Thursday, September 10, 2009

But I don't have to buy his books, either...

Instapundit linked this by Neil Gaiman.

George R. R. Martin is not your bitch.

Well, true enough... but I don't have to buy his books either.

A couple of posts ago I lamented that I forgot to bring my books to Bubonicon for Mr. Martin to sign. I have three starting with _A Game of Thrones_. I loved the first one and would have read the others on the theory that these three are *it*, right? But I realized that the series was not complete and I chose to stop reading the ones I already *had* until I had them all. I will probably not *buy* any more until they are all published and Mr. Martin announces "The End." Until then I won't read the ones I've already paid for either.

Mr. Gaiman is, of course, completely correct that there is no contract between an author and fans that demands that he or she produce anything whatsoever.

But open ended series carry a significant risk for the author. As a consumer I no longer have to scramble to buy a book for fear it will not be available later. Books do go out of print, but usually they can be bought at any time over the internet. So I really can wait until I can get them *all* to buy any more at all. Obviously if a whole bunch of readers decide to wait the publisher's numbers will be low and they might get low enough to matter and new books won't be bought. This is a risk that I, as a reader, am willing to take. Are authors willing to take that risk?

I waited to buy Daniel Abraham's four books. I bought them each because I knew there would only be four. Now I will read them.

I waited to buy John Ringo's Posleen books until I could get them all and while I waited I lost interest. Sorry John!

David Weber, with a couple of exceptions, seems to be very good at writing a series where each book has a satisfying conclusion. But I told him myself *last* year... or at least I'd planned to!.. now I honestly don't remember... that not finishing a series is a poor way of getting people to pray for your continued health and that you don't get hit by a bus. _Oath of Swords_ is a whole lot of fun but apparently hasn't sold that well so he writes another one for fun when he needs a break. If they didn't sell that well before the prospect that the next installment will end without answering burning questions and leave readers hanging for a number of additional years before the *next* one?.. this will NOT help sales.

It is true, Mr. Gaiman, that these authors do not OWE me anything.

And it is true that I owe them nothing in return.


Blogger Trooper York said...

That's just not true!

I just finished "Sword of the Lady" and SM Stirling owes me "The High King of Montivale" right now!!!!!!!!

I don't want to wait!!!!!

Now I tell you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

7:20 PM  
Blogger Synova said...


I think I heard a passage from the Sword of the Lady two years ago at a reading.

Two years!

4:44 PM  
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9:00 PM  

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