Home » Kristine Kathryn Rusch, The Business of Writing » The People in Your Office

The People in Your Office

9 November 2017

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

Here’s a link to Kris Rusch’s books. If you like the thoughts Kris shares, you can show your appreciation by checking out her books.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, The Business of Writing

50 Comments to “The People in Your Office”

  1. Rusch’s post tells me two things: 1. Fans have the right to b–ch and moan when a writer doesn’t fill their expectations, but writers only have the right to get those books out to their adoring audience, and keep their mouths shut. 2. Rusch is very good at holding a grudge. Maybe that’s why she’s so certain that being easily insulted and forever ticked off about it is a good thing.

    Modern fanhood is a product of technology, and as such, it shares many characteristics with the masses who use the internet and social network sites, particularly a sense of entitlement. That entitlement implicitly grants them the roles of judge, jury, and executioner. “Make me wait too long for that book you promised me, and fail to appreciate my existence, and I will destroy you.”

    • “You want my money, you dance to my tune.

      Otherwise, there are plenty of monkeys in this circus.”

    • A published author is involved in a number of related enterprises, including public relations & sales. Very few people will continue buying product from a company/individual that is known for abusing customers.

      KKR’s point, from my perspective, is that authors need to walk a fine line when dealing with customers. Trashing a customer’s beloved book (which you personally loathed) isn’t good, but maybe pointing out “Have you tried *recent book*? I think that I’ve really improved as an author” might work.

    • My takeaway was that 1) writers need to not let fans get into their heads, and 2) do what they must to prevent that from happening.

      Otherwise they risk paralysis, letting others alter their vision, or going off rails and alienating fans.

    • setting aside the baffling assertions re another author’s holding or not holding a grudge, *being certain* that the author of this piece is being certain that “being easily insulted and forever ticked off about it is a good thing…” That’s a lot of assumptions about KKR

      I understood the article differently. It seemed like a sea warning. And it will be a true caveat emptor likely when and if one is a wellknown or bestselling author. Although I’ve known a few newbies who sh in their own messkits by denigrating other writers to persons who write for blogs, mags, nps, review platforms.

      There are the bad boys and bad girls in novel writing, whose work carries highly professional covers and fonts, polished writing in their own genres, who have sometimes wished over the tenth beer or whiskey they’d never said whatever, after seeing it in print.

      Felix is correct, it’s my experience also, that if you give an interview for print or digital, if you allow a journo into your house as we did for People mag, you will likely not be quoted accurately, your words very often taken out of context, dividied into two sentences and put in different parts of the article as though they were spoken minutes apart, when they were not.

      We did long ago, Nat’l Geo also. Never again. It’s not the mags. And its not all the pros who arrive. But it is more than some of the journos/ photogs they send who think entry to the house means to ride roughshod over the children, elders and others who live in the house. Not even including mis quotes, cobbled quotes. We learned.

      I like what Chong Go said too, really not to let anyone get into one’s head, to keep a clean slate in at least one part of one’s mind. Known many an author who after first successes, stalled. My experience these last 72 years in life, is that each artist, each writer is different from the next; having not only the callings, but also the nodes of timerity sometimes, built in from other factors in life.

      Knowing KKK, Id say her thoughts here are very much part and parcel of her fabulous list of books that have brought her international readership. There is no reason I know of, for those who have been successful in a massive way, as she has, to not warn other authors on the way up, to not insult the customer, whether they have a roadside fruit stand, a modest mom and pop store, or quite a long reach with customers.

      In this day and age esp with many spewing their screed across the internet daily, I understood that KKK was talking about gold standard business practices, and also about civility.

      Most of us have confidantes we can say anything to in blessing or in full blue French. Being a pub’d author, bestseller or no, doesnt force any author who is rational into having to somehow “keep their mouths shut.” However, there is a time and a place for many things. Just my .02 but knowing the diff is lifesparing and life giving.

      • …really not to let anyone get into one’s head, to keep a clean slate in at least one part of one’s mind.

        Very much yes! As a writer and an artist, if I start dwelling upon other people’s opinions and approval, I’ll freeze up and be unable to create.

        …KKR was talking about gold standard business practices, and also about civility.

        Agreed. I’ve learned so much from Rusch. I’m extremely grateful that she shares so much of what she’s learned from her decades in writing and publishing.

