A Capitalist Novelist’s Guide to Fan Expectations and How Not To Be A Douche

Recently on my Facebook fan page ( Monster Hunter International: Hunters Unite. It’s a 7,500+ person gun club with a book problem, or book club with a gun problem… I don’t know. Either way it is usually Cookie Monster memes and people shouting Hoon!) somebody posted an article about how author Pat Rothfuss is tired of being bugged by fans about when his next book is going to be out, and he got rude about it.

For those of you who don’t know, Rothfuss wrote his first book over a decade ago, and it blew up into a super huge mega hit. It was supposed to be book one of a trilogy. Then like five years later he published the sequel. And I think it is six years later now and people are still waiting for his third book. Both of his books are still selling extremely well, but a lot of fans are really pissed at Rothfuss for being so slow. There wound up being a great big discussion on my fan page about it.

I stayed out of the debate at first because I’ve got no dog in that fight. I’ve not read his books. I don’t know the guy. Personally, as a prolific professional who has averaged two books a year for the last nine years, I find six years to get a single book out to be silly, but that’s just my opinion. As fans were annoyed and bitching, I found myself nodding along, like okay, I can see your point.

But then some of his fans started talking about how Rothfuss OWED them a book. Or how he had a MORAL OBLIGATION to write for them. Or how it was an UNWRITTEN CONTRACT to finish what was started.

Oh, hell no.

At that point I had to jump in. It got pretty ugly, and it got really long. It went on for a few days and several hundred posts. After a while I shut it down because I got really sick of hearing entitled fans trying to rephrase their arguments to find a politer way to say that they own me.

(and I’m a workaholic writer who likes to fight, imagine how much this topic annoys the slow sensitive types, but I’ll get to that later)

For this post I’m going to condense down my arguments and try to show authors how that attitude about unwritten moral obligations is the kiss of death, and to pushy fans how they really aren’t helping, and I’m going to try and explain all of this through the glorious power of Capitalism. (because Capitalism makes you ripped).

The Free Market Is Your Friend

Why am I talking about capitalism? Everybody knows that writing is all about the art, and muses, and shit.

Nope. First and foremost, writing is a job. Writing is just a job like any other job. It’s your career. Newbie writers and artsy fartsy writers, get that through your heads as fast as you can and you will be far better off for it.

We produce an entertainment product. That’s all we do. A lot of artistes get offended whenever I say that, but it’s true. If you want to just produce art for art’s sake, nobody is stopping you. Go have fun. But also, nobody owes you a living just because you are doing something that makes you happy.

So as writers, we produce a product which we hope to sell to customers. We then take that product to market. Whether it is through traditional publishing, or indy, doesn’t matter. The product competes with other products in the market for the customer’s entertainment dollars.

The consumers look at the available products and purchase whatever they want. If they like your product, and you continue to offer new product, then hopefully they will continue to purchase those too. You get paid. They get entertained. Everybody is happy.

However, when the customer buys that product, they are only buying it, not a lease or deposit on any future products. Their $8 is purchasing this one mass market paperback. Hopefully they will get more than $8 worth of entertainment out of it, and they will wish to purchase more products from you when they are available.

This is where the basic misunderstanding comes in. The customer bought this one product. The customer did not buy the author.

Now, as a professional writer, it behooves you to continue producing new products for these satisfied customers to purchase. This enables us writers to do stuff like live in houses, and buy food, which is awesome.

Sometimes writers fail to produce new products in a timely manner. Or they turn out an inferior product that causes the customer to lose faith in their quality. These things make customers more likely to take their entertainment dollars elsewhere. That’s fine. They are free to do so. It is a free market.

If a customer decides that they will not purchase a product until the series of products is finished, that is fine. The customer does not owe the author anything. He might miss out on some enjoyment in the meantime, but that is his call.

The wonderful thing about the free market is that people are free to do whatever they want. Outside of written contracts willingly entered into by both parties, nobody owes anybody anything. Customers are free to purchase, or not purchase, products for whatever reason they come up with. Producers are free to make, or not make, any product for whatever reason they come up with.

Isn’t freedom great?

That’s how it is supposed to work. We create if we want, you buy it if you want, or don’t. Your call.

This wonderful system suffers when people act like entitled assholes. And note, that goes for fans and authors both. Basically, nobody likes an entitled asshole.

To the fans, authors don’t owe you shit. You don’t own them. You purchased one of their products in exchange for some money. That purchase does not give you the right to tell them what to do after this transaction, or how to do it. Now, this may hurt your feelings because you feel invested, but those are your feelings based upon stipulations you have created for yourself.

To the authors, the fans don’t owe you shit. Deal with it. If you want to act like a stuck up artiste and be all haughty and snooty, while not reliably providing them product, don’t be surprised when you finally do get off your lazy ass and discover that many of them have abandoned you. Now this may hurt your feelings because you feel invested, but those are your feelings based upon stipulations you have created for yourself.

The problem with “unwritten contracts” is that they are imaginary bullshit. A real contract represents a deal willingly entered into by the parties. If you just make up an obligation, and impose it on somebody else against their will, that’s slavery. We fought a big war about that.

I had one guy say that if you start a series, you have an “unwritten contract” with the fans to finish it. I asked him, since writing is a business and how we make our living, what if that series is an unpopular sales dud, and nobody is buying it? If I write another one of those, I’m wasting time that could have been better spent writing something more popular. I lose my house. My kids can’t afford shoes.

His response? Oh, well, that would be okay… But wait… What gives him the right to give that a pass? What if some other fan really really loves that series, even if it is a flop? Isn’t his “unwritten contract” just as important as yours?

In reality since both contracts are just made up impositions, they are worth jack shit. That’s why real contracts are written and willingly signed by the agreeing parties.

Since we are talking about publishing, the only written contracts are the ones between the publisher and the author. A dismal failure on the author’s part to hit contractual deadlines is between those two parties who have skin in the game. That’s the publisher’s problem to deal with, not yours.

The problem with invoking a “moral obligation” is that is also bullshit. That’s basically just you trying to shame somebody else into conforming to whatever you want. That’s basically no different than the bossy social justice types making up new rules about how to write books, and then demanding that authors conform or else.

All that said, it behooves an author to be a professional and to reliably produce. When an author works hard, constantly improves, and tries to turn in the best product possible, the fans usually reward them by buying their stuff. Ironically, that’s how most jobs work. You produce, you get paid, if not, pack your shit and get out.

People with normal jobs don’t work because of unwritten contracts and moral obligations. They work because you pay them to. And if they don’t work, you quit paying them. It’s pretty simple. But for some reason people feel the need to make this artistic crap all complicated.

To the Fans

I love my fans. I interact with my fans a whole lot more than just about any other author I know. I’ve been to forty something states and four foreign countries to meet thousands of you in person. You guys are awesome.

That said—and I say this with love—a small percentage of you can really be entitled dicks. Most fans are cool, but one asshole overpowers a hundred normal ones. If you want to know why most authors don’t interact with their fans, it’s because that pushy, entitled, demanding attitude gets tiring real fast. It is literally wearying.

And I know that as soon as I say that, some of you will be all, ooooh, poor baby, first world problems. Yeah, whatever, motherfucker, I come from a cow punching, back breaking manual labor, knee deep in shit, arm deep in blood, background, and I do not choose the word wearying lightly.

All that stuff I wrote above about you guys not owning authors? I’ve got rhino hide for skin and I love a good fight. I’ll tell somebody when I think they are full of crap. Most authors aren’t like that. Most authors tend to be sensitive and squishy.

When you start bludgeoning them over the head about their unwritten moral obligations, you mess them up. I’ve seen it happen many times. I’ve had them commiserate with me and tell me how bad they feel, and how much it sucks that they feel like a miserable failure who has let down their fans. You think the sensitive guy crying in his beer about what a miserable failure he is, will now write faster?
All those memes and jokes about writers having crippling self-doubt exist for a reason.

And yet, some of you guys really can’t get it through your thick heads that you ain’t helping!

Most writers don’t start a series with the intent to fail. Most of us intend to tell the best story possible.

Sure, there are some authors who are just flakes or assholes. I think GRRM is super rich and doesn’t give a crap anymore. I think David Gerrold is just a piece of human garbage, with his constant begging for donations to buy “writing time” for a series with delays measured in decades. That’s just fraud mooching for rent money. I don’t know Rothfuss, but six years a book, personally I would be embarrassed. But I don’t know what he’s got going on, or how he works. He still makes a ton of money off of just two books, so apparently lots of people really enjoy them.

But most authors aren’t flakes or assholes, they’re just trying to tell the best story they can, and sometimes life kicks them in the balls.

Most of the time you fans don’t know the whole story. You don’t know what we’ve got going on. I took a week off for the death of my father this summer. A week. I’m a workaholic who never really stops working, and I allowed myself a week before I got twitchy. And even then I had some fucker get all bitchy with me about how I should be writing. I said earlier I’ve got thick skin, but if I could have reached through the computer screen right then, somebody would’ve died.

So if you think I sound angry today, you should have seen me that day. Because fuck that guy.

That shit don’t help. Let me give you some more examples.

I’ve got a lot of crossover fans with Jim Butcher. I love Jim. He’s a good writer and a good dude. He’s also not some book a decade leisurely writer, but instead he’s reliably and consistently produced a bunch of really high quality books for about twenty years now. He’s got one super popular series, but he also likes to switch it up and write in different universes, so it hasn’t even been that long since his last book came out, it was just that it wasn’t from his most popular series. For the first time in his career he’s had a delay, but he’s had a bunch of recent changes and upheavals in his life. Jim’s a super busy dude who loves his fans, yet I see him constantly getting harassed to an absurd degree.

The other day another author friend of mine, who I won’t name because this is some personal stuff, was speaking about how he’d gone through a really low point, struggling with depression, even thinking of suicide, but discovering Jim’s writing really cheered him up. Jim’s books helped him get through a very dark time in his life and inspired him to become a writer. So now this author has his own career, life is good, and he was telling Jim thanks from the bottom of his heart.

And what immediately shows up in the comments? Entitled fucking assholes barking, “When’s the next Dresden Files! You should be working! IT’S BEEN SO LONG!”

The dude is thanking Jim for helping him struggle through depression, and you can’t even have the common decency to shut up for a minute? What is wrong with you?

I know people mean well. I know people think they are helping. I know that you think it is a compliment. Maybe the first couple hundred times, but then after that it becomes a continual droning whine.

If a writer still bothers to post on social media to interact with their fans, and they post about them doing anything, literally anything other than writing, somebody inevitably is going to jump in and say “YOU SHOULD BE WRITING!” Luckily for me, I’ve mocked this one so much that most of my fans know how dumb it is, and it’s turned into a running joke. Sadly, most authors don’t have as honest a relationship with their fans as I do, so they still put up with that nonsense.

Why is that so annoying? You meant it as a compliment! Oh, I know, because the first hundred people I had to explain this to, many of them told me that as they became exceedingly butt hurt. And I’m talking super butt hurt, like what do you mean I can’t just come in here and demand things from you? So mean. Such outrage! Because you have actual human feelings I’m not going to buy your books anymore.

Super helpful! But anyways, imagine that every time you posted anything on the internet about you doing anything other than your job, a bunch of well-meaning types showed up to tell you that you should be at work. Golf! You should be doctoring! A concert! You should be driving your bus! What are you doing commenting on a TV show you watched? You should be ejaculating hogs (I don’t know what the hell it is you people do!).

That would be super annoying, wouldn’t it? And you can pretend it wouldn’t be, and that you would take it as a compliment, but I promise you that’s a lie, because after the tenth person did that to you, you’d be annoyed too. Now multiply that by a thousand.

The really sad part you helpful entitled types don’t get is that other stuff non-writing stuff is a vital part of the creative process. Since most of what authors do is in their heads, they never really stop working. So when I’m shooting guns, or painting minis, that is the activity that I do to uncork my brain, so that I can go put in another day of creating imaginary stuff tomorrow.

Authors either have a life outside of writing, or they burn out. Or, alternatively, they just check out and don’t interact with their fans anymore. Because even though there are a hundred cool fans for every entitled whiny douche, the entitled whiny douche is the one that sticks out.

So try not to be a douche.

To My Fellow Authors

Get your shit together.

Seriously, act like a professional. In any other job in the world, if you wasted all your time fucking around and didn’t get any work done, you’d get fired. Writer’s Block is a filthy lie. I couldn’t have Accountant’s Block. Oh, woe is me, I can’t make these spreadsheets because I’m just not feeling it today—FIRED.

But if you’re honestly working, and you’re doing the best you can with what you’ve got, you don’t have to take shit off of entitled douches.

I know some of you have a really hard time being direct. I know many of you have quit interacting with your fans entirely because that lone douche in the wilderness screwed you up.

