I was doing my daily check of author Neil Gaiman’s blog (for those of you who don’t know, he’s funny, witty, very down-to-earth, and his blog is frequently charming in a number of different ways), and discovered he’d answered an interesting letter from a fan.
The fan wanted to know if Neil thought that author George RR Martin was breaking faith with his fans by not publishing (as of yet) the next book in Martin’s epic series. The fan wanted to know whether – in this age of Twitter, blogs, and Facebook – George RR Martin has a responsibility to keep his fans informed on his writing progress.
Neil’s answer (short version): George R.R. Martin is not your bitch.
Which made me laugh, because while I too am awaiting the next volume of A Song of Ice and Fire, I’m also a writer. And I understand how these things go, how you can’t always put a noose around your muse’s neck and drag her to your laptop. And I can only imagine how annoying all those rabid fan emails must be, baying for the blood of your next-born novel.
But still. If an author has made the effort to reach out to his fans via a blog or tweets, and if he knows he’s waaaay past his publishing deadline, wouldn’t it be at least common courtesy to let the fans know what’s happening? I haven’t been following George RR Martin’s blog all that much, so I really don’t know what he’s done to notify the fans, but I’m thinking of another author here: Scott Lynch (whose book I am honestly more excited about than Martin’s). Scott built up a relationship with his fans, answered letters, replied to comments on his livejournal, and then missed two book deadlines and…dropped off the face of the earth. Completely gone. As in nothing left to Google.
I really, really, don’t think I’m asking him to be my bitch because I’d like to know whether he’s still alive. If he’s got personal stuff going on, fine. He doesn’t have to go into detail – or any sort of detail at all. But a brief note saying he’s alive would be nice. Which, yes, he finally did – two years after his infamous hungover livejournal post (which led to all sorts of speculation that he had dropped of alcohol poisoning, that he had fallen to WarCrack, and all sorts of even more outlandish fates).
So please, to you authors out there with personal traumas, stubborn muses, or general visibility issues….just a little tweet next time before you disappear?