Do Authors Have a Responsibility to Their Readers?
The life they’ve chosen
I sometimes feel sorry (just a little) for celebrities who have paparazzi in their faces whenever they go out – to a restaurant, the gym, even a supermarket. Imagine if they were going to get a bikini wax or some other personal appointment. And forget about hooking up for a kinky rendezvous. The whole world is always in their business making it difficult for them to live normal lives. If a celebrity does something stupid (who of us has never done anything stupid?) like lick a donut in a bakery and then put it back for someone else to buy (okay maybe not to that extent. That’s not only stupid, it’s disgusting and shows a lack of concern for the health and well being of others.) But when they do slip up, the whole world knows about it and often it takes a long time for the world to get over it. But as I stated, I only feel a little sorry for them, because for the most part, this is the life they’ve chosen.
The responsibility of YouTubers
My son likes watching YouTube videos, and some of the YouTubers, although entertaining, annoy me because they use foul language. I know, I know… freedom of speech and parenting your child, etc. But these video gaming entertainers know that a large part of their audience consists of young children. Therefore, they should be careful about what they do and say because impressionable children watch and imitate them. If this is what they choose to do, they have a responsibility to keep their material appropriate for the youngsters.
What about authors?
Lately I’ve been thinking about the responsibility authors – especially published authors – have to readers. They buy and read our books, and sometimes, if we’re lucky, they write reviews. Our readers are our motivation to create great stories. When we advertise or promote an upcoming book, via interview, social media, the back content of current book or any other means, we have a responsibility to our readers to deliver what we said we would.
A few years ago, I read all four books in a popular series. Like many fans of the series, I was disappointed to learn that publication of the fifth book – a version of the first book told from a different point of view – had been cancelled. The author had decided not to finish it because someone had leaked part of the story. By the time I’d discovered the series, so much time had passed since the occurrence of the leak that I had hoped the author would just shake it off and finish the book. Especially since so many fans had asked, begged and pleaded for book five. I’d checked her website from time to time, looking for info, but there’d been nothing. Eventually I found a version of the story which I believe had been “completed” and posted by a fan, so I stopped checking the author’s website and moved on.
When an author chooses to introduce his or her writing to the world, be it a story, a sequel, even just an excerpt, he or she should make every effort to deliver.
Responsibility to my readers
Over the last few days, I’ve been reminded of my responsibility to my readers. On three occasions within as many days, someone mentioned Off Base, the sequel to my Military Romance, Forbidden Kisses.
The most recent wasthis comment I read on my website from sjlmorgan.
The comment both made my day and broke my heart a little. Here was this reader who enjoyed book one and was ready for book two. Referring to the free sample chapter I’d included in the back of book 1, the reader was basically saying, “Why did you even include the sample chapter for book 2? Now I want it and it’s not available.” The sad thing is, I haven’t even been working onOff Base. I started it, but then out of the blue, I got an idea for a brand new story. I put Off Base on the back burner so I could work on Remember Love.
sjlmorgan isn’t the only reader waiting for the continuation of Layla and Ethan’s story. I went through my reviews and noted that there are at least fourteen reviews in which the reader expressed a desire to readOff Base.
Because of all these comments and the responsibility I have to my readers (and my love for Layla and Ethan’s story), I’ve decided to hold off on Remember Love and get back to writing Off Base. Thank you, sjlmorgan for that reminder.