I remember a couple years ago when I ran into a really successful author, dude was on top of the world, just got home from a successful book tour, latest book was a huge hit… and he was bummed. I’m talking super depressed. Why? Because Lone Douche in the Wilderness had just ripped him apart on Facebook, and that negativity was enough to screw up all his previous happiness.

Do not give douchebags power over you. Don’t ever let people impose their arbitrary and capricious rules onto you.

Whether it is somebody being “helpful” in a stupid, obnoxious way, or it is just a bully trying to boss you around, don’t let them grind you down. It’s the same with the negative reviews, or when you cross some invisible line and get an internet lynch mob after you. Screw those guys. Some people mean well, and some people are just jerks who delight in screwing you up. If you can’t handle them, bail out. There’s no “unwritten moral obligation” for you to put up with their shit.

Remember, most of them mean well. Usually, you can get those to stop once they get it through their heads that they’re messing you up.

Now I’ve got a great relationship with my fans. Many of them have gone above and beyond to do nice things for me, and I’ve gone above and beyond to do nice things for them. We’ve raised small fortunes for charity. We’ve accomplished really awesome things. They’ve supported me in a bunch of stuff, and I’ve supported many of them when possible. We’ve got a community.

But all of that stuff is voluntary, based on friendship and free agency. The minute I declare they owe me something, or one of them declares that I owe them something, down that road lies madness and fuckery.

Nobody owns you. They can’t tell you what to do. Being in demand is a good problem to have. Remember, be a pro and turn out the best product that you can, as fast as you can make it good. Some people will like it. Others will hate it. You’ll never make everybody happy.

And since most fans are really cool, they’ll be pretty understanding when stuff goes sideways in your life and you can’t give them their fix. But if you’re an entitled douche to them, they’ll remember that forever.

So try not to be a douche.

For Everybody

This isn’t an all or nothing, one side is right, the other is wrong thing. Like relative douchiness, it’s on a spectrum. So this is what this discussion looks like to me.

FAN: I am disappointed that author X has not finished his next book yet.

CORREIA: Yeah, buddy. I feel your pain.

FAN: I feel betrayed and will not buy any more of his X’s books!

CORREIA: I’m sorry you feel that way, but that’s your choice.

FAN: He owes me!

CORREIA: Whoa. Hang on now.

FAN: X has broken our unwritten moral contract that I have imposed on him!

CORREIA: Fuck that. Where’d I put my shotgun?

Or, let’s flip this around:

AUTHOR: I am behind schedule. Life is hard.

CORREIA: Yeah, buddy. I feel your pain.

AUTHOR: They will wait because my art must be brilliant perfection!

CORREIA: Now you are just full of crap.

AUTHOR: Let the peasants eat cake!

CORREIA: What? I wasn’t listening, I was too busy churning out another pulp action novel about a time travelling manatee and his insurance agent.

See what I mean? Spectrum of douchiness. At the beginning, everybody is cool, by the end, I want to bust out my baby seal club. So in conclusion, it’s okay to be impatient, but it is not okay to be an entitled douche. Be cool. And when authors are cool, they get paid. And when fans are cool, they get to hang out with their favorite authors. Everybody wins.

Veteran's Day Speech from Johnathan LaForce, USMC

283 thoughts on “A Capitalist Novelist’s Guide to Fan Expectations and How Not To Be A Douche”

  1. One of the authors I read frequently stated that he is going to be wrapping up his different series of books. Stating that his stand alone works do much better in the long run (apparently reviews matter! Who would have thought…) Well as a fan that’s pretty depressing to end the series because you just want to keep immersing yourself in new stories, but man if he can keep writing knockout stand alone novels that to me seems like a pretty good trade especially if he can publish more stories more often.

    1. I found it ironic that, if this is who I think, their next release after this announcement, was book 1 of maybe 3. But hey, if he is writing, and it is paying, I plan to keep reading.

      1. Uhh yeah I just looked and if we’re on the same page they are killing the old series and starting a new one that completely cancels out the whole stand alone novels versus series books… Now I’m kinda confused because it’s almost like if book 1 does good then there is a sequel. WTH?!?!

      1. Having spoken with this author at a recent weekend event, the new series was already in the works and a fair amount of time had been invested before that decision was made. Also, it is being co-authored, so it is in part to benefit the partner too. If book 1 is a success it will extend to a trilogy, but if not will only be two.
        Said author genuinely seems happier than at last year’s meeting, as he is free to explore more avenues of creativity more frequently.
        Despite some significant health issues, he has been on point and focused on producing quality stories, with some possible surprises forthcoming. Good times ahead!

        1. Yeah definitely the author I was thinking of.
          And it sounds like they are all good now, so new stories are way better then no stories. What sucks is getting so into the older series of books after they’re already so far along, then catching up, and then ending… I really want to see great wrap ups for the characters involved. And I really look forward to the new works. I can honestly say there are some things in the older books that are so freaking cool fight scene wise, action wise, and emotionaly that I really don’t see how I could be disappointed as long as the new works are even close. I literally grew out my goatee because one of his characters is a bad mother with big guns and an awesome goat lol.

          1. Yeah, “The Girls” are awesome! That character’s real life counterpart is freaking hilarious! Great dude!
            I love the action scenes too, and the snark! I always love learning about mythology in those books too.

            I’m also loving the spins Larry puts on the supernatural world. I’m not much of a gun nut, though I do occasionally enjoy a little shooting, but the MHI books have certainly taught me a few things about guns.

          2. Yeah the characters like there version of Sam Haven.

            I have yet to be disappointed in anything Larry has written and the characters are relatable to me because I’m 6’7 and thicker like Sullivan and Owen i feel there everything being geared at tiny people pain! Way better these big guy characters instead of the super athlete farmboy who doesn’t know he’s a dashing looking rogue BS…

  2. Not all writers do it full time. I do not know what Mr Rothfuss does for a living, but the odds are pretty good he has a day job. I’m not a writer. I’m a fan. If an author has a series I am interested in, of course I want to know when the next book is out. For most authors I like, I do not care about the series, I want to know when the next book of any type is coming out. The sad reality is that some authors I like have published one or two books and then vanished off the face of the earth. Some midlist authors have returned from limbo via self publishing, but that isn’t for everyone.

    1. Nope. He made a shit ton of money off his first book. I wasn’t joking when I said mega hit. Most of us don’t quit our day jobs until book 5 or 6.

        1. They’d go supper crazy, because it’s a SJW’s charity. If you read his blog or see his videos, he’s just a batty as Scalzi and Wheaton.

        2. I’m sorry but I don’t like the ‘G’ word to describe me as a fan of science fiction and fantasy, ever (I know that this sounds like the dictate laid out by the editors and staff at Starlog to not use that word-or the other ‘N’ word-and said dictate sounds like entitlement, but I don’t care.) Naming his organization ‘Sci-Fi Fans Helping Others’ instead of what he named it would be better.

  3. Since most of what authors do is in their heads, they never really stop working. So when I’m shooting guns, or painting minis, that is the activity that I do to uncork my brain, so that I can go put in another day of creating imaginary stuff tomorrow.

    If I’m stuck with part of my story, I generally can’t resolve in while sitting at a computer screen, and I’m someone who has written more paid-for words today that some professional authors may have in all of 2017.

    That’s why I get pissed on other writers’ behalfs if people start bitching about the author having a little free time.

    1. I can’t tell you how many programming knots have been figured out by me while sitting on the can at work. Once I even dreamed the solution, and it was correct, although I was a little pissed to be dreaming about work.

      1. I, too, have had code come to me in a dream. It didn’t work, and I’ve since come to the conclusion my subconscious should have been a business major.

      2. I like to do household chores while letting programming ideas ferment. There’s a lot of queue vs heap in the way the brain works. Gotta let the heap do it’s part some times.

      3. No kidding. When I run into a tech problem I simply have no clue to proceed on. . .. . I go take a dump. 9 times out of 10, I have a workable idea by the time I flush. . .

          1. “We’re going to play the ‘Orvan is stupid’ game. I’m going to explain this to you until I understand it.”

          2. In college, I worked as a consultant in one of the college’s computer rooms. I developed a reputation as skilled in finding arcane bugs, when most of what I did was ask students to explain what they thought their code did. Since I did not have a preconceived notion, it was easier for me to find misplaced pointers, missing semicolons, and logic errors. Much of the time, the student discover the mistake themselves, and assumed I’d glanced at the screen and spotted it instantly.

      4. Oh the number of times the last critical bit of debugging mentally crystallized… in the shower, with nothing to write anything down handy.

        1. Some of my best ideas… including entire conversations between my characters… have come about simply because I was trying to occupy my brain while doing something I didn’t want to do (usually job-related). For that very reason, I’ve gotten in the habit of carrying around a notebook wherever I go “just in case”.

      5. @mike: (regarding free time work) I was once told (by a brilliant computer guy) that UNIX was pretty much entirely written while on LSD. According to him, the guys would run into problems they couldn’t solve, lie down and take a hit while thinking about it. Then they’d often wake up with a solution. Often, they’d wake up to staring at a screen where they’d already written the working code while tripping.

    2. Part of the issue here is that Rothfuss is spending LOTS of visible time on other projects, which is why some fans feel a bit impatient, as though *he* doesn’t care.

      Not agreeing with that, just pointing that’s where some of it is coming from.

      1. This is a point I’ve made a few times myself. It’s not the lack of a book that concerns me, it’s the lack of any sense it’s even getting written. Even GRRM gives some sort of update every once in a while. Rothfuss isn’t our bitch but I stopped paying any attention to what he says about 3 years ago when I searched and found no mention whatsoever of him doing any writing.

  4. Very good post.

    The Jim Butcher hate has been driving me nuts the dude has been consistent in the past and everyone can run into a tough spot in life that slows them down. I just hope when he does get back in the groove it’s on his top notch quality.

    Even on Rothfuss I agree he owes the fans nothing but I do enjoy uhhh being a bit mean because well posts like this.

    “Shortly before his first book was published in 2007, fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss promised an interviewer that fans wouldn’t have to wait much longer to learn the fate of Kvothe, the roguish magician at the center of his story. He’d already written the next two books in the trilogy and would release them over the next two years. “You know the sophomore slump?” Rothfuss asked. “I don’t have to worry about that.””

    source : http://www.vulture.com/2017/10/patrick-rothfuss-fantasy-next-superstar.html

    1. I met Jim at a convention right before he got super big. I think we had a good conversation with a late night group because I wasn’t a fan nor had I read his books at the time. Just story telling and life.

      Gerrold was at the same con around the same yea, and I had the feeling he would have hit on me more if I was twenty years younger and gay. I was in my mid-thirties at the time and don’t swing that way. He also bitched about how tough Hollywood was and I now look at the conversation in today’s light.

    1. Don’t know whether this is the case with Rosenberg, but sometimes that sort of thing is the publisher’s fault.

      (Books sell about half their print run, so the geniuses print half as many copies of the next book in the series. Then that sells half the print run. Lather, rinse, repeat, until the bean counters decide the series isn’t making money and stop buying it. Or they decide the author isn’t selling and stop buying anything from him.)

    2. Not sure if you mean his fantasy series with the RPG kids that ended up in the fantasy world, but that was a great series that went off the rails.

      Sword and the Crown I believe was one of them.

      1. Agreed, I remember that series quite fondly. He had quite a few other good books out as well. I didn’t even know he’d passed until recently as well.

    3. Joel could be super abrasive at times. I remember being on a forum where he stated non-writers opinion of any book by any author was crap since they hadn’t been published themselves. That plus some other unwarranted rage trolling on political matters turned me totally off from his work.

      1. Eh, I can tolerate a pretty high level of dickery from an author, as long as it doesn’t bleed into his work too much.

  5. Definitely agree with you. Found Rothfuss about 6 months ago myself (and if you ever have a long car ride, I really recommend the audiobooks of his stuff) and remember thinking “This is really good, are there more coming out anytime soon? No? Ah, that’s a shame.” Then I think I went and grabbed some Brandon Sanderson books (and from what I can tell he can somehow compress two years worth of writing into one). If Rothfuss ever comes out with his 3rd book, I’ll definitely be grabbing it, but until then it gives me time to read other stuff.

    Never understood fan entitlement, though I’ve seen plenty. Would actually love to compare and contrast some of the tumblr level entitlement I’ve seen around a certain popular anime (I’m a site admin for their community) with what you’ve seen as a writer in a very different fan circle. But end of the day, as a fan I’ll always be able to find something else to occupy me between releases.

        1. At least with the Legacy of the Aldenata series, we can say that Ringo hasn’t disappeared. He’s just been … distracted? by all the other crazy ideas that popped into his head. I mean, the two MHI: Memoirs books have been fantastic (thanks for letting him do that, Larry!).

