I intended to write a blog this weekend about our little Thanksgiving. Well, not little when it came to food—LOTS—but people. Just our little bubble, taking care to be safe, taking care of each other.
And it was lovely.
But some of the comments and responses on The Awakening discussion thread changed things.
I understand, even appreciate the enthusiasm and the impatience for the subsequent books in a series or trilogy. I’ve often felt it myself. There are certainly books I wait anxiously and impatiently for. But as a writer and someone who’s worked with publishers for many years, I understand the process, and the time it takes.
I don’t expect readers to understand that process. Though I’ve felt obliged to explain it as best I can, a number of times because some become angry and accusatory when they don’t get what they want when they want it.
I also don’t expect readers to tell me how to write, how quickly to write (not talking about the ‘Can’t you write faster’ comments which I understand are just enthusiasm) or to pontificate on how publishers need to publish so they, again, get what they want when they want it.
That’s arrogance, that’s misplaced entitlement.
I’m not going to go into all the steps and stages of what goes into turning a manuscript into a published novel again. I’ll simply say this is a process that takes months, even up to a year. In the case of a trilogy, the publisher must, contractually, pay the writer for the manuscript when it’s turned in—the writer needs to be paid for the work completed. And the publisher can hardly pay the writer, the editor, the production staff, etc then sit on the book for a couple of years.
It’s a business, with expenses. It’s a business with a number of authors and manuscripts, and editors and so on.
Over and above the simple practicalities, it’s astonishing to me when a reader dictates my business or my publisher’s—or any writer’s, any publisher’s.
In this particular case, it may have triggered me harder because I’m working so hard to finish the second book in this trilogy right now, stressed that I’ll do so in order for my editor, my publisher to have the time they need to produce it so it meets its current schedule. I’m stressed—as always—that I’ll write a good book that satisfies readers when it does come out.
We do the best we can, we writers. Publishers are filled with people doing the best they can. I am not the only writer my publisher works with, not the only writer whose books needs to be edited, produced, printed, scheduled, marketed, distributed. The covers for my books are not the only ones the art department has to create.
I’m currently writing four books a year, but for some, that’s not enough. Or they blame the time between books on my publisher when they have absolutely no idea how publishing works.
These comments tied a knot in my stomach—I know better, but they did. They piled on more stress and aggravation.
And no—the customer is not always right. Sometimes the customer is rude and wrong.
At a time we’re hoping to remember things to be thankful for, as we head into the holiday season, maybe we could choose to be thankful for books instead of complaining we can’t have more fast enough.
Things are difficult and stressful enough, so a story that takes us away from that hard reality should be a plus.