From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:
So, it happened again. A big name fantasy writer made his fans angry because the next book in his series hasn’t appeared in years. And, in a passing remark, he compared the comments fans make on his overdue book to those comments people make to their unemployed adult child about getting a job or to their single grandkid about getting married.
Patrick Rothfuss made the foolhardy decision to let a reporter shadow him all day and of course Rothfuss had an unguarded moment. He said, on the record,
“[The fans] don’t realize this is so wearying,” he said with a sigh when we spoke a few weeks ago. “It’s like asking, ‘When are you going to get married? When are you going to go to law school?’ It’s like, just fuck off. Just die. I don’t need any more of that in my life.”
. . . .
And most [of us writers] spend our time alone in a room, making things up. Writers tend not to realize that their fans are people. Nor do some writers—especially newer writers who have fast success—realize that the only reason they’re going to be remembered as artists is if they have fans of their work.
I have watched writers behaving badly to their fans for years. The worst I ever saw was a big name fantasy writer (maybe there’s a trend?) reduce a fan to tears. The fan brought a well-loved book up for an autograph, and the author held up the book and mused, loudly, rudely, I can’t believe people love this thing. It’s so awful.
Insulting. Rude. Terrible. And that writer (now dead, thank heavens) isn’t the only one I’ve seen treat fans that way. If you can’t properly appreciate your fans—even the ones who lack social skills—then don’t do autographings and stay off social media.
Rothfuss did not make this comment on social media. He made it to a reporter who had been invited to trail him all day at a convention. Mistake number one. Mistake number two was treating that reporter like a friend. Reporters report. I’m sure Rothfuss did not want that comment out, but he uttered it, in public, perhaps thinking he was talking to a like-minded person.
Instead, he insulted his fans.
. . . .
Once you have fans, they will have opinions about what you do. They will also want more of what you do (if you’re doing the job right), and they will be vocal about it.
They have that right.
It’s your job to understand that.
Yes, I know it’s a burden at times. And right now, some of you are scrolling down to the comments section to write me a reminder that it’s a burden you all want.
Well and good. Figure out now how you’re going to handle it.
Because this is one of the biggest career killers there is.
Not because of the fans, but because the writers can’t make the transition from hobbyist to professional writer to famous person.
Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch
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