This is my first discussion of the year, woop! I’m participating in the Discussion Challenge this year so you can expect more of these on the blog. I like writing discussions and am always looking for new topics, so there’s anything you want me to talk about here, let me know in the comments and I’ll give it a go (if I haven’t already in past discussions, that is).
Today I’m going to talk about high expectations – namely the feeling that our favourite authors should always improve. By this I mean the feeling that if you love an author’s work, you’re probably looking forward to reading the next book they’re going to publish, and you expect it to be better than the last one. I know I do this all the time.
Let me give you an example. The first time I met Victoria Schwab’s books was when I read The Near Witch, which was great. I then continued to read The Archived, which was completely different but also great. And then I got my hands on Vicious and I truly fell in love. It was everything I wanted in a book, it was dark and fast-paced and fabulous. So I was pretty anxious to read A Darker Shade of Magic, but Victoria delivered another amazing book. So far, everything looks great. But now she has two books coming out in 2016, A Gathering of Shadows (the sequel to ADSOM) and This Savage Song, a YA fantasy. And I’m scared that the books won’t be as good as I expect.
Now this may be the point where you start rolling your eyes at me but please give me a chance to explain. I don’t think the author has any obligation to write a better book each time. I know this rationally but it doesn’t mean that I don’t build up my own expectations. And I’m perfectly aware that it’s impossible to please everyone – not all readers/fans will love the new book in equal measure, that’s for sure.
What I’m trying to say is that authors must be under a tremendous amount of stress in this publishing world where each book has to be bigger and better than the last one. If I was an author, I’d surely strive to improve my writing (I’m really competitive) but at the end of the day, the success – and the reception – of the book is hardly under the author’s control. They can do their best but the book still might not get the recognition and acclaim that their previous work received with (seemingly) less effort.
So here’s my decision/pledge/goal to judge each book separately, to try and give the authors I love the same benefit of the doubt that I give authors that are new to me and just let them wow me with the story with no amped-up expectations. This might be harder with sequels in series (I want the series to go out with a bang, not fizzle out and die before my eyes) but in the case of new series or standalones, I think this is something all authors deserve – especially my favourite ones.
Are you guilty of the same thing? Do you expect too little or too much of your favourite authors?
Do you think authors should always improve?
I’d love to hear from you! :)