21 July 2014

Monday Musing from the Editor: What authors owe readers .... and vice versa

During the past few weeks, I've seen several authors post apologies to readers on social media, as for one reason or another (personal/health/family/life issues - or combination of each of those) they've been unable to deliver a series title as anticipated.

Now, I appreciate hearing from the authors and reading these updates about what's happening in their lives. Because I'd like to say ... thinking of you ... hang in there ... take care. But reading between the lines of these posts - there's also a sense that, we as readers, are putting a heck of a lot of pressure on these talented storytellers to feed our all-concuming book habit.

As a dedicated series reader, I mark my mental calendar when I know a title will be released. If something happens to move that date a month or two or even a year out, do I get mad? HELL NO.

Am I disappointed? Perhaps, but not so I'd ever complain! I don't believe in authors as servants of their readership (or anyone as servants of another). I almost feel in this world of social media immediacy, that authors inadvertently may themselves in such situations. They're already worrying about and dealing with expectations of agents, publishers, bank accounts (remember, writing is their livelihood), as well as their own expectations. Why should we as readers add more pressure on them?

The other thing that takes me aback is some of the vitriol I've recently seen directed at a few authors who might not *write the story* some of their readers anticipate.

Okay, I'll be frank, I've been disappointed in the way a book or series started to trend, but I didn't take it out on the author. I realized that *OMG revelation, here* the series and characters were and are the CREATION of that author and just like in real life sometimes people act and react in ways we can't control - or agree with.

So, do I yell at the author? Write negative reviews because *my idea* of what the writer's story should be wasn't told? Nope, I try to keep reading their books as I'm somewhat invested in the characters (but instead of purchasing them, I may borrow the books from the library). Eventually the author may lose me if they continue to disappoint me as a reader, but they usually don't care a whole lot as they'll probably retain enough dedicated readers to be continuing mega-sellers.

So, I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that there is a very vocal minority of readers whom I'd like to request to just please -RESPECT the authors. It's their story that they're sharing with us, not ours to tell them what and how to write.

If you're anxiously awaiting a new title and it's not on schedule, why not check out other writers while you wait? You'll probably discover several more titles and series that you'll also become involved in and enjoy... Maybe instead of complaining about the wait in your social media post to the author on Facebook, Twitter, or their blog, why not ask ask the writer who they'd recommend to read while you're waiting.

If you don't like the way a specific story or series is trending, please try to read it either with a more open mind (perhaps the characters are evolving/maturing) and/or simply walk away. It's not fair to expect an author to create his/her stories via a cookie cutter mold just for you. Really. It's. Not.

And it's not fair to the other readers out there who are happily taking the journey along with the author - and enjoying it.

That's not to say there aren't valid bones to pick with books in the reviews and critical assessments you post on Goodreads and Amazon, but it's how its done that's key. Let's try to remain civil and remember the story is in the hands of the author. If we think ours is better, well, maybe we should writer our own!

Let me know your thoughts. Please. Do.


(This post was adapted from what I term a mini-rant on Facebook. Please feel free to friend me on Facebook to see and respond to these rants as they occur.)