So remember last week when I said, No one gets to demand or direct art from artists? Well, I suppose I should include an exclusion clause for anyone who paid the artist to do the work and they haven’t delivered. Patrick Rothfuss, who is a great writer of fantasy but is perhaps more famous for being even more overdue on his book than George Martin, has woken up to the news that his editor is now perhaps as publicly displeased with him as she is privately. Can anyone think of other examples of this sort of extraordinary shaming step with other author editor combos?
Betsy Wollheim, Rothfuss’ editor and president of publisher DAW Books, posted multiple messages on Facebook indicating her dissatisfaction with the fantasy author’s progress on the highly anticipated Book 3 in The Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy—currently titled The Doors of Stone—saying, in one reply to a Facebook friend, “I’ve had enough.”
Wollheim was initially responding to an article on the publishing news and book recommendation site Book Riot, which pushed back against the widespread discontent from fans at the long wait for The Doors of Stone after the 2011 publication of the second book in the trilogy, The Wise Man’s Fear. While that article didn’t mention Wollheim by name, the editor objected to several points raised in it, including a portion that speculated Kingkiller Chronicle delays may be due to a lengthy editorial process.
“I’ve never seen a word of book three,” Wollheim wrote in the initial post, which was first highlighted by the science-fiction and fantasy blog The Wertzone on Sunday.
While Wollheim partially agreed with the central argument of the article—that readers shouldn’t feel entitled to dictate how Rothfuss spends his time—she also asked, “but what about the publishers who paid them?”
“When authors don’t produce, it basically f**ks their publishers,” Wollheim wrote, arguing that publishers rely on “their strongest sellers” to keep financially afloat.