Dealing with reader expectations

This week the final book in the Sookie Stackhouse vampire series by Charlaine Harris (adapted as True Blood for TV)  is being released. I’ve enjoyed this series from book one and am looking forward to reading the last one but the author has discovered that some fans can be a little over zealous when it comes to a successful books series. In this interview she describes the pressure that she’s feeling, the threats she’s had from ‘fans’ over her ending the series and how they expect the series to end, especially who Sookie will end up with. It has caused Ms Harris to decide not to do any promotion for the last book, which is a huge shame for readers who would have loved her to sign the final book regardless of how the book ends.

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The books series is a long one – the final book is number thirteen and as a writer I can’t begin to imagine how hard it is to write that many books about the same characters, to juggle the number of characters and plot lines the series has and to still make each book it’s own story. It’s a real achievement and it’s a shame that some readers can’t enjoy the books there are and realise it’s time for the author to move on. I’d rather the series ends than read sub-par books that make it obvious the author just doesn’t care anymore. After reading the last book, I have my own ideas who I want Sookie to end up with BUT I’m well aware this is Ms Harris’ story to tell and it’s up to her to end it how she want to.

It’s kind of a double edge sword – you’d love your series to be popular and to have passionate fans but it must be so scary to receive death threats and abuse from them. On her Facebook page the author revealed that someone has posted the series ending and asked fans not to spoil it for others. I stopped reading the comments because people were even posting the ending on there after such a polite request not to. I just don’t understand why you would want to do that. I want to read the book for myself – it’s the only way you’ll understand why an ending was chosen and you might find you like it after all.

I hope Ms Harris can be proud of her series and that she will continue to take pleasure in writing. And I hope the fans will understand why she wanted to end the series on a high and why she chose the ending did. And above all remember that it’s only fiction after all 🙂

How do you think you’d deal with reader expectations on how a series should end?

Victoria

xoxo

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12 thoughts on “Dealing with reader expectations

  1. I read the article that you linked. How terrible that people are threatening her and even claiming that they’ll attempt suicide if she doesn’t end the book the way that they want her to! That’s way too much pressure. I always think it would be amazing to be a bestselling author and create a world that readers love to visit again and again…but I forget about the negative side of that kind of fame.

  2. Yikes, death threats? Scary. I understand that some fans get passionate about a series, but ultimately it’s only fiction and they shouldn’t cause the author grief over it!

  3. This is truly terrible. It’s even worse because she is one of the nicest writers I’ve ever met. Readers need to calm the heck down. This is why fan fiction exists. They need to go and write their own ending if they aren’t happy with hers. But fundamentally, it’s her story world and her characters. People should respect that even if they don’t agree with her ending.

    • Ah I’d love to meet her! That’s a really good point about fan fiction. I understand you can be disappointed by who a series ends especially one that’s gone on so long but you’re exactly right – it’s HER series at the end of the day.

  4. That’s a bit over the top. As much as we all want people to love our books, we don’t want to be responsible for their lives!! Poor thing, I hope everything will work out for her.

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