrary view a spike in their blood pressure, here are my political views: Socially, I'm liberal. On alternate days, I call myself a progressive. I think too many Democrats are really Republicans. Fiscally, I'm conservative. I hate both the deficit and the debt. I think we start to eliminate the deficit by ending welfare for the wealthy: energy companies, corporate farmers and most of all we have to stop subsidizing the national defense of rich nations that are kicking our butt in international trade. We should also eliminate the tax cuts on the rich and levy a national sales tax on the toys of millionaires and billionaires. You know, things like yachts, Gulfstream jets and race horses. Basically, anything that costs more than the annual salary of the average American worker.

That's not the full extent of my political views, but it's certainly enough to spare those who hold contrary views the aggravation of reading something they won't like. I certainly wouldn't want anyone to slam down his or her Kindle in disgust.
 

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If you really want readers to see this, you might put it on your website.  I'm sure some readers do come through here, but the Writers' Cafe probably isn't the best forum to reach them.
 

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Joseph, let's flip the coin.  Most of my reviews have been five star, about a third four star, for a political thriller series.  However, I have one two star from a reader who, like your review, said the book was quite well written and had a great story, but that it was a Conservative Manifesto.

So, both sides of the political spectrum have dropped us in the soup based upon their opposite POV.  However, each was considerate enough to tell us we wrote well.  What more can we ask?

Gordon Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Gordon: Two sides of the same coin.

What puzzles me is that readers these days are offered substantial excerpts of just about every novel. It shouldn't take long to decide is a story just isn't for you. If so, let it go. Find something that's fun to read. It's not that hard.
 

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Folks,

a gentle reminder that political discussions are a no-no here on KindleBoards.  While Joseph's statement of his political stands is fine in the context of his original post, debate of those stands is not.  The issue is readers' take on novels with storylines and characters that have a political bent.

For me, I've read books where the storyline and characters were in the political arena that were fine and others that made me wonder if the author had an agenda.  But then I've read religious books like that, too.  ;)  Mostly, I don't care much, as long as the story is good.  

Betsy
 

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"What puzzles me is that readers these days are offered substantial excerpts of just about every novel. It shouldn't take long to decide is a story just isn't for you. If so, let it go. Find something that's fun to read. It's not that hard."

Lots of us don't bother to read excerpts or samples. I read only the blurb. Even if I have the book in my hand at a store I don't bother. Consumers have lots of behavior profiles.
 

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Terrence OBrien said:
"What puzzles me is that readers these days are offered substantial excerpts of just about every novel. It shouldn't take long to decide is a story just isn't for you. If so, let it go. Find something that's fun to read. It's not that hard."

Lots of us don't bother to read excerpts or samples. I read only the blurb. Even if I have the book in my hand at a store I don't bother. Consumers have lots of behavior profiles.
I don't sample either. It's the cover and the blurb.

Betsy
 

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This is one of the reasons I think we should stop worrying about offending people by just _having_ a political opinion.  Someone is going to be offended no matter what you do.  (Or they will be bored.)

Case in point: I write cozy mysteries.  My W.I.P. takes place in a small town, and the detective could be described as a small town spinster (though she's not old).  It's a "clean" series, down to avoidance of bad language.  And being a mystery, it's about justice and all that.  So I guess I can see that it would appeal to generally conservative readers.  HOWEVER....

The story begins with someone reading a thrown together dossier on the heroine, which has public record things like the fact that she's a registered Democrat who has never missed a vote in 22 years.

According to one alpha reader, that was too controversial for a cozy mystery.  She found it offensive.

Things have gone too far when we can't even acknowledge that a character might have political opinions, and if they disagree with our own, we can't abide the book.

The book is certainly not political in any way.  But the heroine is the child of old hippies, and though she does not use the f-word herself (and instead actually says "f-word" as a substitute) she is a movie buff who worships Quentin Tarantino.  She's also the niece of the county sheriff. That's what people are really like -- they're mixed.

The only way to heal this bizarre rift is to be unashamed of it.  So you write what you write.  And your reviewer can post what he posts.  Leave both be.  We are never going to get along if we hide who we are. And books are surely not going to be interesting if we excise any individuality or meaning from them in the name of getting along.

Camille
 

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Joseph Flynn said:
...But then I had to go and spoil things with my "decidedly liberal slant." The reader will be unable to buy any of my other books because I am "obviously trying to push an agenda." Rating: two stars.
I'm almost compelled to go and buy your novel (which is certainly not one of my favoured genres) because of the petty nature of this review. :p
 

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Betsy the Quilter said:
I don't sample either. It's the cover and the blurb.

Betsy
I always sample, but it's very rarely because of the content.

I do it so I can add it to my "To Buy" collection. It's a fairly extensive list.

The other major reason is because I want to see the formatting of the book. For the longest time, I refused to read any book that wasn't properly formatted, despite the quality.

That's why I have yet to read Switched.

And I'll stop there since I'm getting off the subject.
 

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Ryne Billings said:
I always sample, but it's very rarely because of the content.

I do it so I can add it to my "To Buy" collection. It's a fairly extensive list.
For me sampling is a way of "bookmarking" things I might be interested in for later. I seldom search for books, so I tend to find them when I'm not looking, and I don't want to take the time to evaluate whether I'm interested. So if a blog or news story mentions a book that I might like, I quick send a sample for later evaluation, and get on with what I'm doing.

Camille
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I read blurbs and I read first pages — if I'm borrowing a book from the library. If I'm going to put down some money, I'll read enough to get a feeling if it will be money well spent.

I hope to write eight book in the Jim McGill series and I'll follow my muse the way I always do.

But I really would like to save people the aggravation of buying a book that puts their noses out of joint. Maybe we can come up with a ratings system, e.g. NSFATTROC. Not Suitable for Anyone to the Right of Center. Substitute an L for the R and you could take care of the people to the left of center.
 

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Joseph Flynn said:
I read blurbs and I read first pages - if I'm borrowing a book from the library. If I'm going to put down some money, I'll read enough to get a feeling if it will be money well spent.

I hope to write eight book in the Jim McGill series and I'll follow my muse the way I always do.

But I really would like to save people the aggravation of buying a book that puts their noses out of joint. Maybe we can come up with a ratings system, e.g. NSFATTROC. Not Suitable for Anyone to the Right of Center. Substitute an L for the R and you could take care of the people to the left of center.
I figure it's like sex, or violence, or the tendency to not have a happy ending -- you have to telegraph the style of the world in the first chapter. People are less likely to be upset with you if they don't get so invested in what they think it's going to be like. (It's not the money they're upset about -- it's their time and heart.)

Camille
 
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