Do authors take their fans loyalty for granted?

Venusian Broon

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#21
And there is the added bonus, not everyone keeps books, they'll have to rebuy the previous books to catch up on story.
Or worse, for the inner OCD in you, making each new imprint with the new book slightly different in size/font/design from the one before. So that you've got the whole series but they just don't look good next to each other :mad::ROFLMAO:

Not like my six book Dune set that all comes from the same design and has very blue sky of Arrakis and a 'rolling' picture across all six books that all join up.
 

Karn's Return

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#24
Eh, I'll state something here, and I think we had brought up the same thing before in a different topic. A writer should write for themselves first and foremost, THEN for the readers, and not for the fans.


Personally, I see ASoIaF going the way, potentially, of Wheel of Time. GRRM isn't getting any younger, and even if it is just a single volume left, well...


And I really don't know if Sanderson would be willing to pick up another massive epic again. XD
 

psikeyhackr

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#25
I am not loyal to authors and I don't expect loyalty from them, whatever that means. The writer must decide to write for their muse or to please the audience. I would expect a writer as successful as Steven King to tell obnoxious critics or fans to kiss his ass. I would not respect him if he didn't.

I am not a fan of his and never bought any of his books. But I would not expect Lois Bujold to take any crap from me and I have bought lots of her books, though not the fantasy. It would not even occur to me to tell her to stick to SF.
 

Vertigo

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#26
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.
I agree one hundred percent with this position. If an author writes a single standalone book then there is no obligation from either author or reader.

But if an author has promised a series and the readers have invested in that series by buying the initial books, and incidentally supporting said author in the process, then the author has an obligation to deliver. If they do not then it is a simple betrayal of the very people who have supported that author over the years.

There is a moral obligation created by the initial promise of a series as opposed to a standalone book.
 
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Jo Zebedee

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#29
Once again I have to say that I think it's acceptable, even admirable, for an author to write a standalone book purely for themselves but they write a series for their readers.
I disagree. You only write anything for your readers if you want to make money ;)

I write pretty much all my standalones with the market in mind. I write Abendau - my only series (so far! So far, Nixie!) for me. It’s my sandpit - but I also didn’t sell that series until I was sure I’d finish it ;)
 

Teresa Edgerton

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#31
If I were a writer and the my fans appreciated my work, I would work hard to maintain that appreciation.
Which could mean not sending in the book to the publisher until the author is satisfied that all the problems have been worked out and it represents the author's best writing. Is it the author who labors on for years who is not keeping faith with their readers or the one who slaps together an inferior piece of work every nine months or less just to meet their deadlines? (Note, some people can be incredibly prolific and incredibly good both at the same time. Not everyone though. And even those who can ... maybe not forever.)

I'd also like to point out two things.

1) Creativity is not something that can invariably be turned on and off at will. When we're old enough to be experienced and young and healthy enough to be writing at the height of our powers, this may be possible. When that is not the case, then putting pressure on in some of the ways that have been suggested in some of the posts above could actually be counterproductive.

2) An author might start writing a series at a comparatively favorable time in their life. Their health is OK, and whatever their chronological age may be, mind and body are not doing badly. Optimistically, they believe that this is how things will continue long enough for them to finish the series. Why wouldn't it? Sure, things may go wrong here and there, and they'll be a year or two late with a book sometimes, but overall they expect they'll be fine, even with all the other commitments they've made. After all, they've never had more than minor problems keeping up before. And as for growing older, well, some people are still sharp as tacks into their eighties and nineties. Then ... life happens. Three or four or five books in everything has changed. The characters and the plot are not cooperating. The brain is beginning to struggle just getting words out. (The writer goes to his or her doctor, hoping they can find something wrong, something that can be fixed. "Nope" says the doctor, "that's perfectly normal for someone your age." "But people much older than I am are still as productive as they were in their twenties and thirties." "Yes, they're the lucky ones. Sorry. Try to take better care of yourself; that will help some.") The time between books stretches out from one year, to five years, to ten, and consequently age is catching up with them faster and faster.

Trust me, at this stage there is no threat a publisher can make, no action they can take, that will get the book written in a timely manner and to an acceptable standard. And, yes, probably the writer should have been more realistic years ago in their expectations of how fast they'd get the series written. Too late to do anything about that now.
 

The Bluestocking

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#32
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.
I'm just going to put it out there that there are many popular Urban Fantasy books with sprawling casts and a whole intricate raft of interwoven plot threads - enough to rival that of GRRM or any Epic Fantasy books/stories. These series run for anywhere between 5 - 20 books and rising. They might not have the superstar status of GRRM but they put out excellent books and stories and have large communities of readers and fans.

