Profanity vs Principles?
One of my readers (if you read this post, please don’t take offense!) recently commented in her review that she felt my book Alex Hunt and the Chase for Rhapta was more suited to the YA market because of it not containing any swearing. Now I didn’t necessarily see that as a negative comment, on the contrary, I’d love to be so talented that I speak to several genres at once, but it got me thinking and subsequently led me to write this post in the hope that my readers will understand who I am.
Let me start by just saying, that my Alex Hunt books are not primarily aimed at the Young Adult book market but aimed at the Action & Adventure and Historical Fiction Adult book markets. With that said, however, I would be proud to have fifteen to twenty-five year olds also read my books.
I have been receiving a lot of mixed reviews on this book, some of which literally left me crying wanting to throw in the towel, but this one stole several hours of sleep and made me question something far more critical. My morals. Yes, yes, fellow authors. I hear you saying “see this is why you don’t read your reviews,” and I get it. Reviews have a way of cutting deep into the core which can, in turn, affect your writing and in some cases, your very being. I honestly don’t think this reviewer intended her feedback to sound harmful in any way, shape or form by the way. It was her personal preference. But to me it’s a case of profanity vs principles.
So let me explain why I lost sleep over this review compared to the suspicious one star one who has no friends or followers on Goodreads and reads a 600-page book practically every day.
You see, these words brought me to a face-off. Do I write what I know sells like hot cakes, or do I stay true to who I am?
Most of you will choose the latter, of course. It’s the right thing to do, but when you’re an Indie Author, like me, trying to break into an industry dominated by authors who challenge faith, human existence, and sexual morality, the answer isn’t that easy. There are millions of Bestselling books on Amazon that contain mounds of excessive profanity, blasphemy, eroticism, rape, incest, graphic crime and demonism and they all sell!! In the millions! Somehow these twisted dark underworld plots are what readers choose to escape an already saturated world encompassing all of the above with. And that’s fine by me! To each his own. Far be it for me to judge. I just choose not to add to this!
Besides the fact that I have children who emulate and look up to me, I have my values which I hold very dear. I have a stepdaughter on the brink of adulthood, two tween sons and a little one who copies everything his brothers do. Why on earth would I want any of my children, my mother or my mother’s best friend even, to read anything I am not proud to say across the dinner table from them? Am I perfect? Heck no! Do I strive to be? You bet! Do I fall short? OF COURSE! I’m no saint. And yes, there is very light swearing here and there in my books but it’s a long way off of a book I have to hide from my pastor. I have a choice. A choice to not write books with excessive vulgar swearing, blasphemy, explicit sex, etc. etc. etc. I want my kids to read my books and pass it onto their friends with confidence knowing that their mother is the same person in front of them than through her books.
When I first put pen to paper, I made a choice. A moral decision. My books should carry my readers away from the perils of this world, inspire them, educate them and, to the YA’s reading my books, set an example. I drew a line in the sand. If I don’t sell as many books and lose half the reader population, so be it. But I’d rather go down in The Good Book upstairs as an author who didn’t sacrifice her morals for the sake of the almighty dollar.
In closing, I have been at it for a mere seven months now. Self-published three books with a fourth one in the making. I am determined enough (ok stubborn!) to keep at it until I hit the nr 1 Bestseller spot on Amazon (or leave this earth). I shall not be shaken.
So, if you choose to read my books, THANK YOU! I vow to continually work hard at keeping you engaged and interested through all my books to come.
See you between my pages!