          Between Eye of the Storm (the last Aldenata books) and MHI Memoirs: Sinners, he’s written/released 12 books. That’s 12 books between 2009 and Dec 2016. He’s not been idle. That’s averaging a book and a half released a year.

          1. Every once in a while I have the urge to pester Ringo about when the next Troy novel comes out. But then I stop myself, because I really DON’T want to be “that fan”.

          2. Or the Prince Roger series, and John has answered these questions over and over again anyway. Plus Miriam (his lovely wife) has forbade him from ending a series again like Black Tide. John didn’t write anything for 2 years after that one ended. He said “he mourned finishing that series” so never expect that he’ll ever end another series.

            I for one rabid Ringo-ite fan am good with that. The Legacy of the Aldenata series could not be called “Neglected” after something like 14 books and anthologies and short stories and such.

          3. @detroyes: I think the Troy Rising series finished with “The Hot Gate”. I would certainly like to read of the further adventures of Tyler Vernon and Comet Parker, but I think it’s over.

            Issac Asimov once said it takes waaaay too long to write sequels. The problem is that he had to go back and re-read all the previous books in the series every time he wrote a new one, to prevent contradictions. The old books were also a straightjacket confining what could and couldn’t happen.

  6. Before I first bought Rothfuss’ first book, I read that he had completed the trilogy already, he had been writing it for a decade and all that was left was some editing polish and a book a year would be published. So I bought the first book. I was leery of starting another continuing series with an author of unknown productivity, having been kept waiting for long times, but on that info I pulled the trigger. I feel lied to by Rothfuss, but he doesn’t owe me a book, just as I don’t owe him my money. He may eventually finish, and I am not sure if I will buy it. I sure as hell won’t buy anything multi-volume story he writes after this trilogy.

    Rothfuss could have easily earned a lot of goodwill by communicating updates on how things are going (something Martin could use, too). It would also probably lessen a lot the repeated nagging on social media. Something a simple as a progress bar like Sanderson has on his site could go a long way towards eliminating much of the annoying progress questions from fans.

    I buy books when I like what authors write. They owe me nothing beyond the story I purchased. Even though I think Rothfuss lied about the trilogy being completed, he doesn’t owe me the final book. I simply won’t choose to start another series from him.

    Feelings of entitlement everywhere bug the crap out of me.

    1. I don’t know if the progress bar would make any difference. I’ve literally had fans ask me when the next book of a certain series is going to be out, in the comments to an update post about that very book.

      1. The writer of the novel “The Friends of Eddie Coyle” (who was an US Attorney for Boston) once said that for every first novel published, there are a whole lot of other novels in trunks that never got published. If the novelist was honest, they should burried those novels in landfills.

        To that effect, Routhfuss may have started writing the whole thing before the first novel got sold. He has the option of changing his mind.

        1. Jim Butcher was in an author’s class, and in rebellion to the Prof’s opinions decided to write a story in exactly the wrongheaded way the Prof said to. That story became the first Dresden novel. She also said to plot out the whole story first, so Jim wrote out the plot of all 21ish novels (the entire Dresden arc) and has been writing all the Dresden books according to that outline ever since.

  7. Larry Correia, lLOH and Internet Literay Baby Seal Club Whack-A-Mole Grand Champion: I read your books because they improve the quality of my life for a reasonable tiny monetary investment. Take my money, please!

  8. I had to give up the unrealistic notion that I owned the writers I read. For one thing, I simply didn’t have the closet space, particularly with SOME authors…

  9. Thank you for the post. Since you mentioned contracts, I hope you will forgive an odd question crom a fan. At a recent con panel, Jim Butcher was asked something like what characters of his he would like to write in a different universe, and he mentioned hewould like to see the Denarians hit MHI Headuarters. My question is if we fans were to set up a gofundme to comission that story, roughly how much would it take for the two of you to write it, or is it even possible to commission a story that way (cor legal ourposes, I am not offering a contract, and do not consider you naming a sum a binding offer – I am just doing preliminary reasearch).

    1. Authors do cross overs once in a while. All you have to do is work it out in the contract who owns what for each IP. No biggie.
      As for doing a novel with Jim, it wouldn’t be about raising the money, it’s about finding the time. We’ve both got contractual obligations up to our eyelids.

      1. Makes perfect sense! Thank you for the repLy – I know you have other things to do than answer odd questions from fans!

        1. I think of his time making smartassed remarks on the web (and smart discussion) to be a good thing for Larry. If I hadn’t stumbled onto this page years back, I wouldn’t be so eager to throw money at him for books.

      1. John was at LibertyCon and got asked about it. IIRC, he said they were plotting on it between all the OTHER stuff they have on the plate…..

        1. Another comment John made on Facebook a while back was that he sent over about a 20k work startup/outline/proposal. Never heard back from Dave. Eventually talked to him and effectively Dave said “what proposal!?” Lost somewhere/how, And may actually sometime happen. I’ll be hoping Dogzard and Admiral Helmut make friends and arepatient (riiiiiight) and we get to have more of the whole bunch soon.

          I’ve read the “start chapters” for book 5 from here: http://jiltanith.thefifthimperium.com/site/archivebook/EmpireofMan5/-/8/

          Probably bout 5 times. Every time I burn through the series I come back to this.

          Read the 3 chapters I linked. Bring popcorn. Some hilarious stuff in there.

          1. Thank you! I didn’t know those existed!

            I think part of the reason for the lack of progress – both authors were attempting to communicate to a dead email address for the other – for FOUR years!
            (And, IIRC, Toni W said, “And that’s not the record.”)
            And just what’s wrong with picking up the dang phone, once in a while?!

      2. I thought I read somewhere on David Weber’s site that he wasn’t interested in writing a sequel to Empire of Man, but possibly a story featuring Miranda McClintock (several-greats-grandmother of Prince Roger). I was probably late hearing it.

  10. Loooong long ago, during the Golden Age of Science Fiction (my youth, iow) I actually wrote a letter to Roger Zelazny inquiring as to the progress of the “Amber” series.

    I THINK I was polite, and he was kind enough to reply via a postcard.

    The series continued in the next edition of the magazine it was in.

    I still have the postcard.

    1. Zelazny died too young, but I’ve seen no one I’d trust to continue his work. Wish I’d had the wherewithal to write him after Sign of The Unicorn serialized in Galaxy magazine, my introduction to Roger Zelazny in the first issue of my Christmas present subscription.

    2. It makes me smile to see you mention Zelazny. When I was reading Mr. Correia’s post, I started thinking about what work, from SciFi/Fantasy I would most like to see extended. After a few minutes I decided it would be Merlin’ s story. In second spot would be Corwin’s story.

      Cancer blows.

      Other works I would love to see extended by their authors (I will limit this to authors who have been published by baen):
      * Tim Powers – a prequel to Drawing of the Dark
      * Linda Evans – Sleipnir sequel
      * Gorden R Dicksen – Another book about Donal Graeme.
      *Jeffery Kooistra – Dykestra’s War sequel/prequel
      *Sarah Hoyt – Shifter series
      *Holly Lisle – Fire In the Mist sequel
      *Wen Spencer – Endless Blue
      *Mark L. VanName – Jon & Lobo series
      David Webber – Alecia Devries series

  11. Dude. This hits too close to home. I WAS that guy. You FB pimp slapped me one day and I learned. So, thank you, because I NEVER wanted to be one of those people . You and JB are definitely my two favorite authors of all time. I appreciate your interaction very much, it is extremely cool of you.

    You hit on something there that is very true. Fans feel invested. People spend hours creating vivid hallucinations because of your work. They come to believe that those characters are real, that their world is real. It is escapism. I have told friends that if Harry Dresden or Earl Harbringer knocked on my door I’d know who they were and wouldn’t even be surprised. I’m not schizophrenic…I don’t think, it’s just that these characters become real to a lot of us. Your creations must feel pretty real for you. Not everyone has that vivid imagination to create worlds inside their minds and escape into their own stories. I’ve tried. I’ve tried to write. I do okay I think, except I stink at villains. Specifically their motivations, But reading and writing helped me a lot through some dark times. If I could create better bad guys I think I could be ok at writing. Maybe not make money off of it, but maybe entertain folks. Long and rambling, sorry. Point being inasmuch as this has a point, other than to say thanks, is that people want to escape into the world’s you and other great storytellers create. For whatever reason not everyone has the ability to create a fantasy to escape to, and at times I’m sure many would rather live in that alternate fantasyland. That is what breeds the douchey entitled feelings. But as a constitutional conservative/ mostly libertarian and true believer in freedom and capitalism, this explanation of the free market as it relates to yoir craft is 100% spot on. So I will end by sayingthat I hope you and JB have long, prosperous, healthy lives and that you always love telling the stories you tell.

  12. Let’s see if I got this right then.

    Good fan: “Larry, I came up with an idea! Depleted uranium rifle rounds for monster hunting!”

    Douche fan: “I DEMAND you use my idea in your next book!!!!”

    1. Even worse Fan: “You have a moral obligation to write me as a major character in your next book because I found that typo in one of your blog posts!”

        1. The thing is, I don’t know how many of Larry’s fans that would bother. As I recall, he actually auctions off the chance to be killed off in some spectacularly brutal fashion.

          1. I’ve seen Larry die so far in more cameos than Ben Stiller has in all the Meet the Focker movies combined.

        2. IIRC, JMS did something like this for Babylon 5. The studio demanded that he include a “hot-shot ace pilot” character in his show, because that’s what’s trending right now, or something. So, he did. Briefly. Heh.

    2. Worst-case fan:

      “You used my idea about DU rifle rounds. Here my bill for fifty billion dollars.”

      Yeah, no.

  13. I met you in Dallas in August. Had a great time. I enjoy your books and always look forward to the next ones. Do I think I’m owed one? No! Why should I. I’m thankful for those I do get and look forward to your book bombs. These fans thinking they are ‘owed’ a book are just exhibiting a juvenile immaturity. Your article is spot on as are all of your musings.

      1. Maybe it’s happened and I missed it, but…if there are multiple Correia’s and more than one version of a Libertarian Space Cowboy Revolution…

        Are there alternate Tom Strangers? Even Strangerers?

        Sorry, I’ll stop.

          1. And hopefully narrated by the same gentleman as last time. Delivery by him of him being him made the book even better.

            I gotta listen to that one again soon. HOOOON!!

            Adam Baldwin for those unaware.

  14. Mr. Corriea,
    First, it was a delight to meet you in San Antonio this year.
    I have enjoyed your books immensely! Simply I agree with your perspective as to a consumer exchange concept when it comes to purchasing stories. Even though there are series like The Killer King by Rothfuss where book 1 came out in 2007 and boom 2 in 2011 and the third is not out yet. Where we as consumers have been clammoring for the third book for a while now; I don’t fault Patrick for not delivering the next story on my timeline. I do however drop lines from time to time asking if/when the next book will be out only because of how much I enjoyed his stories in the first place. I think as consumers we all work ourselves into a kind of self inflicted disappointment when we find something we love only to find out that it’s a limited supply. When it comes to books obviously we can’t just buy more so my advice to anyone who is considering going Kathy Bates on their favorite author; calm down if it’s really a great book, reread what you have, be patient and if you still find yourself without the satisfaction of a new story, maybe consider fan fiction. But be warned, if the fans like it too much they may start asking for more…

  15. I’m guilty of spouting off “WRITE FASTER!!” but it’s meant jokingly. (Be that as it may, I gave up on GRRM finishing Song of Ice & Fire and am tremendously happy that the writers for HBO have taken over the task.)

    Yeah, I get the “don’t be a douche!” advice. I just want to throw my money at certain authors faster. Is that so wrong? 😉

    1. Louis L’Amour had a slight departure with the novel “The Walking Drum” that traverse through medieval Europe and Middle East in the 12th century. The story is supposed to continue in India and China. Unfortunately he passed away before that was written. Still a good rump of a novel.

  16. As at least one of the individuals you refer to, I’ll make my point without it being modified by your own lens…

    A) you have a *minor* moral obligation, having released one book in a series, to do your reasonable best to your fans, who bought that first book, to finish it IF YOU REASONABLY CAN.
    A1 – if it doesn’t make you enough money to pay you for your time, sure, you’re off the hook.
    A2 – if the pubisher says they aren’t interested in any more books, no, you’re not obligated to finish it “on spec” and find another publisher or self-publish.
    A3 – if you are, for some other reason outside your control rendered unable to complete the series (God forbid, a stroke or something)

    B) the consumer didn’t buy “part of a series” from you. If you produced the first book of a series, then announced no intention of finishing it. Then did that again with a second series… And did the same… Well, when you release that third series, your sales are going to be In The Toilet. Because fans are patient, and certainly willing to front you the money for a partial product because YOU need to make a living. So, yes, by selling “first of a series”, YOU established the “unwritten contract” that YOU wished to be paid ON SPEC for the first part of it.

