Do you think writers of series have an obligation to a certain haste in their publication schedule?

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Posted 11/13/2013 by SharlaG in NSBR Board
 

SharlaG
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Posted: 11/13/2013 10:25:39 AM
I'm thinking of Gabaldon. She just announced a delay of her next book on Facebook. She already takes a couple of years? (fellow readers can correct me) between books. She writes LOOONNG books.

Anyway, most of the sycophantic Facebook followers are fine with the delay, but at least one lady piped up and expressed her irritation. This commenter talked about reading the series to a 92 year old woman who might not live to see the next or final book.

Not that Gabaldon is responsible for the age/infirmities of her readers...

What do you think?







--If you see someone crying, ask if it's because of their haircut.




benem
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Posted: 11/13/2013 10:29:19 AM
I think authors have a contract with their publisher and that contract includes a deadline and that deadline is usually firm.

If she is delaying the book --and I know she has already received her advance for it -- it meant her lawyer had to renegotiate the contract. Bc she is successful and the book has a market already she is able to do that and the publisher will have to agree.

Those publication dates are carefully calculated based on things like selling for holiday purchases or in conjunction with other marketing. Moving a date around is a big deal and can't be done on a whim.

underwatermama
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Posted: 11/13/2013 10:32:48 AM
I'd rather an author take time to make their next book "good" vs. just putting something out on schedule. There is nothing more disappointing than finishing a book that's part of a series and feeling let down because it's poorly written.


--Kathy

PinkShirley
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Posted: 11/13/2013 10:32:57 AM
It's a balance. For example Gabaldon...the time between her books generates excitement which can result in more book sales. On the flip side look at James Patterson...he writes so many books that I lost interest because it was the same story structure over and over.

Do I wish my favorite authors would write more and faster? You bet (JR Ward fan here). But they do not owe it to me.

melanell
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Posted: 11/13/2013 10:35:18 AM
I think as long as the next book in any series is really good, then I don't mind waiting.

Book 6 out of a 7 book series can come out on Jan. 1, 2013 and book #7 could come out on Feb. 1, 2013, but I could still die in between. That's just not an issue for the author to be concerned with at all.


Furthermore, I could just about cry when a favorite series ends, so I'm all for stretching things out a bit.



Sarah*H
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Posted: 11/13/2013 10:38:40 AM
Her reasoning seemed a bit sketchy to me given everything that has already gone into that particular release date. But no, I don't think she has any particular obligation to us as readers about how quickly she writes. It's a craft and it takes the time it takes.



Miss Lerins Momma
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Posted: 11/13/2013 11:29:19 AM
Three words. Game of Thrones. Still waiting.








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Posted: 11/13/2013 11:36:43 AM
I don't think they have an obligation, but it's a fact of our time that people expect almost-instant gratification. If the delay is too significant between installments of a series, readers are likely to move on to something else and not be as excited about the latest in the series they used to love.

It's in an author's best interest to minimize the period of time between releases as much as possible (without sacrificing quality).

peapermint
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Posted: 11/13/2013 11:55:55 AM
I'm not seeing DG's post. Did she delete or am I just losing my mind?

I hope she's not having trouble with the actual storyline. What was the reasoning she gave?

Mallie
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Posted: 11/13/2013 12:11:46 PM
Beyond their legal obligation to their publisher and the contract they signed with that publisher?

No.

The writer owes the reader nothing more than good quality writing.

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Posted: 11/13/2013 12:12:32 PM

I hope she's not having trouble with the actual storyline. What was the reasoning she gave?


Here is her post:

Two reasons for this:

1. The first—and by far the most important—is that I began to realize about a month ago that I needed a little more time in order to finish the book the way it needs to be done. I could get the necessary wordage on paper by the end of the year—but it wouldn’t be _good_. Good takes more time. And I’m really sorry, but you’re not getting a book that’s less than the best I can do.