  2. To be fair, I think Rothfuss’ comment was well within the range of things that fans should have thought were funny, not insulting. I expect people to grumble about their work, and that’s a pretty bland grumble for my generation.

    Likewise, I’m pretty sure the reporter could have been more responsible about reporting this.

    That said, I agree that trusting a reporter to give you a fair shake is stupid. Always record yourself. That way, if your remarks are taken out of context (such as saying that your publisher should FOAD, not your fans), you can then have Internet-uploadable proof of your contentions.

    • My experience is that reporters will always misquote you or quote you out of context or both.

      Especially on national TV. 🙂

    • I’m surprised more people aren’t taking that advice in 2017. Everyone these days has a phone that allows that.

      What Rothfuss said seems like one of those things that hinge on tone. It could have been funny or bitter, and the delivery could make a difference. If he meant it to be funny then that’s unfortunate. Sounds like some people should watch The Incredibles as a parable for what happens when you mistreat a fan 😉

      • Everyone has a phone that allows that? I mean, sure, if I called up my landline and let it go to the answering machine…

        • What you described would fit the purpose, so you have a phone that takes recordings. It doesn’t have to be video; voice should be sufficient. I’ve seen a few people complain about how hard it is to find a cellphone that doesn’t take pictures or video; those features are no longer an expensive upgrade. Even my ancient flip phone had that capability.

  3. Man, somebody in a FB group of mine was really angry about this Rothfuss quote. And it made me really sad.

    Imagine Rothfuss wasn’t talking about fans at all. Imagine he’d said:

    You know what’s awful? The people who keep asking you stuff like, ‘When are you going to get married? When are you going to go to law school?’ It’s like, just f*** off. Just die. I don’t need any more of that in my life.”

    Nobody would have batted an eyelash. Everybody hates to be in that position themselves, even if they sometimes encouragingly ask friends, “Nu, when are you going to get married already?” People understand. It’s frustrating.

    All Rothfuss said here is that “when will the book be done” is just the same thing. And instead of going, “Ohhhh, I get it, it is the same thing,” some people take from it “OMG, Patrick Rothfuss wants fans to die.”

    That’s not what he meant. That’s not what he said. Context matters, and the context here is actually really really good.

    • It isn’t the same thing. One is people asking you about your life, the other is your customers asking when the product will be done.

      If you walked into McDonald’s and ordered a Cheeseburger then had to wait ten minutes you would be pretty pissed if you asked what the hold up was and they said, “F*ck off and die!”

      Fans are not family or friends, they are your customers. You need to treat them as such. Which means you treat them with respect. If you can’t do this, don’t go out in public (Just like KKR said).

      • I think its fair to say that Rothfuss doesn’t write for his audience, so he doesn’t see it the same way. And the success of his first novel means he doesn’t have to view his readers as customers. He’s set for life if he never makes another dime. But, oh yeah, he also has a second book that still consistently sells, and a multimillion dollar hollywood deal that has already doubled his net worth, and will likely make him millions more.

        His perspective on the matter may be completely skewed from what most people in this industry perceive, but it doesn’t make it less valid for him. He can say “f**k off and die, because he doesn’t have to care if the thousands of people he offends never buy his books again.

  4. Worth noting that the rest of Rusch’s article is really interesting 🙂 I don’t think this is an essay about “Rothfuss did wrong”; it’s an essay about “having fans is hard and it’s something a professional has to actually manage.”

    • ^^ That’s what I took away from it.^^
      Two things: I (still) have no clue who Rothfuss is, so his quote didn’t feel unreasonable to me. (Didn’t GRRM say much the same thing?)
      I wish I had fans to complain about the next book.
      YMMV, of course.

      • Agreed. How do you please customers (fans), answer their concerns [maybe, maybe not], and how do you avoid driving them away?

        I know there are three or four fiction and non-fiction writers whose work I will not read because of their attitude toward their customers/fans or to their fellow writers. Is that holding a grudge, or avoiding a business that has made it clear that the owner does not want the custom of people like me? *shrug*

        The article is a good reminder about business priorities and pitfalls.

  5. I find this all very fascinating because it goes back to the question of whether an author owes The reader anything.
    I think it goes back to the distinction of the author as Hobbyist versus the author as business person, The primary goal of most businesses is to make a profit through customer satisfaction.
    My own thoughts on this are complex, if I see a book that is labelled as book one of the series I expect that there will at some point be a book to, and if I buy the book on this understanding especially if the story is incomplete, I would feel disappointed Though I wouldn’t say anything to the author about it.

