Do authors take their fans loyalty for granted?

Karn's Return

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#62
I will read the first two again of Rothfuss's trilogy, before Doors of Stone comes out. I understand exactly what he's saying: things do happen in the first two books that, whilst not detracting from the story, do bear more telling/explaining. I have read them at least 3 times each, because I enjoy the hell out of them, and I'm sooooooo looking forward to book 3. And wondering exactly why it's taking so long, we ne'er get an explanation. Only been 7 years.... Stephen King left us on a deranged train for how long, before finishing the Dark Tower? I had to re-read the first four books, I'd forgotten so much.

Now whether or not that's actually true is one thing, but it's the attitude about things that I personally find so repulsive, and supporting a person by giving them money or knowing they had once gotten money for a copy and getting it anyway, well, that's just reward for bad behavior. It's like giving money to EA or Blizzard for a video game, despite the sh*t stunts they pull. (Diablo Immortal, anyone? Star Wars Battlefront II?) I just don't believe in doing it, and money in my pocket is only an extreme rarity, so I will only support those who I both like the work of and who I feel deserve the support.
 

millymollymo

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#64
A while ago, I took my daughter to see Jaqueline Wilson, as part of the publishing push for her 100th book. "This," she declared to a sold-out uni theatre, "is my book. I've written dozens for my publisher, this is the story I wanted to tell."
It was about a girl in WWII - about as far as you could get from her much loved Tracey Beaker.

So, echoing what @Toby Frost points out, headlining authors who publish year on year are a different statistic to the many authors who I've met, know and have had the joy of interviewing. JW publishers wanted another book in the same frame, they knew it would sell heaps. JW wanted to stretch her creative wings.
Who was right? That depends on how you measure success: The book spawned more and a beeb series. It's a different fan base to the TB series though.


I like to think that the more popular a writer becomes, the greater the expectation is around them. The protective bubble that an agent, marketing department and friends create for them also strengthens.

Authors whom I've read owe me nothing, I've shared/marvelled in their world and loved/loathed their characters. Publishing houses who let their 'product' slip don't deserve my money. Editing comes under the publisher's responsibility. The push for product comes via the publishing house- and that pressure cripples what sff values most. The "what if."
An authors work will respond to pressure applied to them, directly or indirectly.

I don't think any author takes a fan for granted, most love it when someone 'gushes' about their work. Some of the best conversations have been about their characters and such. I think it has to come back to the author knowing why they started writing. What made a reader become a fan of their work before they were "BIG"
*eyes all the authors here*
How many of you say "I write for my fans," when they are trying to break into the scene?
 

Stephen Palmer

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#65
A big part of the problem for many authors is having the guts to lose fans. Writing a series in the same world, book after book after book, means you're not going to take the risk of losing fans - i.e. losing attention. Once you've had a taste of the big time, that's a difficult thing to let go, especially if (like far too many authors) part of the deal in the first place was getting lots of people to say 'ooh, you're wonderful and I love your books.'
 

The Big Peat

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#66
Incidentally, I stumbled across a David Gemmell interview recently in which he says the biggest reason authors go downhill is that they become too 'big' to accept criticism. So I guess we're not the only people to think some authors' mindsets change.

I will read the first two again of Rothfuss's trilogy, before Doors of Stone comes out. I understand exactly what he's saying: things do happen in the first two books that, whilst not detracting from the story, do bear more telling/explaining. I have read them at least 3 times each, because I enjoy the hell out of them, and I'm sooooooo looking forward to book 3. And wondering exactly why it's taking so long, we ne'er get an explanation. Only been 7 years.... Stephen King left us on a deranged train for how long, before finishing the Dark Tower? I had to re-read the first four books, I'd forgotten so much.
Tbh, I'd consider a series poorly written if it didn't reward that sort of re-read.

That said, there's something in the quote that rubs me up the wrong way, which often seems to be the case with Rothfuss.

*eyes all the authors here*
How many of you say "I write for my fans," when they are trying to break into the scene?
I'd have probably given up the current magnum opus if it wasn't for trying to avoid disappointing the few who've seen the early version and raved about it, if that counts.
 

MWagner

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#67
I don't think GRRM, Rothfuss etc. take their fans for granted. However, I do think they're very undisciplined writers. I'd go so far as to say they're unprofessional.

Professional writers write at least five days a week. Professional writers meet deadlines. Professional writers fulfill contracts.

I can't recall any genre writers from the 60s, 70s, and 80s just flaking out on a series. Michael Moorcock, Poul Anderson, and CJ Cherryh managed to write at least a book a year for decades. The writer who can't finish what he started seems to be a recent development.

