This will upset some people, but they need to hear it: don’t put the word f— in your books. Try to avoid any swearing altogether unless it’s something you might hear on network television. And, no, AMC doesn’t count. I’m talking about old-school network TV when there were three channels and nothing on.
I’ve used f— a lot in my books, but you’ll notice I don’t anymore. That’s because I realized it adds nothing and subtracts a lot. I can tell the same stories without (much) profanity and not alienate people who can’t tolerate such language.
You can call people prudes if you want, but even I, who use the word f— at home as if it were punctuation, never say it in public. Never. Nor will I.
As much as I enjoy a good f-word, I realize that in some situations, it hurts more than it helps. And because I’m in the business of entertaining people and making them happy, I don’t want to piss my readers off. If they hit an f-bomb and stopped reading, I lost a customer. Moreover, they will tell someone else, and they won’t buy my books, either. It’s a losing scenario.
I suggest a compromise, and I’ve used this to some success. If you must use f—, use it once per book and never about the act. It’s enough to upset some readers but still lets you express yourself. Try it.