No More Apologies

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of apologizing to readers over the last year.  Maybe longer.

I’m sorry I haven’t written Revelation yet.

I’m sorry there’s no sequel to Red.

I’m sorry I can’t write faster because of my two jobs and family obligations.

I’m sorry life has happened and totally derailed my already slow production.

You know, what?  I’m done.

Not that I am not grateful to readers.  God knows I am.  I wouldn’t have even the remotest shot of making a living at this someday without them.  And certainly there is this feeling for authors that when readers buy (and love) our books, when they move from readers into fans, that we are obligated to them to give them more.  And to a point it’s true.  We give them something they love and they, in turn, now have the expectation that we will give them more of what they love (see, really, authors are closet drug dealers, except our drug of choice is story instead of coke or marijuana).

Add to that implied emotional contractual obligation the current publishing climate (particularly self publishing) wherein there is this massive pressure to PRODUCE PRODUCE PRODUCE, where 2 books a year is not enough and there’s always someone out there publishing more and faster, and it’s enough to put a writer in the nuthouse.

I am grateful beyond measure that there are people out there who have taken a chance on an unknown and tried my work.  Even more grateful to the people who liked it and bought more of it and even went so far as to share it with others.  And I will own my obligation to give you more stuff you’ll like.

But I’m not going to apologize for my production schedule anymore.  I’m not going to apologize for the fact that life freaking happens and I can’t control it (and y’all, this is a freaking HUGE statement because I am a grade A, 24 carat CONTROL FREAK with extreme internal attribution style).

I’m going to write the damn book.  I’m going to make it the best freaking book I can make it.  And that’s going to take as long as it takes.  If it means I only get one book finished this year and it doesn’t get released in 2012, then that’s what it means.  Because I think what I owe to readers is an awesome read, not necessarily to give it to them faster and at lower quality.

Note: I feel compelled to point out that I do not feel that most readers are out there ready to throw rotten tomatoes at me for being slow or having life crap happen or whatever.  This is just the mental state I think some of us get into.  So this is a rejection of said mental state, not a rejection of readers or their expectations.

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11 comments

  1. Good for you, Kait. You should not have to apologize for not being cloned so you can get twice as much done. I’ve had other authors tell me they get emails all the time from readers wondering why they can’t hurry up and write this or that. I even had one such email myself. We are people, not robots, and we can only do what we can do. And most readers understand that, I think. There are just a few who get impatient. I’m glad you’re going to stop the apologies. You have nothing to apologize for.

  2. The biggest part of the reason I pulled my series back from NY’s consideration was because of how much I feel this pressure. I came close to getting something with a dream publisher, and we had barely gotten started. And I just gave it up. There’s a decent chance I could have gotten the security of a nice advance, distribution, all that stuff. And there’s also a decent chance nothing would have come of it. It wasn’t a wrong or bad decision, it is what it is. But it was based, LARGELY on this guilt, which continues to spin me up and, ironically, mess with my ability to do more.

    I wish I were in a place where I could let it go, where I could say I’m done apologizing and really mean it. Will there be a support group?

  3. Well-put, Kait! You can’t rush genius, right? Actually, it’s true. I’d rather wait a while to have something of high quality than get the rush-job version. Best wishes!

  4. Good for you! Writers have been running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to be everywhere and do everything – meanwhile the latest tell-all from a celebrity gets all the attention. We’re artists gosh-darn-it and we deserve a little respect.

  5. I echo all of the comments above, Kait. I wonder if some of the pressure comes from the world of instant gratification we live in. I’m guilty of it, too, but I try to limit it to complaints about technology (“this takes 5 seconds to load? Why the face?”), and I try to see the context (20 years ago, I had nothing to load, so quityerbellyaching).

    I think pressuring creativity can only be detrimental to the artist, the work, and the world. Good for you, Kait, for standing up for all three.

  6. I get your blog sent to my email, so even though I read it every day, I rarely comment. I had to comment after that!!! I know how you feel. My intent last year was to write a 70,000 rough draft in 3 months and I ended up with 150,000 behemoth in 9. I am NOT on schedule and it SUCKS to tell readers over and over that it will be done SOON.
    We just have to have DETERMINATION to plow on. Determination is my WOTY. 🙂

  7. This is just awesome. I’m frankly tired of everyone telling authors they need to be writing 2, 3, or 4 books a year. I’d much rather the authors I read put out one stunning book than 4 okay books.

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