Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Reader Burnout

This is the story of Salvador Garcia, my boyfriend.

Salva is an avid fantasy reader. He drives me nuts each time he buys a new book. Here's the process each time we go for a walk downtown:

1) Go to bookstore.
2) Gasp!
3) Snatch newest Terry Pratchett / R.A. Salvatore / Robin Hobb book.
4) Toss some money at the cashier on the way out.
5) "I want to go home." "Let's go home." "Come on, I'm tired." "Why don't we go home?"
6) Get home. Light a cigarette. Start reading.
7) Ignore all external stimuli (including me jostling him, cats demanding dinner, oil on stove going up in flames...).
8) Finish the book (N.B. Time of day and book length don't matter. He won't stop until he finishes.)
9) Close book. Look dreamy for a few minutes. Dust off cigarette ash from shirt. Eat. Recover lost sleep.
10) "Why don't we go to the bookstore?"

He sure loves his reading.

However, I noticed that recently something is happening to him...reader burnout.

Salva doesn't really read novels; he reads series, and one of his favorite series up until recent months was A Song of Ice and Fire. He was giddy as a schoolgirl in a One Direction (*gag*) concert when A Dance with Dragons finally came out. We had to scour the bookshops to find a copy, since he doesn't believe in preordering.

So, when finally a second edition (yeah...he had to wait that long) of A Dance with Dragons came out, Salva followed all the expected above steps, but then he went quiet.

"What's wrong?" I asked him.
"The author's going to die before he finishes writing this shit."

All authors need time between novels. Time to breathe. To disconnect. To market. To write. (I'm aiming for a year. Being the horrible pantser that I am, I didn't have time to plot out all my books before writing the first one. I'm still ironing out details in the second book.)

George R.R. Martin's world is rich and convoluted, the novels are an average of 700 plus pages, but should readers still have to wait 4 or 5 years between releases? Here are the release dates for A Song of Ice and Fire (taken from Wikipedia):

#TitlePagesChaptersAudioUS release
1A Game of Thrones704[7]7333h 53mAugust 1996[7]
2A Clash of Kings768[8]7037h 17mFebruary 1999[8]
3A Storm of Swords992[9]8247h 37mNovember 2000[9]
4A Feast for Crows753[10]4631h 10mNovember 2005[10]
5A Dance with Dragons1056[11]7348h 56mJuly 2011[11]
6The Winds of Winter(Forthcoming)
7A Dream of Spring[12](Forthcoming)

I would like to know what you think. Should authors churn out books as quickly as possible? Should authors take all the time they need, regardless of impatient fans? Is six years a reasonable amount to wait for the next book in a series?

Please leave your comments below!


  1. Don't have a link, but Neil Gaiman wrote a blog entry about why readers should back off on the topic of how fast authors should be writing.

    I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

  2. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

  3. Hi Nadine, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris


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