I don't know why that is. Maybe the audience bears some responsibility for expecting massive epics. Maybe the internet and its near-infinite distractions have undermined the discipline of all writers (Jonathan Franzen has commented that he doesn't think a serious book can be written on a computer with an internet connection). Maybe the death of the mid-list has also killed the culture of workmanlike professionalism that accompanied it, leaving only part-time amateurs and mega-successful stars. Maybe publishers have become so desperate for bestsellers that they indulge the worst habits of best-selling authors.

This problem does seem confined to SF/F, though. I can't recall any mystery of historical fiction authors who have pulled a Martin or Rothfuss.
 
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Toby Frost

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#68
A big part of the problem for many authors is having the guts to lose fans.
And money! Seriously, though, almost any creative endeavour by one of these big-name authors carries a huge amount of money. The release of a new Harry Potter or Game of Thrones is probably more like the release of a Marvel film than the release of a mid-list SFF book (assuming such things still exist).

A few thoughts on the not-finishing: Martin is extremely wealthy, and Rothfuss, I think, has a full-time job that he seems to enjoy. Less and less writers write to make a reasonable wage - a few make vast sums, and most make very little. I'm not sure how that works re financial incentive, but I can't see it having a good effect. So yes, I could see the death of the mid-list having a very bad result here.

It's much easier to write your characters into a hole than it is to get them out of one, and I would imagine that, as the expectation builds, so does the difficulty of providing something that fans will really like. In the past, an author could write a string of short novels where the same characters would have an adventure, barely survive, not settle down and go onto the next one, ad infinitum. People don't seem to want that now. It's very hard to imagine the kind of payoff that a vast epic requires to be satisfying.

I'm not sure if any of that entirely explains or excuses the situation (if an excuse is necessary), though.
 

MWagner

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#69
A few thoughts on the not-finishing: Martin is extremely wealthy, and Rothfuss, I think, has a full-time job that he seems to enjoy.
I'm pretty sure Rothfuss' full-time job is geek celebrity - blogging, appearing in D&D livestreams, going to conventions. While writers from earlier generations didn't have these particular distractions, many of them had other demands on their time, such as raising children. And again, you don't see this kind of thing from mystery and historical fiction authors. It seems being a social media celebrity is pretty much a SF/F author thing. The geekiness of the genres, in an era when the internet and pop culture has made being a geek an entire lifestyle, enables authors to indulge in all kinds of rewarding, non-writing activities.

Less and less writers write to make a reasonable wage - a few make vast sums, and most make very little. I'm not sure how that works re financial incentive, but I can't see it having a good effect.
Martin worked in screenwriting for a long time, so he knew how to meet deadlines and write with discipline. However, one of his motivations for getting back to writing novels was he hated the deadlines and restraints of TV. So A Song of Ice and Fire was a way to indulge his less disciplined impulses. Even so, he wrote them at a pretty good clip until he lost the plot with A Feast for Crows. At that point, presumably, money wasn't much of an issue anymore. Though again, I doubt money is an issue for Lee Child, and yet he musters the energy to write a novel a year.

As for Rothfuss, he never was a professional writer. He faffed around with Name of the Wind for years in his spare time. When it hit big, he made a pile of money and yet had not developed the habits of a professional writer. Which is a problem.
 
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The Bluestocking

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#70
Maybe the death of the mid-list has also killed the culture of workmanlike professionalism that accompanied it, leaving only part-time amateurs and mega-successful stars.
It's still there if you look at Urban Fantasy authors like Patricia Briggs, Faith Hunter, Anne Bishop et al who are somewhere between mid-list and superstars. They turn out a book a year like clockwork - and they write looooooooooong series with casts and story worlds that rival that of GoT in size and scope.

The "middle ground" is still there and may be not as visible (being eclipsed by the mega stars like Rowling, GRRM, and Rothfuss) but they have a sizeable and loyal fandom.

And they certainly don't take their publishing deals and fans for granted.
 
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Brian G Turner

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#71
*coughs* Jean Auel took 31 years from the publication of the 1st Earth's Children book (Clan of the Cave Bear - 1980) to publication of the 6th and final book (Land of Painted Caves - 2011) - all of which were bestsellers. *coughs*.

Publishing a book a year seems is an infamous feature of genre fiction, and arguably a weakness of it - quantity over quality. If we step outside of that and look at literary fiction, there seems to be no such demand - certainly not traditionally.
 
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The Bluestocking

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#72
*coughs* Jean Auel took 31 years from the publication of the 1st Earth's Children book (Clan of the Cave Bear - 1980) to publication of the 6th and final book (Land of Painted Caves - 2011) - all of which were bestsellers. *coughs*.
Yes. But that's an average of 5 years between each book? Both Rothfuss and GRRM have sailed past 5 years at this point and it's going on a decade now in the gap between the previous book and the book fans are awaiting.
 