    C) Cripes, even the TV Network Execs can realize how raw this is, and placate their fan bases where practical by giving them closure on a some TV series that were arbitrarily ended in the middle of a storyline. Sense8 is an obvious recent example, but hardly the only one.

    When I say a “minor obligation” it’s MINOR. As in, “You have a minor obligation to drive safely”. Does this mean you must obey The Law in re: Traffic, assiduously, never breaking them? That you should kill yourself for failing to follow this obligation at all times? Don’t confuse this with the notion of “your Duty”, which is a lot more serious weight on your shoulders. It’s simply something you should aim to do, not something to become homeless with guilt if you fail.

    And, from everything I’ve ever heard Larry say, he and I pretty much agree almost all around about all of this on almost every level… He just SERIOUSLY doesn’t like using the word “obligation” to describe it.

    As to Rothfuss, he can do as he damned well pleases, but when fans ask, “hey, what’s going on with the 3rd book?”, he really shouldn’t be getting upset. He chose to write a trilogy, not a standalone book.

    And no, THEY don’t have a right to be more demanding than that.

    Fuck, I’ve been waiting for Larry’s favorite author* David Gerrold to finish his “War Against The Chtorr” series for about 25 years, so y’all noobs can suck it… ;- D

    * (in-joke)

    1. I tried seal clubbing once. Little bastard threw up on Fee Waybill’s boits and got us thrown out of CBGB…

    2. I tried looking to see if I could find a ‘shop of a baby seal as the head of a golf club, so I could post it here, but didn’t find any. And I’m just not ambitious enough to make one.

  17. Many years ago I made the mistake of suggesting an author friend I’d been talking with ought to be writing.
    She disappeared from Compuserve and I didn’t get to talk to her again for a decade.
    Learned my lesson, and sad to say I still feel guilt that I took even one day’s relaxation away from her… not that it hurt her sales at all

  18. I try to avoid being at that far edge of the douchebag spectrum, but running out of books in a series is sort of like being a crack addict who is told there is no more crack, and more won’t be available for a year. Best thing to do is recommend a different author. ‘hey dude, you’re jonesin’ but here’s some Kloos.’

  19. For the Entitled Douchenozzles, repeatedly asking “when’s the next book coming out” is just as annoying as “are we there yet”.
    Read the update posts, you lazy slack bastidge, and stop bothering the author.

    1. Update posts aren’t always helpful. For example (no judgement here, just saying) if an update in 2015 said the book would be turned into the publisher by October, then in October said said it would be turned in by January ish, then in January and the two years since it’s said the book is in progress with no end in sight, then that update post wouldn’t be very useful or comforting. I get it and I’m waiting patiently but update posts, especially inconsistent ones, don’t solve everything. In fact, that one is really frustrating. But I’ll live and I’ll be thrilled when the next book is released.

  20. What pisses me off more than just about anything, is when consumers of a given product complain about it’s quality to the producers of the product but continue to buy said product.

    Call me a heartless bigot, but I don’t feel a whole lot of sympathy self-flagellating hypocrites.

    And I say this as a person who bought Pat’s first book… but did I buy the second? NO!

    [steps off of soapbox]

  21. I think that the tone of the conversation changes when the author maintains a patreon account. People are literally paying the author/artist to produce a product.

  22. I’ve always felt like, there are way too many books I want to read. My TBR pile is silly large. If a particularly favorite author releases a new book it jumps right to the top of the list, often even causing me to set aside what I’m currently reading. But I never stress about when they’ll be coming out. There’s always something else to read.

    As for Martin and Rothfuss both, I’ve suspected they’ve gotten themselves written into corners it is taking time to work through. Rothfuss especially. I loved the first two books, but wondered very much about how he could possibly wrap up such a big complicated story in just one more book.

  23. I wonder if any part of Pat’s delay is the worry of disappointing fans with the last book. A lot of pressure is on the man to end just as high as the previous books. That has to weigh on him. I’m sure he believes he going to deliver quality to his publisher, but fans are not the author, and like the lone douche just ruins that happiness. He hit it out of the park on book one and two and now he has to step to the plate and homer again!

  24. I’m glad that you’re not letting the lone douchenozzles get to you, Larry! I stand eagerly by and wait while you laboriously fabricate awesomeness. Frankly, I’m a little glad that it takes a while for you to write each book, because my entertainment dollars are sadly limited, and it gives me a chance to save up and not get too far behind. With what limited money I do have for entertainment, I’d rather help fund a gold-plated A-10 for you than waste on Hollywierd’s drivel.

  25. It could be worse. One author recently recounted that his editor once called up to threaten to revoke his contract and demand the publisher’s advances back if the author didn’t get the next book out within the next two months. The author at the time was with his mother who was dying of cancer.
    Somehow, I doubt that creative types do their best work at gunpoint.

    Rothfuss has said that he likes to polish and refinish his work trying to make it as perfect as humanly possible. He also said he felt rushed on the second book and didn’t want to do that for the third. No one appointed me his writing coach or his career coach either, so I sitz and I waitz, and I lookz for other authors to pass the time. Maybe I’ll find one whose works I like better and give up waiting.

  26. I wrote a series of four novels and while they haven’t been hugely successful, I have a number of fans of the books. But I’m done with that series of books. I had a story to tell, and I told it. The last book was the last book–it’s over.

    I get, from time to time, letters from people telling me that I need to write book five about these characters. No, I don’t need to, and I don’t want to, and I’m not going to. I am writing other things now. And the reason is that I know if I wrote another novel it would end up becoming “James & Catskinner Meet Abbott & Costello”.

    The events of the last book wrapped up the story arc that I started in the first book, and there isn’t anywhere to go from there. I know, because I tried for six months to start another book in that world, trying out different approaches and different POVs before I admitted to myself what I already knew.

    I have seen series that have been pushed past their organic ending and I’m sure that everyone in this thread could give their own examples. I’m not going to do that. Sometimes you just have to know when it’s time to stop one thing and start doing something else.

  27. Dude. I would read the shit out of an action adventure manatee with an insurance agent. Just saying. In fact, imma throw down the gauntlet! I bet you couldn’t ACTUALLY write and Market that story. I bet you a full table’s worth of 3D printed terrain (cuz that’s my jam and I gotta put my own shot on the line) you couldn’t. Just sayin’. 😉

  28. Patrick Rothfuss said one asshole fan is like having a turd in your Rice Crispies. You cant exactly eat atound the turd.

    Pats books are very good. I do not recomend them to people since I do not have confidence that he will finish them. He just got paid a 7 figure option for TV and movie deals. He does not need the money. He has multiple successful kickstarters. He does not appear to beworking on the books. He did a youtube discussion where he said he isnt working on the books.

    I dont bother him. I just moved on.

  29. Larry, as always your perspective is a breath of fresh air. I suspect a wider entitlement culture coupled with a false expectation for instant gratification in our just-in-time delivery world really fuels a lot of these conflicts.

    Can you imagine people taking the time to write angry telegraphs to Mark Twain to quicken the pace and volume of his writing career? Heck, you had to pay for those telegrams – and when you pay per word the average length of a telegram was only 10-15 words. Sending messages via post could take weeks or months dependent on distance and the time period.

    Now with the internets we can enjoy the luxury of interacting and harassing our favorite authors at an unparalleled speed at a cost so low it approaches free.

    I share many peoples frustration with GRRM and Rothfuss. The Name of the Wind is comfortably in my top 10 all time favorite novels. I did not realize it was book 1 of a trilogy until I was 2/3 into it. I own but refuse to read book 2 until I have book 3 in hand because I, too, crave closure. But I’ll patiently wait until that time (hopefully) comes.

    Aside from sharing similar libertarian leaning views and religious views with you, Larry – you are my favorite author because of the high level of interaction you have with us unwashed masses, and the incredible high quality that you produce in your works. And so I will continue my modest financial contributions to the “Yard Moose Mountain Preservation and Development Fund” in hopes that the monster hunting continues at a brisk pace – but after hours of enjoyment you owe me nothing.

    If you’ll excuse me I’m going to write a strongly worded letter to Amazon regarding their free 2 day shipping not counting the day I place the order when I make it at 2359. I need that Nicolas Cage Pillowcase NOW.

  30. Sorry about your dad, Larry. I lost my dad when I was 17 and that sucked real bad. I don’t understand people’s impatience. I’m always waiting on my favorite authors and I’m fine with that. This is mainly due to the fact that I buy their books the day they are released and read them in about 3 days. Do these people just pick one author to follow and then sit and whine when they fail to deliver a book every month? I’ve read every one of Jim Butcher’s books. I discovered the Dresden Files on my first deployment and they were great entertainment. Once I finished them I moved on to Codex Alera. When I ran out of those, I found another author. Thats how I discovered MHI. The Dresden Files and MHI were on the same book list on goodreads. If Jim Butcher takes 5 years to write the next Dresden Files, guess what? I’m buying that damn book!

  31. Y’know, if you decided to stop writing someday and live off your carefully invested assets in your mountain fortress for a while, I would be sad. Because I’ve enjoyed the heck out of pretty much everything you’ve written. I think your warmachine stuff is seriously underrated- yeah, game universe and all, but it’s awesome.

    However, if you suddenly dropped off the writing map, that tells me there would be a gap in the monster hunting book supply. Such a vacuum could be filled by, I dunno, call it demon hunting. Set it in the early ninties, just before the stupid AWB. Cast an agnostic young reporter, son of a Kentucky coal miner, as the designated chew toy- I mean hero. Throw in a bunch of eldrich nasties stinking up the place. Prophesy immenent dark dooms (other than the AWB). Engage in explosive counter arguments, ballistic philosophy, and a few melee debates. Spin in some fake history, like the Battle of Athens being really about an incursion of demons and suchlike.

    Might be worth a sale or two.

    That’s the thing about the free market. Low supply, high demand is an opportunity. Rothfuss wrote a pretty darn good first book, but I never picked up the second. I’ve not re-read the first, either. Not like I have MHI, or pretty much everything David Weber or David Drake have ever written.

    The other kind of demand, the kind fans make of authors is pretty damn stupid. I know, I’ve been that fan- or pretty close to one. One sure way to screw up the supply of our favored drug is to hassle the supplier. Even numbnut crack addicts can figure this out, judging by the local news today.

    So, good fan: “This book is awesome. If and when another one comes out, I will *give you money.* Because I trust that that one will be awesome, too.”

    Bad fan: “Write, wage slave! Claudius demands another plot!”

    Don’t be a bad fan. Got it.

  32. Loved meeting you in Seattle, Larry! I’m dying for the next Grimnoir trilogy, but the stuff you have on deck according to the update post is really awesome as well.

    And maybe someday in the 2030s you can drop that Troy Rising book on Ringo the way he dropped the Monster Hunter Memoirs on you 😉

    1. There’s a Correia Troy Rising book? Archaeologist treasure hunters will be looking for that in coming centuries like they search now for the Spanish treasure ships that were so overloaded with gold they swamped and sank.

      I have visions of Moose Yard Mountain overlaid with twine spacing dividers and dirty grad students with screen shakers. “Oh my God! I found a thumb drive! It was in the dresser with a pink M-203. Pretty sure it was his daughter’s”

  33. My memory is not perfect so when there is a long break in a series a reread it from the beginning when the next finally does come out. I get more for my money that way. I am disappointed when a series is never going to be completed. My wife avoids that by generally refusing to start a series that is not complete. That may work for trilogies but for seriea such as MHI, Honor Hartington, The Dreseen Files, not so much. If the author lIves longer than I do I lose out. In any case I never thought the author owed me anything other than a good job on the books I bought.

  34. I have thoughts as an author and thoughts as a reader kinda entwined.

    I self-publish under two pen names. I have an honestly quite crappy living condition that is not ideal to getting words done every day. I still published 6 books last year. I’ve self-published for almost 8 years.

    So when I hear a writer say at a con or whatever that they’re taking longer on a book under contract because they don’t have a dedicated office right now? Boo hoo. I’m publishing novels in the same room with a guy with Aspergers that has no filter. He talks to YouTube videos and swears at Solitaire in the same room as me and I still published 6 books without noise-cancelling headphones. Because I *have to* – writing is my sole income. My health won’t let me have a day job.

    There are writers publishing with disabilities, with chronic mental illnesses, etc., so every time some able-bodied NYT-lister gives a lame excuse for taking 4+ years for a book, I can’t eye-roll hard enough. Of course fans aren’t *owed*, but you can still be professional. If you have good reasons for delay, tell your fans. Most people are decent human beings and will understand. If you don’t, shit or get off the pot.

    Fans *will* eat you alive if you’re not honest, and will most certainly move on to productive authors while you make them wait.