    • Often that was not the author’s fault at all. Read some of the contract horrors that Kristine has put up – a publisher can refuse a manuscript and prevent the author from peddling it elsewhere, if it is part of a series or “world.”

      Yet another good reason to be indie…

  6. I find this all very fascinating because it goes back to the question of whether an author owes The reader anything.
    I think it goes back to the distinction of the author as Hobbyist versus the author as business person, The primary goal of most businesses is to make a profit through customer satisfaction.
    My own thoughts on this are complex, if I see a book that is labelled as book one of the series I expect that there will at some point be a book to, and if I buy the book on this understanding especially if the story is incomplete, I would feel disappointed Though I wouldn’t say anything to the author about it.

  7. Authors can be incredible jerks when let loose in public. At a recent SF con I attended, a writer whose specialty is Polish time travel into the 17th century, crashed a self-publishing panel (he was apparently not invited, since his name didn’t appear on the panelists’ list) and proceeded to dominate the panel by saying that all self published novels except for his, which are different, are stinky cess and should never see daylight. Mind you, this writer has had zero experience with self pub except as an already traditionally published midlist writer! He entered the fray with visibility and all that goes with it. IMO he has no clue on how it works if you’re trying to break in or break out of a box they caged you into in the Parnassus world. He had no business on that panel, since his sole intent was obviously to hijack it.

    Counter to my own opinion, I will say that the remaining panelists were either about to self publish their first book, or had just done. There was nobody on the panel with more experience than that.

    The following year, I volunteered to serve on the panel, having at that time four moderately successful self pub titles. I was turned down, possibly due to romance-novelist cooties. I’ll keep trying.

  8. I think the fan-author relationship needs to be beneficial to both sides. If someone’s going to contact an author they like, they need to come up with something more than, “Write more” or “Write faster” because it come across as very demanding. Someone puts a huge amount of time and effort (and possibly money) into producing a work, and a reader consumes it, offers no encouragement or praise, and simply demands more. Fans are not children and authors are not their parents. Fans need to give at least a modicum of gratitude/praise to an author if they’re going to personally contact them. In other words, fans need to remember that authors are people.

    And of course, authors need to remember fans are people and treat them with respect as well. I tend to stop reading (or avoid reading if I haven’t started yet) authors who I hear about treating their fans poorly or complaining about them.

    If fans and authors can’t be respectful to each other and recognize that any interaction between them needs to be mutually beneficial/enjoyable, then they need to not be in contact with their fans/favorite authors.

    As for the whole idea of letting other people into your office, that’s part of the reason I plan to complete a series before publishing the first book, at least if I have a solid plan for it already. Maybe if/when I have a series where it’s looser and I’m open to suggestion, I’ll publish as I go.

    • Absolutely. There’s a big difference between

      “I enjoy your work and look forward to your next book.”

      and

      “When are you going to finish this book, anyway?”

      It’s just a manifestation of poor manners. I would say a decline of manners except that poor manners have been with us forever.

    • My attitude is that someone who (legitimately) has my writing has already given me praise enough. To show their appreciation, they’ve sent me quite nice engravings of dead Presidents (or live Queens, or famous Europeans that I’ve never heard of, but apparently can swap with people that have heard of them for more engravings of dead Presidents).

      When and if they start pestering me, because they want to send me more such engravings – well, that is high praise.

  9. I think it’s a fine line to walk, and there have to be some give and take on both sides.

    If an author says “I’m going to have book three out by “X” date”, and it doesn;t come out by “X” date, it’s one thing when the author says “Look, I am having a hard time writing this out, and rather than do you and the story a s*** job and publish something I am my readers will hate I want to do it right so were going to miss the date” I would think most readers would be OK with that.
    If an author says “I’ve missed my deadline because I tweeted 2400 words today about how horrible Trump is and how life sucks at the moment and I can’t deal and therefore didn’t have time to hit my 1000 word a day goal” then yeah, some readers are going to be upset.

