When Rabid Fans Start Biting the Hand That Writes For Them

I awoke to a friend on a writer’s list asking us to support author Charlaine Harris, of the Sookie dead-ever-after vampire/mystery books, because someone in Germany who read the final title in the series  posted a spoiler online. On Ms. Harris’ facebook page, there are a 1,369 comments. Most, from my quick calculation, positive towards Ms. Harris and the series, but far too many are not just angry, but furious about how the author ended the book. Because Sookie, the protagonist, doesn’t go off happily into the sunset with their romantic choice. The fans have invested so much of their emotions into Sookie’s world, they have forgotten that she doesn’t exist, except on paper and in an excellent writer’s imagination. It says a great deal about the job Ms. Harris has done, when fans are compelled to wail about an ending not to their liking.

I’ve not read the series. Not for any particular reason other than laziness, but if there is this kind of outcry regarding the decisions characters make in her books, I darn well better pick one and and get going. After reading many books in a series, I do become invested in the character and that character’s friends, lovers, etc., and admit that when one is killed off, am very upset. And, if I really feel the series for me will be less enjoyable, I stop reading them. Quietly. Without fanfare, complaint, or public rabble-rousing. That in no way means the author doesn’t write well, quite the contrary, if I’ve become so attached to a character that their leaving the pages upsets me, the writer has done his or her job. In Ms. Harris’ case, death isn’t the issue, something to do with love lives. I will say no more, because I don’t know the spoiler, don’t want to know it, and even though the idiots posting on her facebook page keep repeating it, I ignored their rudeness by non-absorption.

Negativity doesn’t stop with only the spoiler. Self proclaimed ‘fans’ take the author to task for a multitude of what they consider sins. They hated the last 4 books–4 mind you. You’d think if they disliked one, the next three wouldn’t be chosen. One nitwit writes:

“I told my sisters that this was how it would end. Mrs. Harris I just wanted to say that I had not enjoyed your last 4 books because they were badly written. It seemed that after your contract was extended once again to 13 books you stopped caring about the story plot. And knowing you had a devoted fan vase left you lazy. The books had almost a “I’ll dish out crap and they’ll still buy it”. We did and we were disappointed once again. However knowing the end in fact has done nothing for me, I was dispassionate about buying and reading the last book and even more so about this one. Too bad you were once a good writer.”

I’m from the old school–respect the author to their face, and hello, that’s what FACE book is. I may grumble and bitch about how badly I feel something was written to fellow readers, friends, but never never to the person who spent hours holed up with a computer screen and nothing else.  One of the things I never got used to or understood–when some fellow booksellers sneering at authors in a general way, and not necessarily being warm when they would come for informal or formal signings. If you sell their product, don’t you think it behooves you to at least be grateful for something to sell, however bad you believe the work to be?  I would become their number one fan, even without having read their book. I rooted for them, because their success would be mine as well. Obviously, the reading public has no such investment–other than money. And if they pay for a book, they do have a right to like or dislike it. However, buying a book doesn’t entitle you to rudeness, or obnoxiousness, go look it up in Emily Post–oh that’s right, most people have no idea what the word etiquette means, let alone practice it. Here’s a back handed smack and then so called compliment after:

“Unfortunately spoilers for books and other things are now a common thing on the internet, and I’ve gotten quite used to trying to avert my eyes away from them. However, in this case I, personally, do appreciate these spoilers as they have saved me from wasting time and money on something that would have just made me unhappy. Honestly, I was probably going to wait until after I read some reviews before purchasing this book anyways next month, so this entire situation really doesn’t change anything for me…just gives me my decision a couple of weeks earlier. And I absolutely agree with all those who’ve said that these are Charlaine’s books and her characters and her story. Yes. They certainly are. But MY money and MY time won’t be wasted with them any more, nor with any of her other books. Not when I can move on to other stories that do satisfy me. Anyways, thanks Ms. Harris, for the earlier books that were enjoyable and some great characters and I’ll always be grateful for all the wonderful friends I’ve found through being a part of the online fandom of these books in the past. Nothing but best wishes for you and all your fans.”

Yes, nothing but the best from one of the delusional that was  part of an online fan base but because the fictional character didn’t behave in the manner that she wanted,  a basic go f___ yourself to you and anything that you even think about writing in the future. LOL LOL.  I love the ‘anyways’ within her sentence. No worries about this erudite individual, I’m sure she will find literature that will ‘satisfy’ her elsewhere. Good luck to that author.

That’s another kettle of idiocy altogether. Do people who write publicly on facebook or elsewhere understand that their words are there forever? Or at least until Ms. Harris is sick of the people who trash her  and shut it down. I babble here, but know that I’m babbling towards a specific audience, not a specific person. I sometimes think people write things online with the idea that they are talking in a room with friends and none of it will be remembered.

Most of the fans who wrote say wonderful things about the books, Ms. Harris, her writing, and express outrage and disappointment at the individual who outed the ending. They take to task those who are rude. Nevertheless, it’s the loudest of those on the site that get the attention, no surprise, and what caught my disgusted eye. To those individuals, try to remember fiction is just that, make believe. You do understand that vampires don’t exist right? You’re not out wearing prosthetic teeth and drinking fake blood are you? Wearing capes and pretending to be characters in her books? Good. I’m glad to hear that you are semi sane. Ranting about how disappointed you are in the life choice of a fictional character, however, comes awfully close to those pointy teeth, and I recommend stepping back from the edge, taking a deep breathe, and remember the axiom, if you’ve nothing nice to say, say nothing. It will save you being quoted here and elsewhere, making you look the fools you are.