Authors, Please, Take Your Time

Smudge does not snuggle books, even really good ones.
Smudge does not snuggle books, even really good ones.

No, really. I mean it.

I read a lot, and my eyes & ears aren’t confined to one or two genres. There are many, many authors that I buy their latest on the day it comes out. Yes, I love the anticipation of wondering what will happen to some of my favorite characters, trying to second guess the author on where the plot will go.

But I can also wait. I want that next long-anticipated book to satisfy not only me, but the author. It is their art and should meet their standards first, and the fans’ standards second.

I have been blogging since 2010 and the book blogging world is by and large welcoming and enthusiastic. If you read, there’s a place for you here. But I also see A LOT of pressure being put on authors to turn out that much needed, much wanted next-book-in-the-series NOW. Scott Lynch, Patrick Rothfuss, George R. R. Martin, and the next book in The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson are just a few that spring to mind.

LynchLiesOfLockeLamoraNow all the authors I have met have been human, and as humans they have all the crap going on in their lives as the rest of us. They have families, illnesses, joys, obligations, sorrows, vacations, hobbies, and pets, maybe even jobs (other than writing). In short, they have lives.

Patrick Rothfuss had a post in 2008 explaining why Book 2, Wise Man’s Fear, was taking so long by pointing out scenes and characters that weren’t in the original Book 1, The Name of the Wind, until several revisions in. His post is excellent in showing how enhanced Book 1 was by him insisting that the book meet his standards first. And he is right. I fully agree The Name of the Wind would not have been as enchanting, as deep without certain side characters and scenes.

RothfussNameOfWindGeorge Martin and Brandon Sanderson have been busy entertaining millions of people; George Martin has had an active hand in the hit tv series The Game of Thrones and Brandon Sanderson gave us the climatic ending to the decades-in-waiting series The Wheel of Time by the deceased Robert Jordan. Scott Lynch, author of The Gentlemen Bastard series (The Lies of Locke Lamora & Red Seas Under Red Skies) has been living his life, paying his bills, and fighting personal illness. In short, none of these folks are lazy or are blowing off their fan base.

Even before A Song of Ice and Fire series became really big with the tv series, George Martin was receiving pressure from his fan base to work on the series, and nothing else (another excellent post from the author’s view point). John Scalzi posted in 2009 about authors, their secret lives, and yes, they are human. Patrick Rothfuss mirrors this in his post explaining that he has a life, is obsessive, and giving fans some hints on how to be supportive instead of snarky dicks. Patrick Rothfuss has this great humorous post about the revision process. Go, have a look, learn how complicated it is.

SandersonWayOfKingsHere’s my take. If you are obsessing over the release date of the next book by a beloved author, if you are stalking them on the interwebs, if you are leaving unhelpful, pressuring comments and fanmail – EXPAND YOUR READING HORIZONS. There are many, many awesome authors out there with books calling your name. Spread the love. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of great books from favorite authors, even if those authors individually take 2, 4, 7 years (or much more) between books. It is unreasonable to expect greatness to be turned out according to your time table. Please, let the authors work their magic on their time table.

Here is an example list of authors and their books, showing years between publications.

Jean Auel: The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980), 6 books in series, ending with The Land of Painted Caves (2011)

Diana Gabaldon: The Outlander series & Lord John series – up to 4 years in between books.

J.R.R Tolkein: The Hobbit (1937), The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)

JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (2007), Casual Vacancy (2012)

Ken Follett: The Pillars of the Earth (1989), World Without End (2007)

Guy Gavriel Kay: up to 4 years in between books

Octavia Butler: Parable of the Sower (1994), Parable of the Talents (1999)

Neil Gaiman: American Gods (2002), Anansi Boys (2005)

Conn Iggulden: The Gods of War (2006), The Blood of Gods (2013)

Isaac Asimov: The Robot Series, 1954 – 1985, 4 books

Peter S. Beagle: The Last Unicorn (1968), The Last Unicorn (lost version ) (2007), Two Hearts (sequel to The Last Unicorn) (2011)

Elizabeth Bear: The Stratford Man (2008), One Eyed Jack (2013)

Marion Zimmer Bradley: Avalon series 1979-2009, 7 books

Caleb Carr: Up to 14 years between novels

William Gibson: The Blue Ant trilogy – 2003-2010

Karin Lowachee: 5 years between Cagebird and Gaslight Dogs

So, with all that said, who are some of your favorite authors that you have faithfully waited for?