How Not To Be Listened To

I got an email today.

Dear KJ

I’d really like you to write about different subjects. I know you mostly write historical queer romance but I preferred your contemporary m/f action thriller and I’d love you to write more of that instead.

Obviously, historical/fantasy romance is where you write and sell the most books, so I’m asking you to move away from your core readership and the stuff you most like writing. And I should admit that I never buy books, so I won’t pay to read your books, or anyone else’s. Also, if you do write another book of the kind I like, I won’t tell anyone about it: I never discuss books online or with friends, I don’t have a blog, and I don’t review on Goodreads or Amazon or anywhere.

Nevertheless, please take my opinion into account and change the way you do things. Thanks!

Now, I liked my action thriller, and so did a few readers, and I’d gladly write more given tangible encouragement. But this guy…you’re not offering me any sort of inducement to listen to you but you want me to move down a path that I don’t trust to do well? Wow, why not just head the email, ‘Please ignore me’?

***

I think you’ve probably worked out that wasn’t a real email.

Today is the last day for Brits to register to vote in the forthcoming election. There may be 7.5 million people unregistered to vote. POC, women, the disabled and young people are disproportionately represented in the non-voting. And with an election this tight, this unpredictable, those votes could make a massive difference.

I know people are apathetic, disillusioned, unrepresented or frankly repelled by the current state of politics. Believe me, I know. I look at my choice for 7 May and it makes me feel slightly ill. And I know it doesn’t feel like politicians give a damn, or that one vote makes a difference in the tide of slurry.

But if you don’t vote, your opinions don’t count. If you don’t give the politicians a reason to give a monkey’s about you, they won’t.

In the last election, 80% of over 65s voted, and only 47% of 18-24s did. Amazingly, our government has been more interested in pensions and inheritance tax than in tuition fees or tackling the housing crisis for the young. The LibDems made promises about tuition fees in the hope of getting the 18-24 vote; they dropped those promises like a hot rock because they didn’t feel young people made it worth their while to keep them. Groups that don’t vote don’t get represented by politicians to the same degree as those that do. Well, why would they?

Register to vote, please. Encourage others to register. Spread the word that today, 20 April, is the last day to register online. It takes five minutes, and you don’t need your national insurance number if you don’t have it to hand.

And remember that not registering, not voting, is a message to politicians too, and what it says is, ‘Please ignore me.’

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