In case any of you haven’t heard about the explosion over on Amazon due to a not so favorable review of the book Electra Galaxy’s Mr. Interstellar Feller (Love Spell) you must head over and read the horrific train wreck that is the comment thread. If you’re wondering who Niteflyer One is it would seem to be the author of the reviewed book. I’m not going to comment on the irrevocably bad PR that author just gave herself but instead would like to address one particular comment in the thread.
“It was my understanding that people wrote to entertain others with a story. If you aren’t writing for your readers, whom you seem to hold so little regard for, for whom are you writing? Yourself?”
Let’s take out the obvious derision contained within those sentences and deal with the assumption that authors write as a compulsion to please the masses. [Disclaimer: I speak for no one other than myself] I do not write, nor hope to publish in the vain attempt to please the hordes and throngs of people out there. I do not write nor seek publication so I might be subservient to the majority reading population I will hope read my work. I write for myself. Horribly, wretchedly selfish of me, no?
That isn’t to say I don’t hope other people will find value in my work. That some will walk away feeling something, thinking something they hadn’t before the reading of it. I write stories I would love to read, I write the ones I feel need to be written. If I pursued this art form strictly on the basis of approval from people I have never met, nor spoken with, would you really be happy with the book I would lay out before you? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say “no”. [Feel free to leave a comment telling me how wrong/pompous I am.]
The industry more often than not functions on the premise of what is marketable, i.e. what sells, and so it is easy to understand how the aforementioned thought comes about. However, this does not automatically make authors merely slaves to the public as the above quote would indicate. They’re a slave to the market if they want a certain degree of commercial success but still that’s dictated by their EDITORS/PUBLISHERS (i.e. the market which is comprised of many readers not each individual person). For people who think authors write just for them I would be happy to furnish a list of books that make it readily apparent the above assumption is completely and arrogantly incorrect.
Musicians used to write works for commissions then would work on the things their passions moved them to. This is the model for which we must use in these evaluations. Some writers write what they’re commissioned for (by their editors, publishers) and work on that tour de force by the left over oil in the lamp once it’s completed. It’s a job but don’t, not even for a moment, treat another person’s work as though it should have been written to please yourself. Unless you commissioned it- that is simply not the case. It also denotes a certain lack of respect in ability, time and craftsmanship the author/artist put forth. It’s one thing to not like a book – you’re entitled to your opinion – but can we please leave it there? You know where I’m talking about… it’s that land where there is no assumed superiority nor mandatory subservience.