    1. I’m not a writer, though I’ve always wanted to be one (I’ve never had what I feel is a really original idea or even a new take on the hero/savior thing), but this is pretty much how I view the subject. I very much realize that when I buy a book, even if it’s part of a series, it’s just a book. That being said, I think it’s a dick move to start a series, get loads of people hooked on it, and then not bother to finish it or slow-roll it. At least give an update, a “this is why I haven’t finished the book even though it’s been five years” (though I would politely suggest that the reason actually make sense and not be a cop-out like “I couldn’t write because George Bush got elected”).

      GRRM and PR are both taking too long. That’s my opinion. They can certainly afford to be, but as I said, it’s a dick move to drag it out or just decide not to finish it. Whichever one it happens to be for each of them. Another author I’ve been waiting for to finish a book that has taken years is Shane Stadler. I desperately want to read the third Exoskeleton book. I’m more willing to cut him some slack because he has a day job, but at the same time I do get a little miffed because he has said as recently as a month or so ago that the next book will be out by the end of 2017 and we’re getting down to the wire here. I just have to continue to wait. This sort of thing is exactly why I refuse to start the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson until the whole series is out (or he’s at least started on the last book; by then I’ll have nine very large books to work through so I’ll still have some time).

      With that said, I’m forever impatient for new MHI books to come out. I know everybody says Grimnoir is the better series, but I don’t think so. Team MHI all the way. Can’t wait for the next one!

  35. Larry:
    Hope you continue to write things I want to buy.

    Roger Zelazny – My wife and I cried when he died. He had been doing some of his best work when he got cancer.

    1. You know, I didn’t like the Amber series so much, but his single-issue novels — Lord of Light, Creatures of Light and Darkness, and even A Night in the Lonesome October — are almost impossibly good. Somehow, they feel more real than the actual physical reality they are based on, and I didn’t get that feeling from the Amber.

      1. I believe it was Zelazny who, when a visitor asked why he concentrated on the Amber books and had more or less stopped writing the “literary” stuff, smiled and pointed out the window at his kids.

        Because, you know, writers, and their kids, gotta eat.

        (personally, I loved all of his work, Amber or not).

        1. My parents were English teachers and I knew as a little kid that writing was a good way to be broke. Then when I was thirteen I read The Guns of Avalon and picked up on the mix of Frederick Forsyth and the Alliterative Arthur and Forever Amber and on my second or third pass through the book I noticed copyright The Amber Corporation and thought, WOW. You can write good stuff and make good money. WOW.

  36. Also (let me preface by saying I’m not a Feminist(TM))……this seems to be more of a male writer issue re: delays and such.

    I write in female-author dominated genres and women are busting ass. Most of them are moms. Even moms of special needs children. Tons of them are writing with a day job trying to replace that day job. A lot of them have the goal of retiring their hubbies, too, and have done so or are close to doing so. We’re multi-tasking all over the place. I’m friends and associates with women making 6 figures from books while being a mom of grade school kids that still need their attention and taxi services.

    1. It isn’t a male or female thing. It is a hunger thing, and a work ethic thing. I know plenty of female writers who dink around and go all artsy-snooty too.

  37. Two things about some successful authors that bug me:
    – some seem to try to be more writerly, as if to justify their fame/popularity, leading to a change in style, a lessening of plot in favor of inner monologue, and interminable delays between books.
    – others pump out product on a reliable basis, but their strict attention to their release dates leads to series entries which are pale shadows of the first book or two in the series.
    So the dilemma for some authors seems to be: make your deadlines but be boring and empty, or get it right but take forever doing so.

    1. Nope.

      Getting it right or wrong is not a function of time spent. And in fact, the more you produce reliably and consistently, the more likely you are to get it right the first time.

      Taking forever is often a symptom of turd polishing.

      Also, those pale shadows of earlier books? That’s usually because they’re burned out or out of ideas. Which is why guys like me and Butcher jump back and forth between different universes to keep things fresh. (which is when fans of the big popular series come along and yell at us).

      The being more “writerly” thing, that’s usually somebody who got lazy/snooty and is phoning it in. Or it is possible they just evolved as a writer and it is what it is.

      1. Appreciate the reply. Note that I said only some authors fit these molds, and those are the ones I start having trouble with. Two pop to mind immediately. The first is an award-winning fantasy author whose early books were deliciously plotty, with great characters who filled out through a gauntlet of revealing incidents. Now that this author has gained some literary traction, his books have become slow-moving barges moving from one momentous event at the beginning to one momentous event at the end, with main characters almost paralyzed by inner monologues as they do the most mundane of activities. The other author is a Florida Noir writer riding a successful series. He began great, winning mystery awards for his early books, which read like movies due to the density of plot and setpiece scenes. But he’s on a schedule now, pumping out a book every spring, and his novels are now usually some sort of crisis set in one place — i.e., they’ve become TV episodes. He’s a guy I would tell to slow down, develop that plot a bit, take me a few places — I’ll wait two years, no prob! But no, what he’s done is added *another* annual series, with a new book each fall, same universe as the first series so that there is some interlocking and dependency between the two. This dilution has not helped an already regrettable situation and all I can think is that he must’ve gone through an expensive divorce and needs a high cash flow.

        I gave up on Robert Jordan because of the glacial progress his novels were moving at after a while, and I’ve put GRRM on the bench until he finishes up, which will be quite a feast given how many plot dishes he has spinning right now. I have Patrick Rothfuss’s first book but I think I’ll put that on the bench as well.

  38. I feel like I’ve got to defend slow authors here a little bit.

    Most of the fast-paced action books I’ve read (and yes, this includes the Monster Hunter series, no offence) are kind of like cotton candy. They are really tasty, and you can get through them really quickly. They practically melt in your mouth… but… they are very light, and they don’t leave much of a lasting impression. Also, many of them are pretty interchangeable: sure, there’s pink cotton candy and there’s white cotton candy, but they all taste pretty much the same.

    Other books are kind of like an intricate cathedral. They are large and heavy, but still beautiful and full of interesting nooks and crannies. If you take time to explore them, you’ll be rewarded with endless hours of enjoyment. In addition, such books usually tell a story that immerses the reader on an emotional level; like any temple, they have unifying message that is grander than just “check out this cool building we’ve built”, and way more subtle than “convert to our religion NOW !!11!” . This is how I feel about Patrick Rothfuss’s books, as well as the books by the Grossman brothers (just for example).

    A few rare books are a bit like jewelled clockwork butterflies. Every word is in exactly the right place, written at exactly the right time, fitting into each other with the precision of microscopic gears to produce something remarkable. This is how I feel about e.g. Neil Gaiman’s The Dream Hunters. Naturally, such books often appeal to a very specific audience: if you really like butterflies and hate tarantulas, then no amount of craftsmanship will allow you to enjoy a clockwork tarantula.

    A cathedral takes more time to build than cotton candy; surprisingly enough, jeweled clockwork could take even longer (depending on the author’s talent and skill). At the same time, though, no one wants to spend his life just wandering through cathedrals; sometimes, a nice big ball of cotton candy on a stick is just the right thing that hits the spot.

    Despite this, I do agree with LC on two points. First of all, if you’re the kind of author that loves praising your own cathedral-building skills at all times across all social media, then you’re probably a). a douchebag, and b). just playing with Jenga blocks in your basement. Secondly, there’s basically no way to make longer books cost-effective. If it takes you 5 years to write a $50 book, and it takes me 1 month to write a $10 book, then I’ll out-compete you every time. Call me a dirty socialist but I’m still glad that not every author goes for simply maximizing his profit with laser-like focus.

    1. I think it’s fine to take your time writing novels. Much of this kerfluffle is Pat’s own making. It’s been almost 7 years since Wise Man’s Fear was released, and more than likely the final book won’t come out until 2020–9 years for a novel that was supposedly already written. Perhaps his novel will be demonstrably better for the extra time spent–or perhaps not.

    2. You’ve never written a book, have you? 😀

      That’s not how that works. That’s not how any of that works.

      What you are describing is an author’s style, which is totally different than their output speed. All that nooks and crannies and bejeweled shit? Yeah, an author who that is his thing, and he’s into that, he’s going to do do that, whether he works his ass off consistently and puts out a book a year, or whether he is leisurely dinking around for seven years. That’s his style.

      And if I took seven years to write a novel, it would still be fast paced, with lots of action and adventure.

      Or to put this another way, Son of the Black Sword, which got near universal praise from the critics (first time I’ve had that in my career), and which got love like crazy from a bunch of hard core fantasy experts (who aren’t necessarily fans of my regular stuff), and which even had academics and English professors talking about it… (seriously, Dr. Michael Collings, who is a friggin’ big deal said it was the best fantasy of the decade) And itook the same amount of time as it takes me to write any other book.

      And one of the common comments from those critics and lit professors? The pacing was odd for an epic fantasy, being a little more “thriller like”. Almost like that is my style or something.

      So when I switched gears and wanted to go dark and serious, it took me about the same amount of time as it takes me to write an MHI or Grimnoir novel.

      Because production is production. You are either producing or you’re not. Like that article I fisked with the snooty author that one time about quantity never equals quantity, bullshit, Leonardo DaVinci would like a word with you. GRRM was fast when he needed to get TV scripts out, and he was fast when his books were new (and from what I understand, those books were better) but then he needed time to bejewel his craftsmanship or WTF ever, and the last two books have been bloated and taken six years a pop.

      Because I hate to break it to you, but this ain’t stone carving. We’ve got word processors. A chip don’t ruin the statue. I can hit backspace and fix it. Seven years tells me that you’re just fucking around.

      1. “What you are describing is an author’s style, which is totally different than their output speed. All that nooks and crannies and bejeweled shit? Yeah, an author who that is his thing, and he’s into that, he’s going to do do that, whether he works his ass off consistently and puts out a book a year, or whether he is leisurely dinking around for seven years. That’s his style.”

        Like John C. Wright, who puts all that fancy crap (I believe that’s the technical term) in his books, and still pumps out work on a fairly regular basis.

        1. Also worth mentioning: Gene Wolfe. The man has writes books I feel I would need a lifetime of re-reading, contemplating, and discussing to fully understand, and is continuing to produce roughly a novel every year, despite being in his late eighties, a widower, and the recipient of triple heart bypass surgery.

          1. The Book of the New Sun is his magnum opus and is rightfully one of the best works of American literature. More accessible would be his two book Wizard-Knight set.

        2. Hmm, I don’t know about John C. Wright. I really liked the Orphans of Chaos series, but mostly because I saw it as a sort of mythology quiz (spoiler: I scored poorly). I tried reading some of his other books, but they got pretty boring pretty quickly. Without the quiz aspect, it’s just one zany adventure after another, they all kind of blur together after a while. He does produce his books fairly quickly, though.

      2. You got me, I write software, not books (I’ve got friends who write books, but of course that’s not the same thing). In my field, there are programmers who work a lot faster in general, and programmers who work slower. However, any given programmer will be able to finish a slap-dash script way faster than he could finish a well-designed program. Of course, an experienced senior programmer could complete an entire CMS system faster than it takes a junior intern to finish a small parsing job. I’m sure Leonardo Da Vinci could do it even faster.

        You might argue that fiction writing is completely different from software, and in fact from most other jobs, but so far I’m not convinced. I wasn’t really following your work all that much until SotBS (although I was definitely following your blog !), but I notice that you’ve released at least two or three titles since SotBS, but SotBS II is still not done (although I think it might be done by now). Is SotBS II simply that much longer than SotBS I, as well as all those other titles combined, or what ?

        Is seven years to finish one book excessive ? Well, maybe. Even Da Vinci took at least that long to design a single horse statue; but again, maybe modern writing is easier than sculpture (there’s no “maybe” about it when you just compare the technique; of course word processors are faster than chisels). My point was not, “there’s no upper limit on how long your work should take”, but rather, “if an author wants to maximize his profit, he has to stick to producing solely a single specific kind of books”.

        By the way, in case you get the wrong idea: I’m not trying to rush you ! I’d love to read the entire SotBS trilogy by tomorrow, of course, but I can wait 🙂

        1. You are really terrible at guessing, but you never let that hold you back. 😀

          I have many friend who write software for a living. I wouldn’t for a second assume that my knowledge of book writing means I know jack shit about their job.

          The sequel to SotBS is called House of Assassins. It hasn’t taken me that much longer to write it. I haven’t been working on it the whole time, because you might have noticed I’ve had several releases since then. I wrote other books since SotBS came out based upon which books were most in demand by my customer base. I’m working on HoA now, and by the time I’m finished with it the total elapsed time it takes will be approximately the same as my other books.

          1. I have many friend who write software for a living. I wouldn’t for a second assume that my knowledge of book writing means I know jack shit about their job.

