You can’t please everyone. Repeat that and memorize that, if you intend to be a creative. Any sort of artistic endeavor will eventually run up against some sort of backlash, outrage, or hostility. Accept that immediately if you intend to walk this path, and prepare yourself for it. That’s especially true for the written word, because we write so many of them. If you write a novel you have 75-100K words or more in which to somehow offend someone. Sure, you can hire sensitivity readers and editors but honestly they will be applying their own viewpoint to the read and offering advise based on their own subjective opinion. What offends your sensitivity reader may not offend someone who actually buys the book. It’s a guessing game really, and at the end of the day if you change something all you may end up doing is offending someone else.

Consider Amelie Wen Zhoa’s recent run-in with this. Her book caught some flack from a few people taking offense to how the author portrayed her characters in her fantasy world based in an alternate Asia. Amelie told her story from her own cultural background and heritage, but some people didn’t like it. She actually pulled her book from publication, re-read it, hired sensitivity readers, and ultimately made changes and is going to publication. She allowed other people to tell her how to write her story. Will her changes be enough to appease the mob? Reading through the comments on social media it’s a safe bet there will still be people offended by this. How dare this Asian woman address issues in Asia without first consulting American readers about how it makes them feel.

Bottom line, there are people out there who live for this. They wake up every day looking for something to be offended about. In this age of instant communication through social media they can spread their complaint around the world in no time. It makes them feel powerful, popular, and like they are making a difference. There will always be people like that, from all walks of life, all political sides, and from every demographic. No one target audience is free of this so you will not be able to avoid it. Don’t let it get to you. Tell your story. If it doesn’t sell, that’s your clue that you have work to do. If it gets nothing but bad reviews, then you know something needs to change. Don’t cut the wings off your work before it has a chance to even fly though. It’s your story, not theirs.