Welcome to our monthly Ask BHP series. Here’s a fun question: “As a marketing person, do you ever advise authors on what not to post from their author pages on Facebook, especially on controversial issues? I’d be interested to hear what you think is wise for authors to say online.”
I often see agents writing blog posts on this topic, since they’re very focused on the authors’ careers and the choices they make that can alienate readers, but that’s not really my role. Occasionally one of our authors will run something by me and say, “What do you think about this?” And at that point, I give my honest opinion. But otherwise, I don’t like to meddle in what our authors are doing, because it’s up to them to use their own best judgment.
That said, here’s a good principle for Christian authors when considering what to say on the Internet (or, hey, Christians in general).
It comes from a Bethany House potluck.
We recently had a chili cookoff, complete with miniature testing cups, fancy voting scorecards with different categories, and fabulous prizes. I’m not much of a chili person, so I decided not to enter and made bread instead. (Don’t overestimate me as a chef—bread is one of the few things I can consistently make well.)
As I sat there trying my fourth sample of chili, I had a revelation: there are two ways to win a chili cookoff.
The first is to be the best at making chili among several tough competitors.
The second is to be the only one who brought homemade yeast rolls.
If you aren’t seeing parallels between that and social media posts, here’s how it relates: there are two ways to win the Internet.
The first is to be the best at the contest everyone else is having—shouting the loudest, posting the most articles, responding to comments that disagree with you with the best arguments and shutting everyone else down.
The second is to be the only one entering a different contest. Continue reading