            Why not ? Have more confidence in yourself ! 🙂 I know lots of people working in creative fields (and yes, software is a creative field, don’t let the liberal arts professors tell you any different): music, writing, even photography. Sure, our jobs require very different skillsets, but the overall pattern is the same.

            You can spend time on writing something really elegant and impressive, or you can crank out a quick-and-dirty product in 1/10th of the time. If you want to make the most money, you need to find that sweet spot between total trash (which won’t sell), and some overly baroque creation (which may sell at a higher price, but not so high that it would justify the time investment). The sweet spot is usually located pretty close to the quick-and-dirty side.

            I wrote other books since SotBS came out based upon which books were most in demand by my customer base.

            This is an excellent point, and I completely agree. If you want to reliably make money, and feed your family on a predictable release schedule, this is absolutely the best way. This is why movie studios keep pumping out sequels and remakes; why gaming studios (such as EA) keep doing the same thing, only more; why tomorrow’s cellphones will look just like today’s cellphones, but with a faster CPU, etc.

            Once in a while, someone takes a risk and does something creative and unexpected. 99% of the time, the effort fails utterly. 1% of the time (and, let’s face it, probably even less often) a lucky and/or talented person succeeds, and ends up creating entire franchises, and in fact entire markets, that did not exist before. There was no way to predict that based on market studies, because you wouldn’t know what questions to ask — that’s kind of the point.

          2. The point is that you know very little about how to write books, and anybody who takes the software engineer’s book writing advice over the professional writer’s advice is going to be boned. And my confidence is fine, thanks. Part of actually being confident–as opposed to pretending at it in order to cover your inadequacy–is that you have enough self esteem to admit when you don’t know how somebody else’s job works.

    3. “A cathedral takes more time to build than cotton candy”

      I find myself wondering how much trial and error, how many false starts and reversals of fortune, went into producing the first ever bag of cotton candy…

      1. Invented in 1897 by a dentist & first introduced to a wide audience at the 1904 World’s Fair: Fairy Floss. For trial-and-error, the name “Cotton Candy” comes from a different dentist, who improved the machine. It wasn’t until 1970 that the machines were fully automated. Fairy Floss is a much better name; we should bring it back in America.

        1. So, seven years from invention to wide introduction, and another 73 years to perfect the manufacturing process? Good thing it wasn’t something difficult, like building a cathedral!

          1. You don’t need to re-invent cotton candy from scratch every time you make it. You do have to figure out the formula once, but once you’ve got it, you just keep pushing the button and cotton candy keeps coming out of the machine.

          2. Your analogy is garbage and real life doesn’t work that way.

            Plus, it’s actually really really insulting to authors, but don’t let that hold you back.

          3. While I don’t claim to be an authority on architecture or the construction industry, I doubt that the people designing and building cathedrals have to “re-invent” them “from scratch every time”. I mean, apart from their religious and spiritual significance they are essentially just buildings, and they are designed and built by experts in constructing buildings. As a project, I’m not sure that designing and building a cathedral is any more or less intricate or dificult than, say, designing and building a corporate headquarters for a mid-size insurance company.

          4. Yeah, cathedrals are actually pretty complex. Lots of them fell down, sometimes with people inside. I think most of them were unique designs. Certainly bespoke to their place and purpose.

            The corp headquarters for an insurance company, on the other hand, generally is pretty standardized. Just an exoskeleton shell with open floors to stuff with cubicles. Conference rooms as desired. Happily, for insurance companies, office buildings pretty much all do the same thing, so they can buy/lease buildings where another business has moved out for whatever reason, and just move in without building a cathedral on site.

            I strongly recommend reading up on what is involved with building cathedrals. It’s fascinating. I’m astounded that any were ever finished. Even more astonished that they all didn’t collapse the first time a choir sang loudly inside them. If I were in one and felt any sort of ground tremor, I’d sprint for the exit.

          5. I notice that when you are talking about cathedrals, you are writing in the past tense. I am talking about cathedrals as a *present-day* construction project. They do still make new ones, you know.

          6. Yeah, just to clarify, I meant Gothic cathedrals, not modern-day ones. That said, there’s some modern architecture that is quite interesting; I don’t think it’d be fair to say that all modern buildings look like “corporate headquarters for a mid-size insurance company”. For example, I personally do like the Disney Concert Center, and not just because it used to fry passers-by until they defanged it 🙂

  39. One of the many reasons I buy your books.

    You get it.

    You do a job to get paid and we buy it to enjoy your work.

    Keep up the good work.

    As to Rothfuss, I just think he doesn’t know what to do with Kvothe and doesn’t want to screw up two excellent books.

    Too bad. Should just do what Abercrombie did and resolve the series then write new books if you want to enjoy the characters further.

    Thanks Mr. Correia and continue to take my money.

  40. Still waiting for that genius David Palmer to write some more anything in either universe. I’ve been patient, haven’t badgered him and I’m willing to wait but, to be honest, David R. Palmer is slower than my sister and I used to get away with accusing her of taking centuries to write books. Ain’t centuries and milleniums handy for sticking it to your sister for writing slow?
    “Wait wait, wasn’t your last book published in the last millenium, the last century!!!!!”

    I recommend that sort of gentle encouragement for authors who won’t, probably, kill you.

    Oh, and I like Mr. Jim Butcher. I’ll fly off the handle when I dally another decade for not reading his Furies books….the six of them, ….i haven’t read yet,….even though I’ve reread all of his other books.

    By the way, your last one, our host, was quite good.

  41. I very much like the idea of books as entertainment products (the television term I’m professionally accustomed to is “content”), my one concern is regarding heavily serialized stories where the content of the next book has implications on the ones before, or dramatically changes in quality. In television, one can fire and replace writers who suddenly decide to “rediscover themselves artistically” or whatever instead of doing a consistent job (which, being hired drones, they are legally obliged to do). And, notably, there are paid subscriptions for whole shows based on but a few episodes. I wanna know what I’m paying for, and I don’t wanna get the next House or Dexter where the ending sucks and the entire last season is an embarrassment for everyone involved.

    This is naturally not the case for freelance writers, where every book stand on its own, and investing in the next one is done at own risk. I’m just not sure how things are when working for larger publishers. In theory, if fans pre-order a couple of not-yet-written books, and the publisher gives the writer an advance, expecting a finished product by the end of the year, one could say that yeah, people are entitled to what they’ve paid for. I also wonder if the the publisher then can, on behalf of fan demands (taken from a poll, possibly), say “this chapter sucks, rewrite it” or something. Pre-ordered games can be patched or DLC-ed in a number of ways, but it takes some George Lucas-level manipulation to edit an already published story.

  42. Personally, I think Rothfuss would be able to write faster if he trimmed his beard. Tending that thing’s GOT to be a time sink 🙂

  43. I think that everything in this post is accurate but the some of the analogies to other occupations are a bit misleading. Yes, my purchase of Rothfuss’ first two books do not “entitle” me to a third or to demand that he spend his time in any particular way, but it is not the same as other products one might produce, or even other books one might produce. These books are not standalone at all. They are clearly one piece of one larger complete narrative. Imagine if instead of a novel this were some other form of art. Let’s say it was one of those Thomas Kinkaid paintings that are sold as puzzles. Except in this case you old get a third of the pieces and have to wait for the remaining pieces to be created to complete the puzzle. While it’s true that you only purchased one third of the pieces and will have to participate in another couple free exchange with the puzzle maker for the rest, there is an implied promise that you didn’t purchase a pieces to a puzzle that can never be completed. The consumer has placed trust in the puzzle maker to make good on the rest of the puzzle. While under no contractual obligation to do so, I think it is clear that it would be a violation of that trust for the puzzle maker to walk away from printing the remaining pieces because they’ve moved on to other things and are no longer interested in that puzzle anymore. None of this is to say that fans should be trying to exert ownership over any author or publisher but It is also not so clear cut, that authors and publishers don’t owe the fans anything. Fans have bought books that are marketed as “part of a trilogy”. They have placed trust in the author and publisher complete that trilogy. It may be within their “rights” not to do so, but it would still be a violation of that trust.

    1. It’s a bit of a conundrum indeed, though not one that can’t be solved. As I mentioned, the actual legal analogy would be with pre-order deals, where at least some objective obligations could be defined. Nobody can force a writer to create a “good” book, as this is a matter of opinion, but a writer can be legally obliged to either write *a* book, or return whatever advance was granted by the publisher beforehand. Same goes for the publisher with regard to subscribed readers. As far as content goes, my own primary experience is with public television standards and practices – and those can be quite a bother depending on your home country. Still, I don’t think a gratuitous sex scene in the next Nancy Drew book would be entirely appropriate.

      Not that there can’t be an entirely voluntary work ethic manifesto that writers can advertize themselves as adhering to. At least one book per year, no random killing-off of major characters, no turning the story into a social justice sermon… simple stuff like that. Consequently, it might be more profitable when fans at least know what particular types of disappointment they won’t be subjected to, so they’re more eager to get into a particular series. For instance, I’m an increasingly dedicated cozy mystery and harlequin romance customer – the last thing I want to see is the killer getting away (barring considerable moral justification), or the couple not getting together at the end.

    2. I really like your puzzle analogy. I’ve been trying to figure out my thoughts on this topic and that helps put it in perspective. I agree with you completely that, even though it’s not exactly an obligation, there is an element of trust there. If you choose to create your novels in such a way that they are not complete in and of themselves, you violate that trust if you don’t complete the story. I think fans are well within their rights to be upset by that.

      Unfortunately, it’s authors like GRRM and Rothfuss who have made me adopt my policy of not reading a series until it’s done (with a few exceptions for authors that are known to produce reliably, like Larry). Which a shame because tends to steer me away from new authors and new series.

  44. I’ve been waiting for a particular book to get finished and published, but I do make a point of not pestering (or at least trying not to!) the author about it — it will happen in good time. Or if it doesn’t happen, perhaps there is sound reason. But I know I am not owed anything there.

    Now, for some other things (not textual works) I have commissioned and there I have said that I would prefer to have things right than fast. Delays, even in that case, are not a big issue (an annoyance, yes, but minor as such things go). What is an issue then is lack of communication. A delayed due to this, that, the other, at least I know and am not left wondering. And yes, I know, this case is not that. Delay is.. whatever it is.

    Meanwhile, my To Be Read stack (including ‘virtual’ stacks and audio…) seems to be growing, no matter how slow any given person’s production might be. Something tells me I am not apt to be in shortage any time soon – if ever.

  45. I think Rothfuss is a twat, I think he has complete disdain for his fans and I think he is a liar. All 3 books were supposedly written, at least a first draft, prior to the publication of the first. That being said, I don’t need to badger him about it. I am just not buying his books. This would be sweeter if I got the chance to not buy a book more then every 7 or 8 years, The better part is my wife owns a book store and we don’t even carry his books, instead we refer people who come in asking for Rothfuss to different, better, and more prolific authors.

  46. For me, long delays leave me less invested in the story, and thus, less likely to bother with the next book. I’ve read the first two books of Pat Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles–which I first picked up on a friend’s recommendation shortly after the second book came out–and their good, but not so incredible that I still care what happens in book three. Same thing for me with Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastard series. I liked it for awhile, but when it didn’t move along, my attention went elsewhere. In both cases, it’s not personal, it’s just been too long for me to stay invested in those stories.

    I guess the thing I always wonder is this: with so many good books available to read, why waste time ranting about something you can’t control? If the author gave you something you liked, great! Tell them and then move on.

  47. This was a rather welcome discussion for me personally as I asked another author something similar to this before. I asked them about an author’s obligations to his/her fans as well as the fans obligations to the author specifically because of series books as opposed to standalone novels. So while it didn’t entirely answer my question I appreciate the discussion nonetheless.

  48. I’m reminded of a comment from the inestimable Sir Pterry, left on alt.fan.pratchett quite some time in the past.

    “Well, they asked me in February, and I said it was coming out in November. When they asked in March, I said it was coming out in November. In April I pointed out that November, in fact, was going to be when the next book came out. In May, when asked on many occasions about when Maskerade was coming out, I said November. In November, it will be published. The same November all the way through, too.”

  49. Mr. Correia, (I am no where near a frequent enough commenter to address you by anything other than Mr. or sir), I have frequently wanted to send you a note asking you mutually opposed questions – “how dare you spend any time doing anything other than write the next installment in you literary crack series?” and “how dare you spend time writing paying gigs rather than another hilarious free blog post?”
    That I have not sent either is a combination of is because I recognize the rule and beauty of the free market and fear of being on the receiving end of one of your epic take downs. Keep up the good work (and entertianing writing).

  50. May I be so lucky to have my own fans screaming for the next book some day. As problems go, that is a good problem. But still a problem.

    I have made the “write faster Larry!” joke many times. This is less because I am frustrated with the speed of Larry than the paucity of anything else to read. In my case it -is- merely a joke, because I’m in the middle of trying to do what Larry is bossing the hell out of. I know what its like to be writing a book. Its pretty fricking hard.