2. The second thing has to do with the new Starz tv show. Two things about _that_:

a. While the original guess as to the date for the series release was April, that _was_ only a guess. In New York last month, the Starz people were telling me (and the assorted fans present; it’s not a secret) that it will be (take your pick), “June,” “July,” “August,” or “summer.” So, you know…later.

b. While I don’t have (and don’t want) “control” over anything to do with the show, I actually am (by contract) a consultant. And while I told the production people that I considered my main job to be staying out of their way, they are amazingly generous about including and involving me. And I am actually required to do promotional things for the PR side of the production. Sooo….am I going to say, “Sorry, I can’t be paying attention to all this fascinating stuff going on, and I’m not going to New York Comic Con, because I have to stay home and finish my novel?” Errr….no. (I mean, really—would _you_?)

So. I would have told you this a week or so ago, but once I’d made the decision that I needed an extra two months to do the book properly, all of the publishers needed to be officially informed. (Publishers hate finding out important things on Twitter or Facebook.)

Now, it’s up _to_ those publishers now to decide on a new pub date. They need to take into consideration all kinds of things, including the new date for the tv show’s release (not that there is an _official_ date as yet—and even if there was, it could move. Stuff Happens, as I’ve told you before), plus the usual considerations—where they can find a good slot in their existing schedule, what’s a good time of year for it, and so on.

I don’t have any idea what the new pub date might be. I’ll tell you the minute we know. But my immediate concern is for all the people I’ve seen this week excitedly making plans to come and see me in Portland or wherever.

Since the pub date is moving….I’m afraid (and my Deep Apologies to the poor publicists) all the tour events will have to be rescheduled, once a new date is chosen.

Now, I know a lot of you have been ordering tickets to the Portland event on April 6th. I’ll talk to the Random House people and the Portland people, and see what can be worked out. I’m happy to go and do that event, even if it’s not part of the official book-tour, if the organizers want that. But that’s up to them. I _will_ do my best to make sure you aren’t harmed by the change, though.

I’m sorry about this, and I thank you for your patience and understanding.


Kellie

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SamFan

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Posted: 11/13/2013 12:13:16 PM

I'd rather an author take time to make their next book "good" vs. just putting something out on schedule. There is nothing more disappointing than finishing a book that's part of a series and feeling let down because it's poorly written.


Same here, I'd much rather wait for a better product.


~ Dori ~

Georgiapea
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Posted: 11/13/2013 12:13:59 PM
Stuart Woods used to do 3 books a year and now has to produce 4. It shows!

Anna in TX
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Posted: 11/13/2013 12:15:12 PM
When I read the title of the thread I *knew* it would be about Diana Gabaldon.

Diana's reason for the delay in publishing date.

I really think people (in general on some of the fan sites, not here) need to get a grip. She doesn't owe ANY of us ANYTHING. If she needs more time to write and make the book something she is proud of, then so be it. I'm so tired of people on the fan sites whining about casting issues, the book is late, blah blah blah.

Sorry. /rant

Really, what is a few more months in the grand scheme of things?



SharlaG
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Posted: 11/13/2013 12:48:11 PM



Really, what is a few more months in the grand scheme of things?
The 92 year old lady might die.







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Posted: 11/13/2013 1:59:34 PM
Game of throne series!! OMG!! YES!!! I mean..how many yrs is he doing between series? like 5?! and he's not in great health..so that's concerning to me..and yes, I DO think HE has a certain haste. Gabaldon..on the other hand..nah.






Mimima
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Posted: 11/13/2013 2:02:35 PM
I think they have an obligation to write well, have a good editor, and keep to the world that they have created. Oh, and don't die before the series is ended.


~Mimi
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peapermint
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Posted: 11/13/2013 2:04:25 PM
Thanks for the link.

As for the original question, I'm kind of torn. I haven't written fiction professionally, but I wrote nonfiction professionally for nearly 20 years. If I miss a deadline, I don't get paid. I think part of being a writer is being able to gauge how long it will take you to complete a project.

HOWEVER, with that being said, I assume that with creative writing, sometimes the words just don't come. I don't want DG to write a book that is less that her best work; I can see how that would be a disservice to her readers and her craft and grate on her personally.

So, I am willing (so generous -- LOL!) to cut her a break due to the reasons she mentioned. Also, obviously, if someone is facing health or family challenges I would understand.

