Reading the updated information on Amanda’s Hocking blog about her book in progress Swear – the last in her My blood approves series - got me thinking.
Amanda says she probably won’t be able to write the book because of too much pressure from the readers. She knows exactly what would happen, how the story would develop and end, but feels that some fans of the series would like it, and some won’t. Consequently, she’d get a lot of hate mail and feels really disconnected from the story and the characters. You can read the original post here.
Before I say anything else, I’d like to point out that I’m a huge fan of Amanda’s and her work. She seems like a very genuine, hard-working, talented person and her books are so engaging you can’t stop reading until you are all the way through. Before her amazing success came, she had been working on her books for years and everything that happened after she published that first book had been a result of hard work and perseverance. However, her status from a self-published author to a very successful self-published author seemed to change in a very short time and she had been trust into the limelight for everybody to judge. Her books, her life, her every move had been unraveled, talked about and scrutinized by journalists, bloggers, fans and readers.
I can’t even imagine how that feels. I’ve always been a believer that an author should write what they feel is right, not what their readers or publishers or friends would want to read. Every story should end as the writer imagined it, not as the majority of their fans would like. And, as a result, the readers should support that, even if they throw the book against the wall in the end (believe me, I’ve done that many times. Not so often ever since I own a Kindle though). But my anger had never been aimed at the author. It had been aimed at the injustice of the world or a certain character or even myself for not being able to accept there’s nothing I can do (control freak much?) It had never even crossed my mind to blame the book’s creator (my rant about Jem and Tessa from Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Prince here. I did throw that book against the wall several times and I still loved it, although it didn’t go along with my expectations)
I don’t even think of the author as I read, I just accept it as A STORY. If I demanded the story be changed to my liking, it would be a different one altogether, wouldn’t it? As my favourite Italian chef Gino D’Acampo loves to say when somebody asks him if they could replace a certain ingredient (or three) in a recipe with something else, “Just use another recipe and cook a different dish.” That’s what would happen if writers tailored their stories to somebody else’s whims – a different dish.
In the end, you could never make EVERYBODY happy. There will always be someone who’s disappointed. So, what I have to say to Amanda is this: never succumb to outside pressure. Your stories are great just as you envisioned them, do not change a single word because somebody out there made a face. Let them rant about it but pay no attention. I understand perfectly that’s not easy. It must have a great effect on you to read hate mail and it must get you down. But learn to develop a thick skin and how to feed on positive energy only. There will always be people who would love to spread their negativity around and, as a famous author, those people would be in their thousands for you, but don’t let them get you down! You are very talented, very genuine and grounded person. Keep writing as you see fit and I can guarantee that in the end of the day the people that love you and your work will be much more than those who don’t.