In response to this debacle where a famous author (see this post: http://armchairelvis.tumblr.com/post/47652960362/ingridmatthews-threestories ) is being an asshole to fans of a series she isn’t even involved with, but seems to think she gets to police the fandom, I wanted to write a brief summary of how I intend to treat my fans and fans in general if and when this whole “being an author” thing pans out.
You can hold me to this.
(I’m putting it under a cut so you don’t have to scroll through a wall of text if you’d rather skip).
1. I will not bash ships or tell my fans that their ships are stupid, invalid, or wrong. They may not be canon, but I will not call them “wrong.” Just because I didn’t write something with romance in mind or just because two characters are not a couple in canon doesn’t mean someone’s interpretations, headcanon, or views of the characters are less important than the canon pairing. The shipper may be doomed to perpetual disappointment if I just don’t plan to make their ship canon, but their experience as a fan and as a shipper is still important to me. Everyone’s experience in a fandom is unique and precious. I want people to care enough about my characters that they want to ship them in the first place.
2. I will not claim to know more about something than a fan “ever could” just because I’ve researched it extensively, particularly when it involves things I have not experienced personally. I may know more about bone fractures than most doctors, for example, but that doesn’t mean I know more about what a broken leg is like than someone who has actually broken their leg. It would be wrong of me to make that assumption. I also won’t claim to be an authority on something I *have* experienced, because if two people break their legs, those are still two different stories. They can relate, but one is not an authority on the other’s unique experience. That seems like common sense, but Ms. Hinton didn’t seem to get it.
3. My fans will, under no uncertain circumstances, have my complete and utter gratitude. Writers owe more to their readers than our readers owe to us. Sure, if I get published I will feel that I earned it, but if I get famous it will be entirely because of my readers. There will be none of this arrogant holier-than-thou bullshit we see from Ms. Hinton in the above-linked Twitter exchange.
4. I will ask my fans to be nice to each other. Fans of a work are all there because they love it, and they should be happy to have a community of other people who share their passions.
5. I will discourage fans from ship wars and elitism at every opportunity. Again, we’re all in it for the story. No need to ruin the experience for one another over things that boil down to matters of opinion.
6. I will listen. Fans will not be writing my books for me, but if a huge majority want to see me write more about blah character or include blah kind of character or pairing in my future works, I’ll at least consider it thoughtfully and let them know I am doing so.
7. I’ll try to avoid ship-teasing. I don’t write a lot of romantic stuff in my books, but the pairings I do have tend to develop slowly and stick together like glue. If a ship looks like it’s going to happen, odds are it will.