    If a books been announced more than a few times and pushed back, then I’m not sure what foot an author has to stand on when some of his audience walks away with hands raised in disgust saying they’ll never buy another book. Yes George, you are not my b****, but then I am not your thrall…

    I also think readers and writers expectations are going to change over time, and how both sides deal with the equation is going to be critical. Laurel Hamilton found this out the hard way, and dealt with it about as poorly as you can, and shes not the only one to have done so. David Weber is dangerously close to the same fork in the road IMO.

    The relationship has to be beneficial to both sides. When one starts expecting more of the other, they shouldn’t be surprised when the relationship sours.

    Dav

  10. Personally, I don’t get angry with authors who won’t finish their damn stories. But I am going to drop them from my radar and they have lost me as a customer. Chances are I will also trash talk them and their books as well if the subject of book related disappointments comes up where I hang out.

    From that perspective, I think these authors who prioritize literally everything but writing their stories and expect fans to just sit back and deal with it are idiots. A satisfied fanbase will do so much for an author. Like going forth and proclaiming the authors good works across the internet. But a dissatisfied fanbase will do the exact opposite and they can destroy you.

    G.R.R.M. can rest on his laurels thanks to the massive popularity of the GOT show. He can get away with it. He could never write another book and still be set for life. But he’s an outlier. (And I wonder what the state of his fanbase would be without the show.) Most authors can’t get away with that.

    Rothfuss had the massive good fortune of a breakout debut novel. It was a good book. It was promising. But his second didn’t deliver on any of the promises of the first. It was far inferior in quality and barely progressed the story at all. (It was basically a huge side quest.) He really should not take his position with his fans for granted. He’s nowhere near as big as G.R.R.M. and the state of this series is probably going to decide his entire future career. He’s already lost me as a reader. At this point, I’m not even going to notice when the next book comes out and I was a big fan of the first one.

    And I’m sorry, but it just shouldn’t take this bloody long to finish a story you’ve already started. You made promises to the reader. Rothfuss’ first novel makes explicit promises about the story to the reader, in fact. And you’re failing to deliver on those promises. Why should the reader have any respect for you if you can’t keep your word?

    • Well, I bought Martin’s first three books in hardcover, and stopped at three because I found the books too grim and depressing. And long.

      They went out of print, but Martin was still a successful author and TV writer/producer. He wrote 14 episodes of the 90s series “Beauty and the Beast” starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman, and had several fantasy and SF series out. Wild Cards was a fan favorite and apparently is still going on. Even without HBO, Martin would be a successful writer.

      The thing is, he’s a slow writer. But that world is so convoluted… no way I’d ever want to write something like that. More power to him. I supposed I’d be more annoyed if I was waiting for him to finish the series, but I have no skin in that game.

      I am, however, worried that I may die before Brandon Sanderson finishes his series because it’s every bit as convoluted. Although he isn’t that slow a writer. Phew. 🙂

      • Martin was already the biggest name in Fantasy before Game of Thrones, and he was already stuck, and missing publication deadlines then as well. The first three books came out relatively on time, then there was five years between books 3 and 4, and six years between 4 and 5 (which launched around the time the show started.)

        If anything the show gave him a burst of motivation, but that fizzled out. I’m not sure he’s ever going to finish the series now.

        And Brandon’s Cosmere outline is ridiculously long. Its over 35 books, and growing all the time. But, again, he’s publishing over 400,000 words every years, consistently, unlike Martin.

        • Until your post I never realized the extent of Sandersons universe. Just a few days unit Stormlight book 3 and I now learn that there is so much more to come.

          • Yeah, all of his adult fantasy novels published by Tor (along with a few self-published short stories and novellas) are set in the same dwarf galaxy and are interconnected, although subtly so far. Eventually people and characters from all these worlds will combine in some sort of epic cosmic smackdown.

    • it just shouldn’t take this bloody long to finish a story you’ve already started.

      What if it took you ten years to write the first book?

  11. I just saw that they’re doing a special 10th anniversary edition of Rothfuss’s first book. If you’re doing a 10th anniversary edition before the last book in your TRILOGY isn’t even on pre-order yet, yeah, your fans have a right to be annoyed.

    Glancing at his FB page, this guy seems to do everything *but* write. And it sounds like he’d said at one point in 2007 that all the books were done and only needed editing. Which sounds to me like he does have too many people that he’s let into his writing space and is probably so frustrated/sick/confused about what to do with the last book that he doesn’t even want to work on it. I think KKR is probably spot-on with this one.

