It's very hard to get anyone to pay you attention online.
That's not normally a problem as most of us don't give a damn if anyone pays attention to us online.
As an author, though, it is supposedly really quite helpful if you have a large following on one of more of the social media.
Whether this is true or not is a whole different subject and one I'll avoid here except to say that I know of several authors with large and genuine twitter followings (as big or much bigger than my own modest 12,000) who don't sell many books.
Let's assume it is true. Now, how do you get those mouses to click your links, like your comments, share your content?
Well. You could be a fabulously successful author, but that's rather the opposite of the point. The idea is that the following help you become fabulously successful. Another alternative is that you could be endlessly entertaining. You could be witty, a sharp observer of the news, a fascinating commentator on the human condition, a well-read genre raconteur, etc.
But that's ... really hard to do.
OR ... you could do politics.
When you declare a political preference (especially at either end of the spectrum) you're immediately plumbed into an extensive support network. It's rather like a church. Complete strangers will shout "Amen, brother!".
Yes, you may well alienate half the political spectrum but you'll still have half left, and half of 'everything' looks pretty attractive when all you've got is all of nothing.
Plus, the business of blogging becomes easy. You don't have to think up something new and original to write, you can just turn the handle on the outrage machine and content drops onto the page.
"SJWs ate my baby!"
"This group of two is insufficiently diverse, you BIGOT."
If you don't 'get' either of those headlines from opposing political extremes then I'm rather jealous of you.
Anyway, the fact is that joining a side in the culture war can seem like a no-brainer to an aspiring author who needs backup. I'm entirely sure that the motivations for many authors taking to political blogging are 100% genuine, born of deep convictions. I'm also sure that many jump on board, dial up their mild convictions to 11 and enjoy the ride, blog-traffic, retweets, prime spots on the 'right on' genre sites of their particular affiliation, oh my.
Edit - as an aside, one part of the outrage machine on one side of the divide is sending people to this blog with the assurance it asserts that the only reason writers talk diversity is for attention:
Given recent assertion that the only reason writers talk diversity is for attention
It's almost as if he chose not to read the line I have now highlighted in red. How easily "many authors taking to political blogging are 100% genuine" becomes an "assertion that the the only reason writers talk diversity is for attention" when you're stoking the fire :)
The game is of course that most people who read the initial outrage won't read this - they'll accept the lying precis and stow the information away. Another enemy labelled.
Unpack the misrepresentation a little further - our friend has ignored the fact this is a blog about authors pushing political views - from Vox Day to Requires Hate, and he has decided instead that it's about them talking diversity. Our friend has put me in the enemy camp. Lawrence hates diversity, that's all you need to know. Our friend must know he's lying. But he doesn't care - it's serving his purpose.
We can now add the ridiculous click-bait hack Damien G Walters to the above club:
Here's his painfully tribal tweet:
Mark Lawrence argues that authors talking about diversity is just attention seeking
Back to our regular programming:
It's a step I've never been able to take. I do have moderately strong political convictions, but they're moderate ones, and moderation doesn't sell, doesn't generate traffic, doesn't get retweeted.
Plus, I write stories. What attention is turned my way is turned my way because of tales about sword swinging and adventure. I feel uncomfortable slipping into political messaging after that. It seems too similar to the salesman at your door who gets his foot in with some tried and tested gambit before seguing neatly into double glazing.
I suppose if I really thought I could add a zero to the end of my twitter following by writing aggressively moderate blog-pinion pieces wherein I stridently declared:
THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO THIS FUCKING PROBLEM
I would probably go for it. But nobody wants to hear that an issue has as many shades of grey as soft-core bondage porn. So I won't.