Fan Pressure?

Who do authors, singers and actors crave for? Fans, obviously. It is good for them to have a good number of people following them and their works. Is it always good, though?

Even if celebrities want to keep their lives secret, their fans want to know each and every aspect of their lives. This gives rise to (most of the times) nonsense gossips and “entertainment news”. We know many celebrated people, especially actors, being the victims of the paparazzi. I am not talking about actors and musicians, though. I am talking about authors. That’s because, not until recently, I have realized that author can succumb to fan pressure.

Authors want their books, and their stories to be read. They also want to huge number of faithful fans who read their stories, appreciate them and correct their mistakes, if the authors have made any. They would like to please their fans most of the times. The editors and publishers, too would want to publish their works quickly as possible. They think of caching in the popularity of authors at the moment so that sales increase. Writers complete their work. Publishers publish them. Readers read them. Errors- linguistic and technical seem to have increased. The authors have given what the fans wanted but they are not satisfied. Why?

Let’s look at a few real life examples, shall we?
The first in my list is Amish Tripathi. It was a post on his Facebook page that inspired me to write this article. I don’t remember what the post was, though I think it was about Lord Ram. His most recent novel, The Scion of Ikshvaku is the first in the Ramchandra series published last year. The first thing my mind said was, “When is the next book in the series coming up?” I went in to look at the comments and saw that some of his fans had already posted the thing that was in my mind. I paused for a while, scrolled up and down for a few seconds, and I realized, “We fans can be so impatient.” It has not been even a year since the first book’s publication and we are already demanding the sequel. I restrained from making a comment and moved out of the page.
I also remember reading the same author’s biography on Wikipedia. He had published his first two books of the Shiva Trilogy just within eleven months. The second book feels a little weaker than the first one. But because it was a trilogy, one could expect answers in the last book. Imagine the pressure he might have had in completing the series. He could just satisfy the readers and escape the questions related to the narrative. The last book is much bulkier- almost the size of the first two books together. Yet, it felt incomplete to me. Maybe because Shiva is not the hero he should have been. (See, I am creating a sort of fan pressure.)
So he came with the Ramchandra series. And in creating a perfect hero in Ram, Tripathi made him too idealist and one-dimensional. That’s what people are saying in the Goodreads, too.

Subin Bhattarai comes in next. It is hard to believe that a Nepali writer came with a Bhagatesque idea of young romance and gained a massive popularity among the youths. Summer Love (English name for a Nepali novel!) gave its writer a taste of success. Readers, especially teenagers, loved the narrative of a love-struck boy. But just as people are getting bored of Chetan Bhagat(who inspires the term Bhagatesque) , people got bored of his second novel. Saya (sounds Hindi) the second novel and a supposed series speaks with an altered narrative. Readers knew what would happen. So they just did not want the girl’s perspective on the story. And Bhattarai did not make it much convincing. Maybe some fan of his had asked for a story based on the girl’s perspective, he had written the second book, or maybe his initial success on a similar story might have inspired him but he could not impress his fans. Most of those who had not read Summer Love liked Saya, however. So if he can come up with a different content or a different taste, he still has the potential to become a good writer. (Plus, he has a good publishing team and that can be helpful to him.)

Some authors are lucky, however. The last author in this article is JK Rowling. When she published ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, she had never thought of the popularity it would gain. Yet her target group were children and all her mistakes were forgiven. She had a huge loyal fan base that helped her out. There are now so many information now available on Pottermore that were unanswered during the seven books of the series. I was not convinced. That’s why I have never visited Pottermore.

What shall I conclude that the end of this blog? I believe we all need faithful supporters, who can help us out when we are in trouble. But we should also be careful not to give in to the interest of the crowd. It’s your creation after all.

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4 thoughts on “Fan Pressure?

  1. I do not like trilogies. You have pointed out some of the reasons why. I feel used when left hanging. We are forced into buying another book. If I read ten or twelve books before the next one comes out, I will have forgotten who did what. Sometimes it is like taking a poll to know where to go next. And, if it is good, I don’t want to wait a year. Books in a series are all right with me if the story plot and conclusion are complete for the lead character. Sometimes I wait until all books are written before I start Book One.

    Liked by 1 person

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