But, in general, I am a very literal person and I don't like expecting something at a certain time and having it not show up. It's more of a professional thing than some sense of entitlement that I "deserve" someone's book on a particular timeline for my own pleasure.

raindancer
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Posted: 11/13/2013 2:04:43 PM
I appreciate the lengthy books, and the quality of writing.

That said, Robert Jordan's death made for a lot of angst in this house, for my dh who had been reading that series for 20 years...So I would say the death of the author is more problematic than the death of a reader.


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dreamerpea
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Posted: 11/13/2013 2:30:56 PM
I thought they did, but she is such a huge name now I'm sure they bow down to what she says.

I've lost interest in her books. I don't even know which order they go in. I might just skip the last 3 and read the ending! lol



SharlaG
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Posted: 11/13/2013 2:56:24 PM

I might just skip the last 3 and read the ending! lol


.... if you're still alive!







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KatieBPea
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Posted: 11/13/2013 3:06:18 PM
I don't think that she "owes" her fans anything, but I do think that she runs the risk of losing readers by long stretches between books.

Honestly, it's for that very reason that I stopped reading the series in the past.


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Posted: 11/13/2013 3:11:10 PM

Really, what is a few more months in the grand scheme of things?
The 92 year old lady might die.

<snort>
I'm in the impatient camp. I think JR Ward should write faster, because I read fast and don't want to wait.
Quality schmality.

mikklynn
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Posted: 11/13/2013 3:20:23 PM
I'm in the impatient camp solely out of selfishness! I can never wait for the next Janet Evanovich/Stephanie Plum book

That said, I'd rather my favorite authors took all the time they need in order to produce a book they are proud of.


Lynn



TrishC
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Posted: 11/13/2013 4:35:40 PM
With the Game of Thrones book series, George RR Martin also has to write fast enough to stay ahead of the HBO series. He did tell the producers basically how the saga ends just in case he does die before he finishes the books.

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Posted: 11/13/2013 4:44:41 PM
If the 92 year old dies, I doubt the reading of a book will be on the list of her family's concerns.


~Jen


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Posted: 11/13/2013 4:46:02 PM
I read Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I could TOTALLY tell that his publisher was on him for some "wrap this up!!!" because of how the book ended.

I do not think as a reader I am OWED haste, but when I have to wait I will admit that I do not like it. I have also been known to pass on some trilogies, etc because it was only on book 2.


~ Vicki




Vicki7
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Posted: 11/13/2013 5:05:39 PM
I am in the camp that I too would rather wait and make sure the author is happy with the book.
Vicki

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Posted: 11/13/2013 5:18:47 PM
There is no obligation to readers at all. To contracts definitely.

For those of you complaining about Martin and GOT, you know he kills a character every time right?


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Posted: 11/13/2013 5:46:57 PM
Re: the reader death thing, one of the historical romance authors I like told a story about a fan who had a terminal illness and was concerned she wouldn't make it to the publication of the next book in a series she loved. So the author send her the galley proofs or some other unpublished early copy.

likescarrots
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Posted: 11/13/2013 6:50:10 PM
I agree that I'd rather an author take their time and make the book good, rather than just cranking them out, but I will admit I have given up on authors that take too long to write a book. If I can't remember what happened in the last book, I am not likely to read the next installment, and since I read tons of books, it's likely I'm going to forget if it's more than a year or so. This is one reason I really don't like to start a series until it is completely finished. I prefer to read one after the other immediately.

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Posted: 11/13/2013 6:57:40 PM

She doesn't owe ANY of us ANYTHING.


This may be true, however her readers don't owe her anything either. There is somewhat of a relationship required between an author and their readers, and if authors expect their readers to continue reading and recommending their books, they have to also give in to reader expectations (not waiting forever to read the next book in a series -or even just their next book, etc.)

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Posted: 11/13/2013 7:01:01 PM
No obligation but I have stopped reading a few series because there was just too much time in between. I read a lot of books and it is sometimes hard to remember what happened more than a year ago and more than 100 books ago just a fact of life. If it is a really good series sometimes I will reread the previous book but that is rare. It had to be a really really good series.