Popular UF authors like Faith Hunter, Patricia Briggs, Benedict Jacka, Charles Stross etc still meet their deadlines and deliver the next installment in the series every year or every 2 years so readers and fans know that they won't be left hanging.

And if anyone goes "yeah but they aren't writing books the size of doorsteps", I'd point out that Steven Erikson did the same with his massive 10-book MALAZAN series. I asked him once how he did it - he said that he honoured his deadlines and his readers.

There might not be a formal contract between author and fans/readers but there's a promise to be kept if you publicly announce you're writing a series.*

*Exceptions being - as the very wise @Teresa Edgerton points out - illness, catastrophes etc.
 

The Bluestocking

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#33
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.
There's an excellent point a couple of people made somewhere further down McClellan's thread that GRRM's inability to finish his series has hurt other authors because SFF readers who were burned or who have observed how the GoT fandom is continually waiting with no end in sight are, more and more, only buying/reading series by other authors once all the books are out. And for new authors, this can be catastrophic because publishers aren't very patient these days and if your first and second books don't sell (partly because potential readers are waiting for the whole series to come out), then you're dropped.
 

Stephen Palmer

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#34
And another thing...
I personally can't understand authors who wish to write series. For all his brilliance, I gave up on Terry Pratchett after about 8 books... and even my fave Gene Wolfe. I like authors who do a wide range of things - Gwyneth Jones is a great example.
A trilogy - fair enough. If I ever write another one, I'll write the whole thing before even one word is read by a publisher. But not more than three...
 

The Big Peat

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#35
And another thing...
I personally can't understand authors who wish to write series. For all his brilliance, I gave up on Terry Pratchett after about 8 books... and even my fave Gene Wolfe. I like authors who do a wide range of things - Gwyneth Jones is a great example.
A trilogy - fair enough. If I ever write another one, I'll write the whole thing before even one word is read by a publisher. But not more than three...
See, the moment I think of an idea, it expands into a series before I realise what I'm doing. I think reading a lot of series makes me automatically think in terms of that scale when I get a seedling. Makes short stories an actual challenge.

Personally I think Pratchett had his cake and ate it here - Discworld forms a series for those who want it and allowed him to explore things in depth, but loosely enough connected that he got to do a lot of different things. But that's personal taste.
 

Venusian Broon

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#36
And another thing...
I personally can't understand authors who wish to write series. For all his brilliance, I gave up on Terry Pratchett after about 8 books... and even my fave Gene Wolfe. I like authors who do a wide range of things - Gwyneth Jones is a great example.
A trilogy - fair enough. If I ever write another one, I'll write the whole thing before even one word is read by a publisher. But not more than three...
I like the cut of your jib, young man.

On my own anecdotal evidence of the books I've read, I'd say that a series rarely has the vibrancy and potency of a standalone. Series if they start going over the trilogy length always seem to 'grey' and fray to me.

Purely my own subjective opinion of course, others will have opposing views :)
 

Karn's Return

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#37
And another thing...
I personally can't understand authors who wish to write series. For all his brilliance, I gave up on Terry Pratchett after about 8 books... and even my fave Gene Wolfe. I like authors who do a wide range of things - Gwyneth Jones is a great example.
A trilogy - fair enough. If I ever write another one, I'll write the whole thing before even one word is read by a publisher. But not more than three...
`

Don't think I would like to know what your thoughts on Piers Anthony might be then, Mr. Palmer...


That said, I think Xanth just got away from him and I don't even know if he would know how to stop writing for it even if he wanted to.


I do understand where you're coming from though, as there are all sorts of problems with ongoing series, Robert Jordan being an example, but only one...
 

Vertigo

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#39
I think a lot of series writers are now getting incredibly lazy. My feeling is that each book in a series should be a complete book in that it should have a beginning, middle and end. Many new series now seem to be effectively one huge book serialised and each individual book is all middle, with the beginning being many books earlier and the ending many books later.

A good example of this from a well respected author, in my opinion, is the Luna series from Ian McDonald where the first and second books ended with no more than a chapter ending and almost no conclusion to any of the preceding action. I find this sort of book deeply unsatisfying to read.
 

Karn's Return

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#40
It's a bunch of mashups of issues I'm afraid, Vertigo. There's the advent of television/movie deals, cash cow milking, all sorts of things. That's also why we always remained genre/theme-locked for years at a time. The whole system is manipulated, one reason why I honestly never want to go to a traditional publisher with anything I'd even consider selling. Principles are invaluable to me, after all.
 
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