Monday, March 12, 2012

Controversy Sells!

Controversy sells! At least that’s how it seems to me. You know, I look at other authors on facebook/twitter/blogs and I see them go off about the publishing industry, or I see them up in arms over some political thing, or I see them making fun of this religious group or that group without religion, or ranting about any number of hot button topics like gay marriage, abortion, or Republicans. It’s no secret that the Internet is an engine and hate is its fuel. Discontent keeps the engines turning. Controversy sells.

It strikes me that perhaps I’m not controversial enough. I have opinions, sure. Strong ones, even. But I usually keep them to myself or only express them when asked in a setting where we can have polite discourse (a rare creature in the world wide web). I don’t really feel the need to bring out a particular soapbox and shout to my “followers” on a regular basis. Maybe that’s why I don’t have more followers...Hm. It seems people want to follow others who are controversial. Who get out there and stir up the waters and “tell it like it is”--or, at least, “like it is” according to their point of view.

Now that’s not to say I’m wishy-washy. I talk about my Christian faith and I don’t know if you can get much more controversial than walking around saying you’re one of those quacks that really believe the Bible is true and that Jesus is the only--yes, the only--way to get to Heaven. That’s pretty controversial, but not in a good way, I suppose. At least, not as far as sales are concerned.

Perhaps in a rant-filled world where, thanks to the Internet, every Tom, Dick, and Harry has a bullhorn to shout out their opinions that we need controversy to stand apart? Is that true? I certainly hope not, or I'm seriously outgunned.

In an effort to keep up with the masses, however, I shall lay out a helping of my own controversial opinions. I am ready now, followers. Flock to me, all ye who are discontent, and rally under my loud voice. Buy my books!

Here we go!

1. I hate cheese. Seriously. I like it on pizza, but not on my sandwich. Every restaurant I go, I order plain hamburgers. No cheese, no ketchup, no mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. Plain.

2. I find the color orange to be physically repulsive. I mean, I don’t go fleeing in terror at the sight of it or start smashing things whenever someone brings it up, I just don’t like orange. Not really much for yellow, either come to think of it. Yellow is the ugly cousin of orange, and that’s saying something.

3. I prefer dark chocolate. I used to be all about the milk chocolate, but as I get older, I’ve grown quite fond of dark chocolate. My wife thinks I’m developing a more mature palette. White chocolate is not that great, but it’ll do in a pinch.

4. I bite my nails and I don’t see a thing in the world wrong with it. You’ll never convince me otherwise.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I feel liberated. Exposed, in fact. I should really do this more often. I hope I didn’t offend anyone by declaring my hatred of cheese... No, wait, I hope you are offended! Yes, I’ve come--not to play nice--but to rock this boat of a cheese-loving world. I’m here to start a revolution. I hate cheese and I’m proud! Who’s with me!!


Ah, well, it was worth a shot. Buy my books, anyway, will ya? That dark chocolate doesn’t pay for itself :p

Is controversy necessary to stand apart? Is it a necessary “weapon” in the arsenal of a young writer looking to make a name for himself?


Bruce Hennigan said...

I HATE liver! In fact, I HATE liver so much, I even hate anyone who eats liver!
Well, that last part was pretty harsh. I guess I can be tolerant of anyone who eats liver.
When I was 15 my brother and I raised fancy guppies and he wanted to make our own fish food. We had over 36 aquariums of fish. So, he went out and bought a 25 pound cow's liver and we pureed it in my mother's blender. Well, we tried. The ceiling in the kitchen was a nice maroonish red afterwards and to this day the smell of raw liver makes me gag.
Down with Liver!!!!!
My next book will feature a demon possessed liver, so beware if this offends you!

Jillian Kent said...

I love cheese, the color orange is my favorite, and milk chocolate is the best, not dark, even though it's better for you. Now buy my books for the women in your lives. :) How's that for a come back? Pretty good I thought. I do bite my nails even though I think it may be a form of self-injury. And as Bruce mentioned I hate liver too. Yuk! I think I'd make a great vegetarian if someone would only cook for me.

Now Greg, if you want real controversy we could talk about, hmm, let me see. How about romance verses speculative fiction? Do spec. fiction novels have happy endings?

Greg Mitchell said...

Jillian, one of my controversial declarations was going to be that I bite my nails, too! I guess I was afraid that was too offensive...

On to the subject of spec fiction having happy endings: I think they absolutely can and often do. There DOES seem to be a wave of thought, though, that "happy = unrealistic/corny" but I think with all of the ugliness in the world, I want some happiness at the end of a long, dark story. I'd like to think that my trilogy has got a MASSIVE super duper happy ending, it just takes a lot of suffering and war to get there :p But that will be for the Reader to decide, I suppose.

And it's got love and romance, too! I'm a big ole sap, despite the monsters I write about, scratching at your bedroom window...

Jillian Kent said...

You said,"but I think with all of the ugliness in the world, I want some happiness at the end of a long, dark story. I'd like to think that my trilogy has got a MASSIVE super duper happy ending..."

So glad of that ending. :) Especially because it's MASSIVE super duper. And if there's love and romance, then it's sure to conquer the monster at the window. Still gives me the shivers though. But now I'm more intrigued than ever.

Bruce Hennigan said...

Jeff Weldon bites his nails, too.
You're in good company!

Greg Mitchell said...

Jillian, I'm a sucker for a love story--The entire trilogy is one big love story (with lots of monsters). You should check it out!

Jillian Kent said...

Bruce and Greg,
The heroine in Secrets of the Heart bites her nails. Go figure. And I plan on checking out everyones books eventually. I just have to get #3 written right now. Time is going so fast!