The Bluestocking

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#73
Publishing a book a year seems is an infamous feature of genre fiction, and arguably a weakness of it - quantity over quality. If we step outside of that and look at literary fiction, there seems to be no such demand - certainly not traditionally.
Yes, but one might argue that literary fiction has a much smaller readership base these days and literary authors write most standalone books. The biggest-selling fiction is basically genre fiction. So stands to reason that with a much bigger readership (if you look at ALL genres, and not just SFF) - especially readerships that develop into fandoms (which not all readerships do) - people do want more stories from their favourite authors, usually featuring their favourite characters/story worlds.
 

night_wrtr

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#74
Yes. But that's an average of 5 years between each book? Both Rothfuss and GRRM have sailed past 5 years at this point and it's going on a decade now in the gap between the previous book and the book fans are awaiting.
Not to mention that before reading the first in Rothfuss' series, he mentioned in an interview that all three of the trilogy were written.
 

SilentRoamer

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#76
*coughs* Jean Auel took 31 years from the publication of the 1st Earth's Children book (Clan of the Cave Bear - 1980) to publication of the 6th and final book (Land of Painted Caves - 2011) - all of which were bestsellers. *coughs*.
Well of course Brian - there will be countless examples of this being the case - writer delays have nothing to do with race or gender, they have everything to do with deadlines, lifestyles, writing styles, professionalism and a host of other writing factors.

I have read the first 3 of the Earths Childrens books and then gave up but I remember the attention to historical detail was very rigorous and would to me, be a valid reason for a slower output. I think Auel wanted a high level of authenticity.
 

MWagner

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#77
Publishing a book a year seems is an infamous feature of genre fiction, and arguably a weakness of it - quantity over quality. If we step outside of that and look at literary fiction, there seems to be no such demand - certainly not traditionally.
True. Since genre fiction typically relies on predictable story tropes and recurring characters, it can be turned out (and is expected to be turned out) at a higher rate than literary fiction.

Literary writers often have day jobs (like teaching at university) that pay the bills, so they don't need to publish regularly. Also, literary authors tend to agonize over every sentence and paragraph in a way that genre authors don't, and that dedication to masterly crafted prose is one of the values readers get from literary fiction.

But I guess I don't see anything special about the work of Martin or Rothfuss to suggest they fall into the literary writer camp rather than the genre writer. Their prose isn't masterful. They don't seem to be delving into their psyches to plumb the ineffable truths of human experience. They're writing stories about knights and wizards.

Most successful professional writers have regular routines. Schedules and word count targets. By all accounts, those two don't.
 
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Vince W

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#78
True. Since genre fiction typically relies on predictable story tropes and recurring characters, it can be turned out (and is expected to be turned out) at a higher rate than literary fiction.

Literary writers often have day jobs (like teaching at university) that pay the bills, so they don't need to publish regularly. Also, literary authors tend to agonize over every sentence and paragraph in a way that genre authors don't, and that dedication to masterly crafted prose is one of the values readers get from literary fiction.

But I guess I don't see anything special about the work of Martin or Jordan to suggest they fall into the literary writer camp rather than the genre writer. Their prose isn't masterful. They don't seem to be delving into their psyches to plumb the ineffable truths of human experience. They're writing stories about knights and wizards.

Most successful professional writers have regular routines. Schedules and word count targets. By all accounts, those two don't.
I think Jordan can be forgiven for his recent lack of output...
 

The Big Peat

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#79
True. Since genre fiction typically relies on predictable story tropes and recurring characters, it can be turned out (and is expected to be turned out) at a higher rate than literary fiction.

Literary writers often have day jobs (like teaching at university) that pay the bills, so they don't need to publish regularly. Also, literary authors tend to agonize over every sentence and paragraph in a way that genre authors don't, and that dedication to masterly crafted prose is one of the values readers get from literary fiction.

But I guess I don't see anything special about the work of Martin or Jordan to suggest they fall into the literary writer camp rather than the genre writer. Their prose isn't masterful. They don't seem to be delving into their psyches to plumb the ineffable truths of human experience. They're writing stories about knights and wizards.

Most successful professional writers have regular routines. Schedules and word count targets. By all accounts, those two don't.
Jordan and Martin are dealing with very complex plotlines and also writing books twice as big as anyone else's. Which mightn't explain Martin's delays, but can explain a lot about why Jordan was taking 2 years to finish most of his later WoT books
 

night_wrtr

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#80
I have read the first 3 of the Earths Childrens books and then gave up but I remember the attention to historical detail was very rigorous and would to me, be a valid reason for a slower output. I think Auel wanted a high level of authenticity.
I don't think historical accuracy and accuracy within a fully imagined world is all that different. For an author in a series, they have to cross reference everything that came before it. Just like a historical mistake, readers will call out an author for discrepancies in their own world.
 
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