Moira here to welcome you back to another #SensualSunday post. This week’s post (okay, more of a rant) has been inspired by an email I recently received. Not the first, and likely not the last either on the subject at hand.
When is your next book for the “series name” coming out?
*head meets desk, heavy sigh*
This is a question that many an author might have, or has received in their career if they are the sort to write series. While we love to hear from our readers there are just some questions we dread when reading. This is one of them. Especially if it’s not the first time it’s been asked, or the first time the specific sender has asked it.
Yes, as a reader you are impatient for a book and it feels like it’s been forever since the last book came out. We the authors understand this. But we are people too, with real lives, real problems, and in many cases real day jobs. These “jobs” are not our chosen careers in many cases, unless we got lucky. But they do pay for those silly necessities that our writing careers can’t/don’t quite cover. Things like shelter, food, clothing, oh and that pesky Internet bill that allows us to communicate and interact with you our readers.
Something readers need to understand – we are not making you wait on purpose!
If writing isn’t our full time career we often can’t schedule all that well to make time for writing. For example, in the last couple months my company has gone through a major overhaul with one of our divisions closing it’s doors. Except for three individuals, who now work in our division, everyone was of retirement age. This closure meant taking on all their work load, their clientele, and figuring things out on the fly because of how things were transferred over to us. In short – it was a gong show and we’re still scrambling to catch up.
On top of that we were notified we were moving our shop to something more spacious (which we desperately need), and better located (another major need) later this year. This all boils down to my normal 8-9 hour days of work turning into 10-12 hour work days. It has also messed up my normal daily writing schedule. Even if you are a stay at home individual who’s career is solely writing, outside influences can screw with your carefully laid plans.
An author’s characters are as real to them as their kids, husband, pet, best friend.
When our characters decide to wander off there’s not much to be done about it. Mine don’t leave me notes as to where they’ve gone or when they’ll be back. They do come back, eventually, but it’s not like I can hunt them down and force them into giving me the information I need to finish that story you are so (im)patiently waiting for. I’m sorry, but there it is.
Then there is another scenario a reader needs to understand. When writing a series an author has several different things to think about. The story before them, the story prior, and the story/stories yet to come. If I can I like to write in little clues to the next story in the series, if the series is one that demands such things. Not all do.
Tying up loose ends in a story though is extremely important – we don’t want the reader confused, upset, or irritated because we didn’t answer all the questions you have. This is especially true of any conflict in a story. Each story written has it’s own conflict point that needs resolution. I’m not talking about a conflict thread that flows through an entire series, that’s different, and one that is usually slowly pecked at in each book until the last where it’s wrapped up. I’m talking about the specific conflict subject of that singular story.
From concept to completion, it’s a lot harder than it looks and I’m not talking about the story itself.
There are so many contributing factors that anyone who has never written a book won’t understand. Sadly we don’t live in a perfect world. 9-5 is often a myth for those of us with “day jobs”. Something simple could/can ruin the best laid plans of the day. While I set out each day with the plan to leave work on time, get home and get writing I can count on one hand how many times that has actually happened in the last month.
While we love to hear from you, and interact with you our beloved readers, please stop asking the questions we all dread to hear. While I’m sorry I can’t give you an answer that will make you happy, mollify you, and make your day I am not sorry that I have a job that is paying my bills. I’m one of the lucky ones in my city where the unemployment rate has skyrocketed, and I wouldn’t change that for anything.
So here it is, boiled right down to the brass tacks. If you’ve already asked me (or any other author) when the next book is coming out and we’ve answered you to the best of our ability – PLEASE DON’T KEEP ASKING US! We’re trying our best but shit happens, deal with it. Or don’t, but don’t keep bugging us for an answer that won’t be changing. If it does you, and the world will know about it because we’re going to post it all over social media and be shouting it from the rooftops. Trust me!
All right, rant over. Go and enjoy your Sunday.
XO Moira Callahan
EDIT: Please note this post is not a complaint against any particular reader/readers. It is a post bemoaning the rare few who contact an author on a weekly (or more often) basis asking the same question over and over while expecting a different answer.