Do authors take their fans loyalty for granted?

nixie

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#1
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George R R Martin's new release has made me wonder are authors taking us for a ride?
For example:
The vast majority of us are eagerly awaiting Martin's Winds of Winter and Patrick Rothfuss' Door of Stone, we haven't been waiting a year or two we've been waiting what seems like decades. The release dates keep being changed but it's ok us as fans will still purchase.

Us fans of Thomas Covenant bought the final chronicles even though we needed a dictionary to understand a lot of it.

Feist we carried on reading the whole series but quality dropped and later books were littered with errors.

Stephen King told us to take it or lump it with the ending of The Dark Tower, he didn't care what we as fans thought. Yes he was correct but the arrogance of the statement made me grind my teeth.
Authors deserve respect, privacy and it is their decision what they write but sometimes it seems they couldn't care less about the people who pay their wages.

don't get me started on @Jo Zebedee and her promises on Inish 2 ;)
 

Jo Zebedee

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#2
:D :D i’m Doing better than them! I have a third done!

On subject - ish. I’d love to have it finished. Enough people want it to make me think I’ll clear some profit on it. But I also don’t want to bring out crap as a sequel and therein lies some of the fear. But I think it will come out at some point. I hope so anyhow.
 

Venusian Broon

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#3
As a reader I can occasionally get annoyed by some of the practices, especially the non-finishing of a very large series, as you've mentioned, Nixie.

But I don't see me, the reader, as the person paying the wages. The author is more, in my eyes, making an enterprise. And it is up to me to decide if I want to buy a ticket to experience it.

It's up to the author to complete whatever they started, or as you point out, for their future work to remain good! If they fail, then I should consider to no longer pay for future 'journeys'.

I can name (but won't right now, you'll have to tap me up in the pub ;)) quite a few authors that on reading one, that have, for quite a few reasons, have made me metaphorically throw the book against the wall and I will not read anymore of their work.

Having said all that, I might mellow out eventually on some of them.

As for GRRM - I think he just fell to the dreaded 'bloating' as the story progressed, a la JK Rowling. So much so that to tie it all up has become some sort of N-dimensional knot problem. That he also was - working on a very successful small screen adaptation and probably 1) got a tad sick of trying to pushing to the end after such a long time and 2) got loads of new ideas about the world - hasn't really helped.

So on one hand I don't blame him and therefore not too bothered about the slow rate of completion. I can empathise. But on the other hand, if you are more invested as a super-fan, I can see if it might be a tad irritating.

(Hell, I also want Fallout 5, Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 that may come out in some point in the 2020s, so it's not just novels. I think I can just about wait....)
 

Teresa Edgerton

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#4
Nixie, I agree with what you say about authors deserving privacy and respect for their decisions about what they write. And yet sometimes it seems to me that some of them do take their readers for granted, the hugely popular ones anyway (mid-list writers know better, or if they don't they soon learn the hard way).

On the other hand, maybe they just don't want to share their inner agonies with the rest of the world. Maybe it's pride, but maybe it's that they understand that the world at large doesn't want to hear rich authors with tens or hundreds of thousands of fans complaining about their depression or their writing blocks or whatever is preventing them from finishing. Their most devoted fans might be interested and sympathetic, but these are the kind of things that are just as likely to bring down scorn if shared. (Though maybe if they did share what they are going through there might eventually be more understanding of such things. Still, part of these problems is that you can't really explain.)

I imagine that there is no one in the entire world who wants GRRM to finish Winds of Winter a tenth, a hundredth, as much as he does. Whatever it might have been like before when he stalled on a book, I imagine by now it must be the horror of all horrors to him that he can't finish. No matter how many other great things are going on in his life, this must be like a drop of poison in every one of them.

But I don't really know. I don't know him, and I could be completely wrong. But unlike some other writers he doesn't show the kind of arrogance that makes me think he takes anything for granted. What do I know? But even with those others, that show of arrogance may be insecurity. Different writers, different situations. I imagine no one answer fits everyone, even every writer with a following.