Eta one of my favorite series had a longer than normal break due to the authors illness. I am so happy she seems to be ok and finished that series and has started another one. People were upset because they were worried about her and because the previous book ended mid scene. She leaves you really hanging. I literally wanted to throw the book across the room and screamed at the ending. I thought it had more to it as there were a lot of extras at the end of the book but nope the story stopped mid scene worst cliff hanger ever in a book.


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Posted: 11/13/2013 7:52:59 PM

With the Game of Thrones book series, George RR Martin also has to write fast enough to stay ahead of the HBO series. He did tell the producers basically how the saga ends just in case he does die before he finishes the books.



That's good to know, as a GoT fan, 'cause I've wondered about that.

I haven't even been paying attention to when the next Outlander book is supposed to be out.



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Posted: 11/13/2013 8:09:46 PM
Isobelle Carmody is in a league of her own (thankfully). She has a long series on the go, and 3 shorter series all waiting on forthcoming instalments. And she leaves these and writes other books. GRRRR! Just finish what you have started!!! ..... but she is a really good writer. I wish she had a sense of obligation to make a bit of haste.

Carey Ayn
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Posted: 11/13/2013 8:30:11 PM
I actually think they do to some extent if they are writing a series. It is frustrating to wait much more than a year between books. Of course, quality is important and certain series would need some additional time, but extended amounts of time build resentment, forgetfulness and frustration.

Writing is an art, but it is also a business. Don't rush a bad product, but don't drag out the process to epic proportions or you will lose customers.



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Posted: 11/13/2013 10:42:26 PM

I read Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I could TOTALLY tell that his publisher was on him for some "wrap this up!!!" because of how the book ended.
Before he died, or after?



IScrapCrap
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Posted: 11/13/2013 10:48:37 PM
I'm fine with a delay, but at the same time I won't read an entire series unless I know it is done. I personally can't remember details very well and would rather read everything at once.

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Posted: 11/13/2013 11:20:26 PM
A friend and I have been commiserating over this news.

I figured that I have been waiting on Diana G for 15 years. LOL!

I've been waiting for her new books long enough to know that her release dates are moved, multiple times. I was hoping for the March release date to come to fruition. But, it was only the second date given.

Regardless, I would rather wait for her best work than something hurried.

Did you know that she does all her research? This is why there are years between her books. She stumbles across info that she likes that will take her in a different direction or that she likes so much she needs to find a way to weave it into her story.

So, I wait. I'm young enough that I should see the story through to the end. While I hope that she doesn't meet some untimely demise.

The silver lining in my love affair with this series is that I discovered it after book 4 was published. I did not have to endure the cliffhanger of Dragonfly in Amber. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment.

Unfortunately, I think we will be lucky to see this book published by December 2014.

I'll wait!




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Posted: 11/14/2013 1:42:14 AM
I do not think that authors owe their readers anything but their best work. DG has produced amazing books that transport readers to another world.

Often the authors of some of my favorite series have discontinued or interrupted those series to begin new ones. While I might be disappointed, I realize I have no right to expect these authors to keep plugging away at the series I enjoy like a typing machine. Writing is a creative process, and the author needs to be inspired.

I have nothing but admiration for those who can write well, and I include DG in that category. Add that skill to those of researching details, character development, plotting, ect, and I am in awe. In addition, DG has other spoons in the fire: consulting on the TV series, Writing the other series, writing short stories, and other media. She NEEDS all these other projects to stay fresh, interesting.

Otherwise, she would be, yeah, James Velveeta Patterson.

There is a LOT of great fiction out there. Some recently written, some has been around awhile. I find authors that are new to me while I wait for my favorites to write more.

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Posted: 11/14/2013 1:57:22 AM
The worst author for me was waiting for Stephen king to finish the gunslinger series. Dark Tower. It just went on and on and on. Then we got hit by that van I thought we would never see the end.
Since then I read, I enjoy, but I don't get hooked by another.
If Game of Thrones we're not to be finished I'd be okay as I've enjoyed what I have read.


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