    • You are correct. All books were complete and he’s just been revising for years.

    • Reading between the lines, it looks like his agent made him take a bunch of stuff from vol 2 and 3 and work it into the first book. He seems to be at a loss to come up with content to replace those things. Which means, even if he wasn’t slow, he’s unlikely to be a prolific author. I loved both books, though, and will definitely read the final volume when he gets it done.

  12. Fans pay a few bucks for a book that likely took the author years to write–and the author essentially takes on all the financial risk for the enterprise (with at best a faint hope of turning a profit). When fans pay the money and get the book, the author’s obligation is complete (as is the fan’s). If the fans want more control over the author’s creative process, they are free to help fund that process (say, by contributing to a kickstarter campaign). While it may be in the author’s financial interest to overlook misbehavior on the part of fans to maximize revenues, there is certainly no ethical obligation to do so–and by caving in that way, the author may actually encourage bad fan behavior, akin to parents who fail to discipline their children. Fair warning-just because you’ve read my books, don’t expect a free pass if you treat me like a self-entitled bombast. But if you treat me with respect, you can expect same in return. While I completed drafts of all three books in my trilogy (which took many uncompensated years) before putting out the first, there’s clearly no obligation to do so. Life has a way of getting in the way of publication, so if you buy the first in a trilogy before the others are out, you’re assuming the risk. In Rothfuss’s case, you knew the other books weren’t out when you bought the first–what if he’d gotten hit by a bus? Would you vilify him for that, too?

    • Most authors get paid to do what they love doing, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable For authors to listen to their fans occasionally.
      And a couple of bucks is the difference between having food on the table and not for some people. I feel pretty grateful that people choose to spend that money on my books and Not, say, A bag of doughnuts.

    • “and by caving in that way, the author may actually encourage bad fan behavior, akin to parents who fail to discipline their children”

      I find it funny that you said that, after I also made a parents/children correlation. Though in my case, I specifically pointed out that the author/reader relationship is NOT akin to a parent/child relationship.

      “so if you buy the first in a trilogy before the others are out, you’re assuming the risk. In Rothfuss’s case, you knew the other books weren’t out when you bought the first”

      According to some reviews I saw on Goodreads, Rothfuss pretty much promised his readers in 2007 that it would be 2009 when the second book came out and 2010 when the third book came out. So, yeah, he kind of did guarantee them a completed series within a reasonable timeframe and then failed to deliver, and that’s what a lot of them are upset about. Understandably so.

      Another complicating factor about that is that it’s very easy to just say, “Well, wait until all the books are out to read them,” or to tell authors, “Wait until you can publish all your books at once,” and as indies, we have the freedom to hold them and publish at once, and the freedom to publish as we write them without worrying if people wait to buy them or not. But with tradpub, if people don’t buy book one, the series never gets completed because the publisher sees they’re not selling and doesn’t want to publish the rest. There are two series (would-be trilogies) that I enjoyed but are left incomplete because the first two books didn’t sell well and the publisher didn’t want to do the third. So telling readers they’re not allowed to get upset at these kind of delays because they chose to start the series before it was complete, if people actually listen and stop doing it, will just make it harder and harder for series to get published by tradpubs at all.

      Which, as an indie, I have to admit may not be a hugely terrible thing. I wish the authors of those two series I mentioned would just self-pub the third book, but they seem averse to doing so (or unable, for some reason). If they’d been indie from the start, I’d probably have been able to finish the trilogies by now.

      • Frequently they are contractually unable to, like Melaine Rawn’s Exiles series.

        After diminishing sales on book two, her publisher insisted that she write a new series rather than complete Exiles. Her contract doesn’t allow her to publish a novel set in that world elsewhere, so she really had no choice but to comply, or waste a year writing the third book and never have it released.

    • “what if he’d gotten hit by a bus? Would you vilify him for that, too?”

      Obviously, you don’t remember when Robert Jordan died because, yes, there were fans who acted as if he’d done it to spite them.

      • A large part of that was over how little happened to advance the story
        in the four volumes published between 1996’s A Crown of Swords and 2003’s Crossroads of Twilight, the latter of which actually went back in time three weeks to tell the same time period from tertiary character’s viewpoints, and didn’t include the main character at all.