Maybe so much constant contact with so many fans is bad for enormously popular writers. Too much pressure such as previous generations could never have imagined. Or perhaps it makes some of them feel god-like, as if they can do no wrong. Whatever it is, it's probably not healthy in terms of their writing, unless they happen to be remarkably well-balanced individuals with remarkably good support from friends and families.
 

Venusian Broon

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#5
Here's an idea, that Teresa's last paragraph sparked in me.

Possibly GRRM is a tad terrified of finishing. I'm sure he has an ending in his mind, and has done for decades...but this intense study of his work by devotees over decades may have actually come up with ideas that he's thinking: 'Y'know, that's so much better!' So perhaps this has had him subconsciously delaying that end.

Maybe he's a tiny bit worried that his endings will be a let down for his fans?

Or he might be Stephen King arrogant. I don't know him ;)
 

HareBrain

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#6
I can easily see how he could have got into his current situation without any need for arrogance, given the complexity of the world he's created. Getting it all to tie up must be a living nightmare, and if there's anything that will sap writing of all joy, it's planning and plotting and planning and still not getting it to come right.
 

Vince W

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#7
I don't think it's the authors that are taking the fans for granted, but the publishers.

If series like ASoFI weren't so popular then the publishers would be more aggressive in demanding books be completed on time. However, since there is just so much money to be made when the books are published that they're willing to take a long term view and sod the reader. If the publisher really wanted to help GRRM out they wouldn't publish anything of his until Winds of Winter was finished.
 

Boneman

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#8
Someone will post a link to Neil Gaiman's diatribe about fans bitching over GRRM not finishing books, and I see both sides (Libran, you know...) You want the author to make the book the best it can possibly be (rather than rush it and get a sub-standard book you hate) and if that takes time, so be it, you wait. But... these guys (the bestseller ones Teresa mentioned) are multi-millionaires because of their writing, which millions of fans bought, which does mean they have a responsibility to those fans, no? They have the lifestyle every writer in the world envies, and it's taking them over ten years to finish a book...

But it's only a book... fiction... made up... it's not going to change lives/save lives and for goodness sake there's millions of books out there! Read something else.

But yes, I'm waiting for Doors of Stone and I fear that Patrick may have written himself into a corner: millions of readers are waiting, how can he live up to the hype, unless the book is perfect in his own mind? We'll get it when we get it, and other life changing/lifesaving events that happen to us, that have nothing to do with when a book comes out, should occupy our minds.
 

Karn's Return

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#10
I'm a Gemini, not a Libra, but I can see both sides of the issue as well. As a reader, sometimes it can be frustrating waiting for the final volume of a series you're enjoying, or killing off/shoving out major characters volume to volume. *cough*BROOKS!*cough* But as a writer, even though nobody has actually ever read my work (as far as I know, I have I think a total of 9 sales/downloads on Amazon), I can certainly say that even despite my not being a novelist, it is frustrating as hell to continue a story, series, or world you built up, only to have no idea what path to choose for it, and that frustrating indecision is a major block in the cog of writing. It's the monkey wrench second only to emotionally-induced writer's block, and I've not only left projects for years without being touched, I have projects I've "finished" up and am actively ashamed of, and projects that I knew were dead in the water within the first paragraph and the idea abandoned completely. So though I see both sides, I'm leaning in favor of the writers here, because it really isn't only arrogance on their part that keeps them from wrapping things up. (Unlike Mike Meyers with Austin Powers. I wonder if Canada is ashamed of him over it?)

