This will be more of a rant in response to the news that the third book of a trilogy by my favourite author, Steven Erikson, being delayed. Because of low sales of the first two novels, he’s focusing on a new series, presumably for these new books to gain momentum and drive interest back to the other trilogy. This is frustrating not only because the first book of the delayed trilogy might be my favourite book of Erikson’s, but also because it’s part of a bigger problem of fans not supporting artists.
I’ve heard many huge fans of Erikson explain why they didn’t enjoy the first two books of this trilogy as much as the main ten-book series and I can understand that (for reasons I don’t need to get into here) – the books definitely aren’t for everyone. But I’ve also heard many other fans say they’ve been waiting for the third book to come out so they can read the entire trilogy at once. Now I’m no publishing expert but it would make sense that if the first two books of a trilogy aren’t selling, then the publishing company isn’t going to be very eager to spend money on marketing the third book, since they won’t get enough of a return. And if there isn’t already a three-book deal signed, then they may not even move forward with publishing the final book at all. It’s clear that a reader choosing not to invest in a series before it’s finished affects the finished series itself. So to those waiting fans: if you know you’re going to read all three books anyways, there’s nothing to lose by buying the books as they come out – no one is forcing you to read a book the second you buy it. Or think of it this way: you’re spreading out the purchase of the trilogy over three years instead of paying it all at once.
That advice is fine for fans willing to pay for art. But there’s another camp of fans who most likely haven’t given a single dollar towards authors and artists they love. Buying used books, borrowing from friends, or downloading movies and music have their place – sometimes money is an issue and sharing art is important (and most major Hollywood blockbusters don’t need your few dollars). But if you really love the art someone makes – books, music or movies – you shouldn’t feel entitled to receive it for free. The money you give these artists allows them to continue making that art. And I don’t know about you, but I think art is worth a small investment. So consider buying that new book from that author you like or buying merch from that band you only ever stream on Spotify – I guarantee it will make a difference to the artist.