Years back, an editor wrote me (before e-mail days) that if I'd submitted an arthritis self-help book that touted some curative foods, then it would have a greater chance of being accepted. She was kind of 'hinting' the idea to me.
Being one of a gazillion chronic pain sufferers, I was outraged by the idea. Imagine if I bought a book that sang the glories of eating wheat germ every day as a sure 'cure' when it fact it was simply a sure scheme to generate big sales for author and publisher? Another disappointing attempt to find relief. Another scam gone through because saps like me believed their words.
There are books that I've read back in High School that linger with me to this day. (We're talking ancient history here.) I remember how disappointed I was when I saw the film to the book: Lost Horizon. The book stirred my imagination into a whole other world (Shangri la) and the movie didn't quite compare. I remember books that disturbed me as well...books I had no business reading as a teen, such as Valley of The Dolls.
Of course, there is the topic of 'free speech' and "free will' and I do not overlook these rights in both writer or reader. However, if I were asked to write a dark story full of violence and profanity for a generous advance and contract, I d have to turn it down. I'd lament the loss of earnings as a writer, but not the images and message I'd imprint on the minds of readers for the sake of publicity and 'making it' as an author. Such ideas were suggested to me by others, but I will not sell out my convictions for publication.
An accountant once told me that the IRS considers the annual income of any craft that is under $3,000 as a hobby. I take it that many of us writers are long times hobbyists. That's okay by me. When I attain the legal status of 'writer' I hope it will be from a work that I am comfortable with and that will in some way enrich the soil of society...even if just a little.