Also, taking the point here, every year, there's less and less of those of the "patient" generations who had to grow up to learn to be content with what they had, and more and more impatient, youthful, entitled, undisciplined generations are coming in. (Not saying every child is this way, but with the advent of the internet and certain social issues these days, they certainly seem to be far too common.) It certainly doesn't help when you have a massive base who might just want you to finish a project but make it just right, potentially toxic feedback from the public over delays or shift in quality in their eyes doesn't help to motivate an author to finish a series that he may have lost passion for.
 

nixie

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#11
Sorry, I've been a little harsh on authors, they don't have an obligation to complete a series.
Also drop in quality, we aren't obliged to buy.

I also get that health/mental state can get in the way of writing. I'm waiting for the next Scott Lynch book, I'd never complain it's taking to long knowing he has issues.

It was more frustration seeing the new Martin book, when he knows all we really want is The Winds of Winter.
Also books can get away from an author, I've read series thinking they've lost it and the ending is rushed.

@Jo Zebedee I was joking:cool:
 

Al Jackson

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#13
Suppose I am stating the obvious , or something that is common currency right now, my sense of things is that Winds of Winter is probably finished but is being held until season 8 is done.
One thing I don't hear about is George's communication with Benioff and Weiss , does he talk to them at any other time than the Emmys?
 

picklematrix

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#15
Speaking of Doors of Stone, I believe Patrick Rothfuss may fall afoul of an issue that GRRM would not have to worry about: fans growing out of his books. I have a feeling that if/when I read the KC books again, they won't live up to the first time, as I am a lot older now and can see some of the issues with the writing. I will only reread them if DOS eventually comes out.
I don't think ASOIAF has to really worry about that particular issue, but I believe there are a few people for whom the window of time in which they enjoy Rothfuss' writing may have closed.
 

Lafayette

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#16
GRRM is one of my pet peeves and I have a few ideas that may gain results.

One: have his publisher gather a few editors and writers together to have a series of brain storming sessions with him. If he is overwhelm by what he has created and/or is trying to achieve this may loosen him up and give him clarity.

Two: is for the publisher to offer him a huge some of money for the rights of his creation and any notes pertaining to it and then hire a team of good writers to finish it.

Three: is to declare a global wide boycott on all his books (past, current, and future), tv, movies, merchandise, interviews, and speaking engagements.

I know this last option is harsh, but I believe Mr. Martin is taking the money and running away without any regard to his fans desires. Mr. Martin is in a sense exploiting his fans. Also if GRRM doesn't care about his creation (and his fans) then let some other gifted writers complete it.
 

The Big Peat

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#17
Sorry, I've been a little harsh on authors, they don't have an obligation to complete a series.
I'm going to borrow from a recent twitter thread by Brian McClellan here - "Starting a series creates an unwritten contract between you and your readers. They buy the first one that says "book 1" and they expect more (for good reason). You tell them there will be X number of books in a series, they have every right to be excited for book 2, 3, 4, etc... The promise has been made."


He's right. I completely understand that sometimes life breaks things. I try not to assign motives that I'm unsure of.

But when you say you'll do something, there's an obligation to do it. It's that simple. You can break an obligation - so many of us do - but lets not sugarcoat what it is.

Its no different to a plumber saying they'll be there at 6 and not being there. Or a friend. Or anyone.


Incidentally, I think this also says its not the publishers. If the publishers were more aggressive about getting this book, Martin could simply say no and not notice the financial hit.
 

Boneman

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#18
It's kinda hard not to think: why aren't they just getting on with it? I mean... it's been ten years... could be a publishers ploy to keep the author and books in the (dark?) limelight with free publicity and free social media exposure, so that when the books finally come out, there'll be an outpouring of (again free) publicity, worldwide. :ROFLMAO:
 

nixie

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#19
It's kinda hard not to think: why aren't they just getting on with it? I mean... it's been ten years... could be a publishers ploy to keep the author and books in the (dark?) limelight with free publicity and free social media exposure, so that when the books finally come out, there'll be an outpouring of (again free) publicity, worldwide. :ROFLMAO:
And there is the added bonus, not everyone keeps books, they'll have to rebuy the previous books to catch up on story.
 
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