        Not that anyone should be throwing shade at a dying man. But there was reason to be anxious. RJ told me at a singing in 1998 that if I better pray he didn’t die, because he wasn’t going to let anyone else finish the series. And after being diagnosed with amyloidosis, he insisted that he would finish the series himself, or it wouldn’t get done. It wasn’t until very, very late in his illness that he changed his mind, and started dictating notes to his wife.

  13. “what if he’d gotten hit by a bus? Would you vilify him for that, too?”

    Did he look both ways before crossing, or was he expecting his aura of “I haven’t finished that third book yet” to protect him from any harm?

    • Dead writers works are worth more than live ones, maybe their publisher will push them under the bus so they can finish things up with a ghost writer … 😉

  14. Maybe if he would write the book already instead of playing celebrity D&D, we wouldn’t be haranguing him to GIVE HIM OUR MONEY. I mean seriously. Take my money already.

  15. I’m going to postulate that Mr. Rothfuss (whose book I did not care for and returned at the 1/3 point) can’t really figure out how to finish what he started.

  16. Rothfuss is an unprofessional author, there’s no denying it, and he himself admits he’s a bad author. He signed a contract with a publisher to deliver books by certain dates, and because he’s been successful thinks he can ignore his legally binding contract. In the real world, he’d have been dropped and have to repay his advance money.

    For the record, book 3 in his series was finished years ago, but he’s perpetually revising as he wants it to “shine like a blue diamond” – his words.

    I guess what he and his avid fans do not realize, is that no publisher will sign another contract with him unless the book is actually written already. Because who would pay good money for a book when they have no idea when it will be delivered? And at his pace that will be a long, long time.

  17. “So telling readers they’re not allowed to get upset at these kind of delays because they chose to start the series before it was complete, if people actually listen and stop doing it, will just make it harder and harder for series to get published by tradpubs at all.”

    Hmm, as an indie author with a trilogy partially out, I like the sound of that–assuming, of course, there are still readers like me, who occasionally prefer a good intricate meaty trilogy to supplement their usual diet of a series of fat-free standalone books merely set in the same universe. So yeah, readers, by all means, don’t read those trilogies until all the books are out! 😉

  18. Rothfuss is ugly. I’ve been a patient fan ever since his first book. I’ve followed him off and on and check in on him every year or so to see if his book has any reported progress. In the past year I’ve seen more and more of his “White male” rants and as a white male I wonder why I even care about his next work. The most recent was a youtube interview and he was answering the question how he deals with impatient fans. His response was that most fans are patient but that he did notice that white males complained about his lack of progress more often then naught. This lead me to google a bit and I found his twitters to be even more extreme. He’s got issues well beyond his lack of dependability as a contracted writer.

  19. I’ve met some really great people in their fandom of my books. They email me; I email them back. Most often it’s their way of telling me a book touched them or kept them up reading and so on. I’ll never forget the woman whose husband lay dying one night and she kept reading one of my books in between his times of consciousness. She said it had helped her make it through a desperate time. Make of this what you will: I was very touched and glad the book was there for her. I don’t kid myself, however: if they weren’t reading me they’d be reading someone else. I try not to forget that. I like KKR’s post. This is a business and if part of the price of success is interfacing with fans I’ll take that any day to the outrageous demands placed on me by other businesses. Such as, for example, the practice of law. Eh, PG? This gig is cake, baby.

  20. I have only two rules for writing: #1 is Write the book the way that’s best for the story, and #2 is Don’t cheat the reader. If he promised the books were done and would be out, then he’s breaking rule #2.

    Personally, I don’t think I owe a reader anything more than to tell the best story I can, follow up on any promises, as for release dates, or certain things being in the story, or something like that. I don’t owe them access to my personal life, or my time on social media, or whatever people seem to think they should get just because they bought a book. I’d be open to their opinions, but when it comes down to it, my muse is the boss of me, and I only write what he tells me to.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m forever grateful to those who’ve bought my work, or even just downloaded a freebie. I’m doing something I’d always wanted to do since I was a little kid, but the truth is, I’d be writing even if I wasn’t publishing.

  21. I look at it this way: fans want more of what they like. It’s my job to present it to them.

    My problem is time. I counted up the stories that I have going in various stages of completion.

    Nine.

    I have other books that deserve sequels…or new stuff. I think I’ve solved it in a way that saves me a lot of time.

    I’ve taken on a co-author to help me with the overflow.

    Let’s see if it helps!

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