The panjandrums of the online right often bleat that conservatives complain about the culture but don’t do anything about it.
This is true insofar as you look at the issue from their perspective. It’s not objectively true, as I proved with the Appalling Stories anthology series: there I worked with several right-leaning writers to publish short stories intended to appeal to normal people. And at least a few other publishers focus on fiction written by conservatives, mostly in the science fiction genre. So there are, in fact, many conservative content creators. They’re just not successful enough to earn notice from conservative media’s bright bulbs, such as they are.
The reasons for this lack of success are manifold, but the two most important are the lack of quality among conservative writers and the isolation of the political right.
This lack of quality is evident in the overwhelming majority of fiction being published today, either filtered through the Big 5 publishing gatekeepers or unfiltered through Amazon’s distribution network. Most people, especially those calling themselves writers, can’t write well. This isn’t a problem specific to the political right, but it is a major contributor to conservative failure in publishing. The self-publishing explosion has eliminated all barriers to putting one’s work out there, but when one’s work is substandard, it falls to the reader to determine good from bad. Readers will buy a book if it has a great cover, attractive ad copy, and a genre they’re interested in reading. Because most writers can’t afford to buy great covers, let alone write good copy, their books fail. Most of the time this failure is deserved, despite that readers don’t know the difference between good and bad writing. They like what they like, whether it’s Fifty Shades of Grey or The Great Gatsby. If you want to appeal to right-leaning customers with any chance of success, you have to write books about space marines or post-apocalyptic survivalists. Anything else is all but doomed to fail; the conservative fiction market is just that tiny.
More to the point, most books published within the last ten years suck out loud. Particularly self-published books. Including those written by conservatives.
Isolation is the other major factor to conservative invisibility in the culture. The American left has successfully branded itself as the way things just are, so their messaging doesn’t include politically freighted language that the average reader will recognize. Conservatives often brand their material with terms like “liberty,” which turns off readers who just want to be entertained, not preached to. Conservatives also make the mistake of trying to appeal to a conservative audience, a group that automatically looks askance at material designed to appeal to them. As a writer, you want to appeal to everyone interested in your genre, not just a subgroup of like-minded individuals on social media who will click a heart button but not a Buy button. Secluding yourself on a tiny conservative island with other tiny conservatives won’t get you eyeballs, and it definitely won’t get you sales. When non-conservative fiction writers find out that you’re right-leaning, they’ll ostracize you at worst and deliberately ignore you at best.
But you’re a conservative/libertarian/conservatarian (ugh), so you should get help from right-wing media, right? Yeah, no. Conservative luminaries (the Twitter-addicted commentators on sites like Townhall, PJ Media, and The Daily Wire, for example) ignore conservative content creators for several reasons.
First, they’re paid to ignore you. They’d tweet less if they were paid to solve problems instead of complain about them. That’s why you see so many of the same columns written in the same places by the same people over and over and over again. Doers do, writers write. Conservative writers are not doers. Maybe some were once, but they’re not now. The problems they’re writing about exist as long as they’re paid to complain about them. So asking them to acknowledge that there are indeed conservatives creating culture is, in effect, asking them to deny their own revenue stream. Those who are being paid to write, that is. Many aren’t. When it comes to quality, you can’t tell the difference between paid and unpaid writers on the vast majority of these sites: they’re equally leaden and uninspiring. Same with the podcasters.
Another reason why they won’t acknowledge you is status. If you’re an unknown asking for a hand up, it means you’re a lower-status person, and they simply won’t risk their higher status to help you. Why should they? If you were any good, you’d be a higher-status person like them. That so many of them have achieved their status through successful networking rather than quality of work is something they can’t afford to think about; Impostor Syndrome is rampant in the media industry, and to look at oneself too closely in the mirror risks fracturing a deservedly fragile self-image. Between that and the standard in-group/out-group behavior, there’s no upside to acknowledging your existence. You’re not in the clique.
They’ll link each other’s dreadful, boring, banal pieces all day long, because that’s how they maintain status within their network, but you just don’t rate. Deal.
Yes, your (ostensibly) shared ideology suggests that they should help you out. Their bleats about the lack of conservative culture while you’re right here drawing comics and writing books are frustrating to hear.
The good news is that you don’t need them. Not even a little bit. The podcasters, columnists, and professional tweeters, no matter how famous they are in the tiny subgroup that is online conservatism, are not going to make or break your career. Only you can do that. Your lack of success isn’t their fault, and they can’t make you succeed, even if they were inclined to. So stop asking.
What you need to do is create less, read/sketch more, and eventually produce quality material that people will talk about regardless of political affiliation. Save your money until you can afford a cover that will catch the reader’s eye. Model success; don’t just ask for it, and model successful writers in your genre, not dime-a-dozen columnists. There’s a reason why their work is free to read on Twitter/Townhall, and your work costs money.
Unless you’re writing a conservative column, don’t ask conservative columnists for help getting eyeballs on your work. It’s like trying to market ketchup to people who like barbecue sauce. Even though some of these columnists write fiction themselves. Have you read it? I tried. It’s terrible, particularly the apparently popular stuff with plenty of Amazon reviews. You’re probably better than that. A tiny minority of writers can do both fiction and non-fiction well, like Michael Walsh. You’re not him. The other columnists aren’t him, either. Yes, you want to be popular. Yes, you want the big royalty checks. Your favorite conservative luminary won’t get you those things, even though he says conservatives should do exactly what you’re trying to do.
Online columnists are storytellers, too, but the difference is that they don’t do nearly as much work as you do in bringing a piece to market, and it shows in the final product. The story outline is written for them by the New York Times, New York Post, and Fox News: all they have to do is put an angry gloss on it. The audience, fattened on free content, is entirely undiscerning as long as the meat is red. The marketing is done through Tweets. There’s really nothing special about the work, intellect, or personality of the people you’re angry at for not helping you sell your book.
Eschew them and go elsewhere.