Random Musings

Why Haven't You Published This, Yet?

So, if you follow this blog, you might know that I try to participate in a weekly book meme called Top Ten Tuesday, where a list is posted, prompting you to list ten books that you associate with that list. This past week, I wrote about all the books I’ve shamefully not read from some of my favorite authors, which just sorta got me thinking. Because at the end of that post, I wrote something to the likes of, Sure, everyone is waiting for their next favorite book to be published, but what about all those books already out there we’ve always meant to read but haven’t? That are already waiting to be enjoyed?
You see, I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to intense anticipation when it comes to a book I really want to read being published. Hell, that’s one of the reasons I participate in another weekly book meme, Waiting on Wednesday, so I can highlight some of the books I’m really, really, really stoked to read.
There are a couple I can list off the top of my head:

  • Velocity Weapon by Megan O’Keefe
  • The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
  • The Unbound Empire by Melissa Caruso
  • Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet
  • The Third Book in the Epic Failure Trilogy by Joe Zieja
  • Fear the Stars by Christopher Husberg
  • The Burning White by Brent Weeks
  • The Olympian Affair by Jim Butcher
  • The Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss

Trust me, that was just the top ones that popped out inside my head, without looking anything up aside from verifying I got titles correct. I know there are plenty others that I am positively stoked for. I think writing a blog post talking about how excited I am for this book is great, telling other readers they should read the previous books in a series or start following a debut author, also totally fine.
What I wish the bookish community–readers in particular–would do less of is harassing the author for the book to be completed.
Or missing a deadline.
Or pushing back the publication date.
Or asking, over and over and over again, when the next book is going to come out.
Friends, that is just not okay.
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Ask yourself this: what do you really hope to achieve by doing this? You’re not making an author feel good, by reminding them that you’re “still waiting” for their next book to come out. You think they aren’t already feeling guilty for missing deadlines, especially when years go by and the book still hasn’t happened yet? Do you think that your prodding is going to be the last key needed in order for the book to magically get written?
Or do you think you’re going to be the final straw that breaks all motivations or desires to try, causing the book to never see the light of day?
Here’s the thing. I think, as readers, we feel a sense of entitlement towards authors when they write a series. We think, you told me this is going to be a trilogy, so you owe me three books. Sure, those are the expectations set. But when purchasing or renting a book after it’s been published, the author has “fulfilled” anything you’ve asked from them. They published a product and you’ve bought it. End of transaction. If they don’t finish a series, sure, you’re disappointed, but they don’t owe you that third book, especially if there have been no pre-orders yet, when it’s still in the stage of being written. Sure, there is the expectation, that hope, that book will show up, but if it doesn’t get written; or it gets pushed back by ten years than the planned/promised due date; that’s the author’s choice. And you haven’t paid for a thing, so they owe you nothing. Hell, I believe many times, it’s completely out of their control, actually, in many respects, forcing their choice of writing and creating to either feel impossible or to choose the opposite.
Because that’s the thing. We don’t know why an author might not finish a series or have major delays. Publishing is a slow business just as the nature of the beast, but we can’t always know the behind the scenes of that business or an author’s personal or professional life. We don’t know if they are suddenly battling depression or impostor syndrome that makes it crippling to write. We don’t know if they’ve lost passion for a project after receiving negative reviews and feeling like their story is nothing. Or, so many positive reviews, they fell crushed by the pressure to live up to such expectations we’ve placed upon them. Family changes, emergencies, suffocating day jobs, so many possible reasons, an endless list of rationale. But more so, it is not our business to know. These are human beings, with lives and privacy and emotions and choices that deserve to be respected.
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So commenting on every tweet and making a joke about how you’re still waiting for that third book–even when that tweet is not even book related–is not only not okay, but frankly, I’d consider it harassment.
Flooding their email inbox or DMs or feed or channel with complaints and questions is not okay.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made mistakes in this area, too. I’ve ranted about waiting for a book and wishing it was out already. Or questioning why it’s “taking so long,” wishing an author would “hurry up” and finish it so I can find out what happens next. It wasn’t until I read someone else’s perspective and realize how truly damaging these types of comments can be that I realized I needed a change in my own behavior.
Now, realizing this, this type of treatment is always on my radar and I seem to see it everywhere (with some authors more than others) and it just depresses me. Because no creator, who gifted us with wonderful stories and escapes and worlds and characters, should have to deal with this kind of harassment as the price. I don’t think it’s bad thing to get excited, to tell an author you’re stoked for their next book or to find out what happens next. But I think it’s a lot better to add a statement like, “whenever you’re ready to tell it,” or “at your own pace, I’ll always be here to support you,” instead of, “Why haven’t you published this yet? I’ve been waiting for it and you owe it to me!”
Imagine what we all could create and do if, when we hit roadblocks or hiccups, instead of being met with scorn and disapproval, we were met with unconditional, unwavering support?
Just something to think about, fellow readers.