    Larry will write exactly as fast as he writes. My money will be sitting here waiting when he is done. My jokes will probably remain stupid and lame. ~:D

    1. I think, especially for most of the regulars here, the spirit with which we generally say “write faster!” is in the vein of “We are super excited and can’t wait to buy your book, but we *will* wait and are just super excited to know that there is an awesome book to read for us to get soon.” Similar to “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!!” Hopefully, it comes across and is understood as that – an expression of excitement and cheerful affection.

        1. It’d be hard to get something that’s already in the process of being digested, hon.

          EDITED TO ADD: …I didn’t think that comment through. I’m sorry. Also: I hate my brain.

  51. Larry, thanks for posting this, and thanks for providing very entertaining stories. I hope to be able to give you more of my money in the future, to help with the fortification of Yard Moose Mountain.

  52. China Mike has hot-linked this post, partially quoting so as to provoke the maximal negative response from the Perpetually Triggered Snowflakes. Expect a veritable tsunami of linkbot traffic.
    Hey, Mikey, I thought you were asked (nicely) not to link here anymore? What gives?

  53. I agree with you, though I do have mixed feelings – I remember how it felt, back in the day, when George Lucas left us with Han Solo encased in carbonite and we had to wait for years. But yeah, no excuse for beating the writer up.

    However, do I still have the right to complain loudly about dreadful female Thor in the Marvel comics?

  54. Of course I want you to WRIT MOAR!1!!1!1! but I’ve been shouting that at Stephen R. Donaldson for 40 years with minimal results. (Or maybe I’ve been yelling at passing clouds. Whatever. Same outcome)

    Today’s authors seem much more willing to share their worlds with each other and the readers are the true winners. It relieves each author from a bit of pressure (real or perceived) to WRITE MOAR and brings new ideas to worlds we are familiar with and exposes fans to authors we might have missed otherwise which forces us to go buy more back catalog books which means authors GET PAID. (An offhand comment from a friend several years ago led me to David Weber’s Honor Harrington. 150+ books later here I am.) Everybody wins.
    Imagine if this had started in the 70s. We could have had Terry Brooks writing in Pern with Anne McCaffrey taking over for a bit in Shannara. Elizabeth Moon and David Eddings playing in each other’s worlds, Piers Anthony playing everywhere and everybody playing in Xanth.

    Most of us remember the days when, out of half a dozen or so authors we followed, we might get a couple of books a year. We may not be in the Golden Age of Sci-Fi anymore, but we may well be in the Golden Age of Authors.

  55. Larry, if it took you 7 years to put out a book, it would be 2 feet high, at least 1 foot thick, in 10 point font, single spaced. Granted I want that book too, but I’m very happy with every book you send out to us. And someone please tell me that your audible readers are getting well paid! Oliver Wyman and Bronson Pinchot are unreal good. I do audio books all the time, they stand out as some of the best.

    Along with all the other authors I follow. One of the great thing about Amazon’s suggestions is that you sometimes find some great stuff. Or wandering through your blog or other forums like Sarah Hoyt introduced me to Chris Nuttall for example. I like Chris’s books a lot but I don’t find them as much fun as yours. Difference in style is all. Still dang fine stuff.

    In relation to GRRM, gave up on that series at book 2. The TV show is much better than the books in my opinion anyway. For me, slow didn’t begin to cover it for me. My dad loves’m… but he still likes Stephen King so no accounting for taste. I’ve given him some MHI and Ringo, but didn’t stick for him. Poor bugger.

    Regarding Jordan, I got to meet him once in college on a book tour, which was dang cool and still have the signed copy. I remember asking what inspired the Trollocs to be so bad ass/scary. His reply was something like “I wanted the good guys to be so tough that the Trollocs had reason to be that scary in order to fight them.” I don’t think he liked the Tolkien Orcs that died in droves.

    Last thing about Jordan, at least Jordans series is ended. Yeah he had Brandon help and probably because he would have trailed it out another 6 books. I think Brandon had a spreadsheet with every name on it, Column for good ending, bad ending or “meh” ending. Each one was filled out and ultimately, the adventures of Bella the horse came to a glad conclusion. The stories that horse could tell.

    Really last thing, thank you again for this post, it helps with a lot of things for people with the “Shouldn’t you be writing!” meme along with “Shut up and take my money” etc. Gladly want to give you more for more words. I still love every single one of your updates on YardMoose Mountain updates, with World of Tanks mixed in. Hope to see more soon and I firmly believe you do need a tank. It would be like painting mini’s but instead your cracking track to work on a Luchs or a Chieftain or something else awesome. Besides, you have a range already set up… make a little more for distance shooting… (joking aside, I cannot imagine the permits needed nor the time sink involved).

    1. John Scalzi claims his daily word count is down because he’s so distracted and demoralized by the Trump Administration.


      Even had the (shrunken) balls to equate his situation with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s whilst in the Gulag.


      That is deserving of the most withering ridicule.

      1. John Scalzi claims his daily word count is down because he’s so distracted and demoralized by the Trump Administration.

        Jaysus, what an a-hole.

        1. He sleeps on a bed of money in a house made of gold bars. I’m sure having a politician in office he doesn’t like is simply devastating.

          1. I laughed when he said that actually. It was such a convenient excuse to perhaps delay writing yet another four or so years that would be accepted by his fans.

      2. John Scalzi is still writing though at least and he does produce fairly regular content. Lmao about comparing yourself to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn though.

        1. I’m fresh out of pity for any author who can’t produce because he doesn’t like the President. Guess how many books I wrote while a guy who I really hated was president? MOST OF THEM. I despised Obama, and everybody who has read my political stuff knows I’m no fan of Trump. Big whoop. Do your friggin’ job. Any other career would fire us for that kind of angsty bullshit.

      3. If God would grant me any one wish, it would be to put GRRM, Scalzi, and China Mike in the bodies of North Korean peasants for a year. These SOBs desperately need the experience of living under an ACTUAL dictatorship.

      4. During the Obama years it took all my will power just to get out of bed in the morning and make it through the day without slitting my wrists. Yet somehow I managed to start a very successful business, write plays, learned to fly, and pursue professional certifications in civil and electrical engineering.

        Kills me when I think of what I could have accomplished if we’d had a sane presidential administration.

      5. “Even had the (shrunken) balls to equate his situation with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s whilst in the Gulag.”

        Of course. The Glavnoye Upravleniye Lagerej facilities were well-known for their nice lawns, white-bread suburbs, and million dollar multi-book contracts handed out to nebbish middle-aged white guys. For diversity!

    1. The spork is an abomination, suitable only for gouging one’s own eyes out in despair. I used to keep plastic utensil sets in my car in preparation for spur of the moment trips to Kentucky Fried Chicken.

  56. GRRM is easy to explain. Writing is work. Writing is a Job. Thanks in no small part to HBO, GRRM has a pile of cash that would make Smaug blush. So he gives lip service to writing, and probably feels he “ought” to finish it, but he really doesn’t want to work on it because working is work. Winter has been coming for 21 years now.

    Gerrold is also easy to explain, he’s a douchbag jackass who spends his time winging and virtue signalling about how oppressed he is. Fuck him. Even if another novel in the War with the Chthorr magically got published it’s been 24 years since the last one. Winds of Winter happening is a better bet than A Nest for Nightmares. Even if it did, I wouldn’t buy it, because F you Gerrold.

    On the other end of the spectrum you have really cool dudes like Timothy Zahn. He shows up early at conventions and helps set up tables, even when he’s the freaking GOH. He spent almost all of our last local con sitting at a small table in a lounge area just hanging out and visiting with the fans, and yet he still manages to normally write 2 to 3 books a year.

    And none of them owe me a damn thing other than a good story for my “beer money”. (see RAH). Ok, David Weber owes me whatever I paid when I bought “Out of the Dark”, dear lord that was a steaming pile.

    1. My personal belief is that GRRM is just as sick and tired of the endless, nihilistic grimdark as the rest of us, and just can’t bear to spend any more time in Westeros either.

    2. You’re so right on all of that. I actually got to met Weber on that Book tour. Signed copy and all, and of course We Few and a few others I brought or bought there. Anyway, I said to him as well taht I thought it was his darkest of all books. He looked a bit um…. Flabbergasted at that, but then kind of agreed/nodded.

      It was fun to have him do a talk for the event as well. Roughly 30-40 people there in Highlands Ranch CO, Barnes and Noble. So he’s not a real author either. /facepalm.

    3. I’m convinced Out of the Dark was a massive shaggy dog joke and it was amazing and I don’t regret reading that masterpiece for a single moment.

  57. I’ve been guilty of jonesing for a new book in a series (looking at you, Mr. Weber), but I usually find something to occupy my attention (even if it’s only a month or two of “Oooh, shiny!” from some other series.)

    Glad you brought up Gerrold and Chtorr #5. He had some stuff to write? Okay. Did a Hugo novella and got a movie deal? Sure. Did a completely different YA trilogy? Uh…I can live with it. (Actually, the Leaping to the Stars series is pretty enjoyable.)

    “I for totally realsies, no foolin’, have for sure got it just about done after a quarter century.”

    Sideways. With a red-hot poker.

    I have a limited amount of time for anything. Right now, I think I’d give priority to the book by an author I’d never heard of that I glommed off the shelf at Dollar Tree over Method for Madness.

    He doesn’t owe me a book, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a gold-plated lower pucker for a generation plus of “It’ll be out soon. I mean it, real soon now.”

  58. I have been reading a long time, have many favorite authors and I am always pleased when they come out with new books. I realize that I don’t own them in any way, I am just grateful that they continue to write and I mourn when some author that I never really knew passed away because a talent is lost.

    And being able to listen in and interact with some of those favorite authors on social media? That is freaking gravy on my fries. Again, not that they owe me, but that they are graciously allowing me to listen to their thoughts. More entertainment!

    Thank you Larry and all those other authors for putting up with all of us whinny readers when some of you could retire and relax.

  59. So if there were an “Unwritten Contract” between the Author and the consumer, wouldn’t that imply that in addition to an author “owing” the fans new books, fans “owe” the author to purchase all those books. I think some people owe you money Larry…

  60. Great posting Larry and very insightful. I think Patrick Rothfuss first two books were amazing so I can understand the frustration with his fans for the long wait. In my opinion Pat is one of those writers that shouldn’t write a trilogy. He puts a lot of pressure on himself (based on his blogs) and seems to focus on the one negative comment out of a hundred (again based on his blogs). He should be a Thomas Harris who writes one book every ten years. The one difference is Harris doesn’t write a trilogy leaving you hanging for a decade. Pat also hurts himself, again my opinion, by constantly blogging and posting about everything he’s doing other than writing. He’s seriously as bad as GRRM when it comes to this. I think last year during his charity drive he had an auction that you could pay to either have him write or play a video game. People paid to have him play the video game…go figure. On that note though he does a huge charity drive for world hunger every year. People donate him books, games, whatever. And those that donate money to the charity get put in a drawing, based on the amount they donated, to win one of the prizes. If you look at the shear volume and money he raises during that thing, it has to take months out of his time. It seems to grow every year. I think my head would explode if I had to do what he does for that charity. In the meantime everyone I know that is frustrated with no 3rd book from Rothfuss, I tell them to pick up Son Of The Black Sword. You’ll probably have that series finished before he comes out with the 3rd book…

    1. My wild speculation re: Rothfuss actually takes me to the opposite conclusion – he might have an easier time getting book #3 done if he wasn’t so tied to the idea of a trilogy, i.e. if he let his series grow to 4~7 books. I think he’s spending way too much time trying to force everything into this one last book #3.

      1. Maybe that’s a solution. Really hard to tell because he doesn’t share info on his progress. Reading the first two books it felt to me like he could tie it up in a 3rd book as long as it’s as long as his first two. I would hate to see the story get away from him like it did with GRRM. I’m sorry GRRM fans but books 4 and 5 had a lot of nothing going on. They did nothing to drive the story forward and he ended up adding extra pointless sub plots and characters that weren’t needed. Almost as if he was afraid to go back to the heart of the story. I would hate to see Rothfuss fall into that trap.

  61. I have asked author’s “When the next one due?” But my intention was to let them know their work was appreciated, not berate them for not being my personal writing slave. And I really hope that’s how it came across.

    It is disappointing when the next instalment in a series fails to arrive. Though I can think of one or two series which would have been better had they stopped one or two (or even more) books before they did. When it slipped from, “Wow! The author’s telling us more of a great story!” To, “The author’s just milking a cash cow . . . ”

    Yes, capitalism’s great – though I prefer mine without words like “Vulture” or “Robber-baron” stuck in front it – and writing’s a job and a book is product, But . . . story-telling is an art.

