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Are You Alienating Potential Readers?

by Sarah E. September 13, 2011

When I started Queer Vegan Food several months ago, I had a vision: to showcase weird, unusual, or highly creative vegan recipes that broke the mold of traditional vegan fare, which often imitates foods from the animal product world, and to make the explicit connection between being queer and being vegan. While I sometimes feature recipes that are pretty standard (raw NOreos aren’t quite so strange, after all, and I will admit I love simple recipes as much as the next high raw vegan), I think that my tendency to throw raw chocolate onto kelp noodles and put maca in savory dishes puts this blog in kind of a unique category. A queer category, if you will. Additionally, while I love and adore people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, I appreciate that my blog willingly asserts itself as anti-oppression, anti-violence, anti-cruelty in any form, and logically extends that to both non-human animals and non-normative sexual and gender identifying-humans.

Still, I’ve kind of been wondering, am I potentially alienating potential readers by being so explict about my sexual orientation and how I think that relates to veganism? I  imagined there would be some room for crossover readership among people of all sexual orientations and even levels of interest in veganism. After all, who doesn’t love an awesome cookie recipe that just happens to be raw, made mostly from locally-sourced ingredients, vegan and organic, and promotes a cruelty-free ethic for both human animals and non-human animals? At the core, I was hoping the food and the ideas would speak for themselves, and I wouldn’t alienate people who were neither queer nor raw vegan.

To find out for sure, I checked in with business and online marketing guru Marie Forleo, whom I greatly admire for her sass and tough-minded approach to helping women succeed in business. Forleo graciously featured Queer Vegan Food and my question on her weekly Q&A Tuesday show last week, and I was blown away by her response!

Watch it here:

I loved Marie’s response. She advocated that I not worry about alienating customers–those who “get it” so to speak will be interested, and those who don’t, well, they can go visit some other blog! Additionally, she pointed out that it is important to focus on the needs of the reader (she uses the word “customer,” but I’m really not aiming to create a business out of this blog, so I much prefer the word “reader”). To shine the spotlight on the needs and desires of your reader base is the important thing–not to focus, say, on my personal sexual orientation.

More than 6,000 people watched Marie’s response on Youtube, and her blog got dozens of comments from women of all stripes who appreciated her messages. That’s part of what I love about Marie–while she answered my specific question, I think the lessons she shares can be helpful for many kinds of  entrepreneurs.

I am still figuring out the balance between personal politics and awesome recipes. I would LOVE it if you, the reader, would allow me to shine the spotlight on you for a bit, and ask whether you think the balance is working here on the blog? If you don’t think it’s working, what would you love to see more of? More recipes? More current events explored from a queer-vegan foodie perspective? More photos from my work-life (did you know I work at a raw vegan retreat center in Arizona? ‘Tis true!)

This blog is still in its infancy. Thank you for reading!

Sarah E.
Sarah E.


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