Tension and POV

Writers and readers!
My friends, my colleagues, my enemies (enemies?): I need your help. It’s nothing difficult, it’s nothing dire, but it is simply my curiosity that I hope you will help appease or at least indulge, for a moment. I’m stumbled upon a conundrum in my writing that I would very much like your opinion on, now that I realize this is something that people can (obviously, now that I think about it) have wide and various opinions over.
As I’m sure you can guess, it deals with tension and POV.
Darryn’s story is a trilogy told through multiple POV. Some are through some minor characters. Others are major players. Originally, when I was writing the book, I didn’t have a real purpose for having so many POVs. It’s just how the story was in my head, so that’s how it translated onto the page. Then, as I started editing and paying more attention to the nuances of the story, I realized that I really enjoyed having multiple POV because of the tension that it created. By cluing the readers into what was going on with Erebus, our main bad guy, or the Solomonarii, our omnipotent creatures, with information that Darryn, our protagonist, wasn’t aware of but really needed to know, there was this tension created that everyone knew what was going on except for him. So you became angry at him when he would act a certain way or not do something because you know that X is happening right now and he really should be doing Y but he’s as ignorant as all get out, so he’s over here still doing A, B and C, and readers are just pissed because WHY AREN’T YOU DOING X, YOU IGNORANT BASTARD?!
Or, at least, so I hoped.
I received some invaluable feedback from a beta reader on this trilogy. I obviously have a lot more work to do than I originally thought I did. But one piece of feedback really stuck with me and surprised me, especially when a recommendation followed: having so many POVs took away from the tension because the readers knew what was going on in every character’s head, so there was no tension created due to not knowing what was going on. Instead, I should rewrite to only incorporate two POV: Darryn, our protagonist, and McKenna, our hero, in order to increase the tension.
I think you can see my dilemma here.
As I started to think about this, I thought about the books I love so much that incorporate multiple POVs: the works of Brent Weeks, Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, to name a few. And I tried to think about if I took some of those POVs, would I have been more invested, felt more tension, sat on the edge of my seat more than I already had? Of course, I couldn’t figure it out. When reading for pleasure, I’ve discovered I’m not analytical in the slightest. I just read and if I enjoy it, I enjoy it, and if I don’t, I don’t. Usually, I don’t really understand the reasons behind my emotional responses until I start writing the book review. And in this case, I’m already familiar with how these authors have written the books that own my heart and I already love them to the point where I can’t figure out which version would be more powerful and create more tension.
That’s where you come in.
I’d love to hear what you think on this matter. I’m not even looking for an answer for what I should do with my own work (though these answers will definitely be in the back of my mind whilst I’m editing, with my beta’s feedback in the forefront). I’m mainly really curious to get your opinion as to what you think the best relationship is between tension and POV, particularly multiple POV. Any and all comments, thoughts, musings or ideas would be so appreciated! Please leave them below so other readers can see what the masses are thinking and perhaps we can get a dialogue going! 🙂
Thank you in advance for your time and feedback! And please, feel free to share this post, if you’d like!