    And books are art.

    No, I don’t mean they should be all artsy-farty, love-dovey, precious-pretentious twaddle, but they, like great art, have power. Power to move and inspire, to explain how things work, to make people think about how things work, change lives and even, in the example Larry gives above, the power to save lives.

    Mind you sometimes the product is just a great way to pass the time wondering if you could have done better than Agent Franks . . .

    And as an aside, I do think Jim Butcher is a good dude, and I am looking forward to the next in his series, be it The Dresden Files or The Cinder Spires (Talking cast!!!) But I hope these aforementioned upheavals and changes get sorted. And, at the end of the day, the guy has a life to lead.

    Ultimately Larry has summed it up neatly with his “For Everybody.”

    1. If I ask the question, I usually follow it up with “So I can make sure I set aside money for it so I can buy it as soon as it comes out.”
      (Or, at least, try to. There’s sooooo many nice books to read…)

  62. Agreed you authors don’t owe us anything. At all. The thing I don’t like is when you tease to great ideas and there’s no long term hint if those books will ever come. I don’t mind the really long wait for great material, which is why I appreciate when you post about upcoming stuff. Thanks!
    BTW, an example is now that John Ringo did a pre-series, is it unreasonable to ask if someone would write what Franks and Myers did when MHI was shut down? How the SRT team and the Feds had to pick up the slack would IHMO make interesting reading, and what other people did to keep the monster population under control.
    I’d love to hear about the early Mrs. Shacklefords, Uncle Leroy, all that stuff. But this is a wish list, not a demand. Because the last thing I want to do is be one of those assholes.

    1. You can wish all day, but writers have only got so many working hours to make stuff. And if we’ve done our job and created fully fleshed out worlds, then there will be a ton of different side stories that fans will want to read.

      Hell, I’ve opened MHI up a bunch of other writers for collaborative novels and short fiction, and we still haven’t hit a tiny percentage of the topics you guys have requested. And if I’m doing my job right, I’ll never catch up. Which is a good thing.

  63. OK, OK… no “write faster” comments. And DEFINITELY no “unwritten contract” or “moral obligation” anywhere in sight.

    But I reserve the right to blame YOU when I’m totally wiped at work because I just had to finish your latest book, so I didn’t get any sleep at all. Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with *my* lack of self control, could it? *Obviously* the author’s fault.

    [and if anyone out there actually *believes* that I truly think it’s the author’s fault, I have a few assets I’d love to sell you. Bridges (Brooklyn, etc.), seafront property in Florida (just OUTSIDE the high tide line), take your pick. Just don’t expect actual legal title…]

  64. It took me a while to get a technique or two to get around “writer’s block.” It’s a bullshit excuse pushed by bullshit writers who learned it from bullshit teachers. None of ’em know any better because it’s memetic bullshit that sounds good enough to get a pass and makes people feel OK about being lazy. It wasn’t till college, writing papers on deadline that I learned what bullshit it was. And how to breach a writer’s block like the EPA going after a coffer dam on the Colorado River watershed.

  65. Larry,
    one point you forgot you mention (and it is THE issue which pisses me off about Rothfuss, not the fact that I am waiting for part 3 to reread part 1 and begin reading part 2)…
    I bought the Name of the Wind more or less as it came out as a PB, I remember vividly where and roughly when but also… that in the postface, Patrick mentioned that he already had part 2 and part 3 ready and that the reader could expect them roughly in a yearly tempo…
    We now know he was wildly optimistic…. and that is the reason I am pissed off… Shall I yell at him for it ? Nope. Shall I call him names ? Nope. Can I understand people doing so ? Up to a point.

    On a side note, authors have been known to blow a fuse… Best example in my book: GRRM with his quite disgusting post about people who got the book early posting spoilers of A Dance With Dragons…

    That said, not wanting to bitch or anything but…. WHERE IS MONSTER HUNTER GUARDIAN GDI!!!! 🙂

    1. The rough draft for MHG is already done. And I don’t mean that like “Rothfuss Done”, I mean that Sarah wrote 120,000 words that I’m going to go through and do another pass on as soon as I turn HoA into the publisher (looking like January for that).

    2. Things happens. The time between book 2 and 3 of Gentlemen Bastards was almost 7 years, mainly due to the author getting help for his spiraling depression condition.

  66. What, you spend time doing non-writing things when the clamoring hordes are DEMANDING your next work! Heresy!

    Sigh. Guess you’re still not a “real writer”….

    Seriously, I love your long posts like this. Clear, direct, honest, and sensible. You always give good value for the money. Plus, hearing that another Tom Stranger will be ready for Christmas made my day.

    1. So is ejaculating sheep, apparently. For fun (read: “If I was rich” daydreaming) I was looking at Australian rural properties, and there was this one that had ‘a fully equipped laboratory’ as part of the established buildings.

      I asked my husband why would a rural property that seemed to be a farm / living compound designed to house multiple people (20+) need a lab. “Artificial insemination, and sheep or cow fetus implantation.” I thought that was cool, and then he said “That part is. Getting the taddies to fertilize sheep eggs though…” He watched my face for a bit. “Yeah, exactly what you’re thinking.”

      1. I forget which one, but in one of James Herriot’s books he describes his first experience w/ doing this to a bull. The first time did not go very well, and he had to ask another vet for advice on proper technique.

      1. Y’all should have some faith in me- it was added up in the Writing section of Best Of MHN less than an hour after it was posted. 😛

        1. Slightly off-topic, but while you’re mentioning the website: any idea what’s up with the up- and down-voting? I tried to upvote your comment and it said “You are not allowed to vote for this comment”. I was able to upvote one of Larry’s comments that I liked, which had 0 votes on it at the time — but when I tried to upvote one of his comments that was showing 1 upvote, I got “You have already voted on this comment”. Except I know I hadn’t: that comment was 7 hours old and the last time I checked MHN was over 24 hours ago, so I can’t possibly have voted on that particular comment.

          It looks to me like the commenting system is considering all guest accounts to be “the same account” when voting: so voting for your upvote wasn’t allowed because it looked like someone voting for himself (“Guest Account voting for a comment by Guest Account”). And when I tried to give Larry a second upvote, it probably rejected it because “Guest Account has already voted for this comment once, so Guest Account isn’t allowed to submit a second vote”.

          At least, that’s what the symptoms look like to me. Not having access to the code, that’s about all the debugging I can do on my end. 🙂

  67. “You purchased one of their products in exchange for some money.”

    But I purchased their product assuming that book 1 of 3 would get to 3 eventually. If somebody started selling a computer in three stages, and then just decided to never sell the third stage, you could still be upset about not getting the third part, and therefore feeling as though you wasted money on the first two. The company probably wouldn’t have much positive press left, and people would be demanding refunds on parts 1 and 2.

    But for books, there’s no refund, and there’s no part 3…what can be done? I agree being a douche isn’t the answer, and I don’t even know what a “moral contract” could be, but obviously something isn’t right, so what is to be done?

    1. Like I said. You created an expectation. You made an assumption.

      On the computer example, if they purchased a contract for 3, and 2 were delivered, then the company is in default. If there was no contract, then shit happens. It sucks, and the company will lose money, customers, and get bad press.

      There is no contract between you and the author, and I already explained why in great detail. I never said that was happy and fun, but it is what it is.

      There is nothing to be done, because the something, would mean that customers can impose unwritten moral obligations upon producers against their well.

  68. If you market something as a trilogy and do not produce a trilogy it’s false advertising. Marketing to a consumer is a contract. That’s the law.

    1. If that was the case, I would assume there would be plenty of successful lawsuits against authors who did not complete series. I don’t recall hearing about any, how about you?

      1. Just to clarify, I meant lawsuits from *consumers*. I’m sure publishers sue authors for breach of contract once in a while, but they have *actual contracts* with authors.

  69. When did become standard for us fans to expect that a book we like and which we thought sold should be a trilogy? Or series? This skipping series with multiple authors like Hardy Boys, or Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators. The first modern trilogy I read was Alan Dean Foster’s
    Icerigger books.
    When should a series stop? Or quit being updated for a new generation, like the 80s Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators.

  70. Most of your posts I just kinda nod. Either ‘I knew that’ or ‘that’s nice, but doesn’t affect me’. I read your blog for posts like this – posts that actually make me think about something in a different way. I’ve been that guy nagging an author to write and complaining when they don’t. Having read this, I am going to try very hard to never do that again.

    Thank you

  71. Your method of getting a point across when you feel the need to make one is my reason for living. No matter how bad life gets, I just remember you write blog posts like this and it reminds me the world isn’t so bad.

    Scratch that, apply it to ALL of your writing. And that is why I wait with more patience than I am normally capable of for each new MHI book.

  72. For a lot of people life seems to be a zero sum game. And they’re not wrong about quite a lot of it. The whole vale of tears, sack of dung and worms, entropy is a mother reality.

    But then there are those times and places where, with a bit of love and consideration, everybody wins. You’d think, those would be ones folks would nurture, like embers in the Alaskan dark while the wolves are howling.

    But nope: mostly the the refrain is FREEEEEEEEEEEDOM! REEEEEE! It burns!

    1. I’m so entitled I expect my posters to use capitalization, punctuation, and grammar, so that they don’t sound like fucking idiots.

  73. My little sister is a writer. From time to time, I give her shit about taking 6 years to write a sequel but, and I insist this is an important, but, I’m her brother and she knows I’m full of shite and she knows I’m twitting her.

    and, she’s a slow writer. Good though, you should read her books.

  74. As I read this I think of that dreadfully slow author Nino Culotta who, I hadn’t realized, was born in 1907 and then there is David Palmer who is maybe still writing a sequel but maybe was born before the Great War too.

  75. This is such a great post! “Like relative douchiness, it’s on a spectrum.” I love it! Please write when you want and do whatever else you want. Fan’s lives are great when you’re happy

  76. The issue here, Larry, is that Rothfuss has claimed since the last book that this book was already written, it just needed revising. Well, in the last 7 years, he hasnt found time to revise it, but je has found time to blog about politics and everything else constantly, attend every con under the sun, write an unnecesary cash grab spin off, and tell his fans to f**k off and die. Thats right, he had time to write a spinoff book, but somehow had no time to “revise” the third book in his trilogy. He also had time to start up a Worldbuilders book welfare campaign, bevause he needs money. Guess what? If he just finiahed the damn book, he’d be wiping his ass with hundreds from the royalties, I suspect. He is the least serious writer I have ever encountered not named David Garrold about completing a damn book. Maybe he can call Brandon Sanderson to finish it for him, after he finished writing the last few Game of Thrones books for Martin.

  77. You mentioned Martin, and you may be right, but the level of moaning about ASOIAF has moved through all the gradients of the douche spectrum. I had to stop reading the subreddit because I could not take listening to one more person’s moan of despair or desperate tea-leaf reading over when Winds of Winter is coming out. The argument templates about the Unwritten Contract are feverishly attested to, as though Unwritten Contracts were actionable, or announcing them won’t bring the next book one day sooner.

    You cannot control the things you cannot control. I sometimes wonder why people don’t understand that.

  78. I understand completely about authors not owing readers, even when an upcoming book in what’s supposed to be an ongoing series hangs fire endlessly (looking at you, GRRM and Gerrold). What bugs the daylights out of me is being lied to, to my very face.

    When I met him at ICon in Iowa some years ago, I asked Gerrold about the new Chtorr book. He told me to my face that the book was done and would soon be published. (Cue crickets chirping).

    I resent bitterly being lied to. If Gerrold had said something like “I’m stuck on that one and honestly can’t think of how to make it work,” I’d have understood—I’m a writer of sorts myself, although I mostly have published nonfiction.

    Another one who lied was Scott (Gentleman Bastard series) Lynch. At Worldcon, either in 2015 or 2016, he said that The Thorn of Emberlain was done and ready to go to the publisher. They’ve announced several release dates for it, but no book appears.

    I’d far rather be told the truth than be lied to, even if the truth isn’t just what I want to hear.

    1. Hate to accidentally defend Gerrold but it’s POSSIBLE that the book was finished and submitted to his publisher. The publisher may have elected not to buy it. Or, less likely but still possible, they may have bought it and simply never published it. Weird but true, that happens, too.

      Though if that’s what happened, there’s no real reason for him not to publish it himself now other than that some authors are very tied to the old model and would never consider self-publishing anything.

      Or he lied. (shrug)

  79. On this subject, Sullivan’s Travels is one of the greatest movies ever made. One of the wisest, most self-aware movies to ever come out of Hollywood. That is all.

  80. Relating to the disproportionate impact of one squeaky idiot: Never give control of your emotions to someone else, especially when they don’t have your best interests at heart.

    This applies to cranky reviews, entitled attitudes, demands on how you spend your time, all that nonsense.

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