This article discusses the plotting of a book -- a medical thriller backed by the pharmaceutical industry in an effort to sway public opinion against purchasing drugs from Canada. The executive who came up with the idea has been fired as a renegade, but I find the concept both amusing and disturbing.
Amusing: That's one use for an advertising budget. The average author's advance is going to be much cheaper than a prime TV commercial. Of course, there's that whole hiring the press and trying to make sure the book gets into stores, but that's a minor detail, right?
Disturbing: Could it have worked? And if it did, how responsible would the authors be for delivering the message they were paid for? I don't believe an author has to believe in everything she writes (how many serial killers would we have running around if we did?), but if an author is going to accept money to produce a specific viewpoint and demonize a type of action, that author's just another marketing shill. And, yeah, they do need to accept that that's what they're doing.
I'm not saying that makes the writing any easier. It's still work, hard work. But it's propaganda.
Wow, that took a serious turn I wasn't expecting, but yeah, I am disturbed by fiction being written with an agenda. If you want to put in your morals and themes, fine. But keep the proselytizing to the non-fiction, please.