I am a creator, and as a creator, I’m guaranteed to write something, at some point, which will displease someone.

This Someone might be driven to never buy another book of mine again. Or this Someone may decide they’ll stick to books from only one or two worlds, because they like those best. Or maybe this Someone may feel compelled to write an email to me with demands for me to go back to writing stories they like because those stories are their favorites and they feel cheated by my publishing stories set elsewhere.

I have something to say about these reactions.

For the Someone who never wants to buy another of my books/stories again: I encourage you to find other books and stories you like by other authors, whether or not you choose to continue buying from me. As I said above, I can’t please all people all the time, and if you feel your money and time are best spent on other authors’ books, I applaud your willingness to try out new material. I’d never want someone to think they must buy my books if they find something about them they don’t like, and if someone’s angry enough to vow never to buy my stuff again, I’m not going to try to convince them otherwise. It’s my loss, and it’s something I can accept. I’d rather the reader be happy with a different author’s book or story than unhappy with mine.

For the Someone who decides they’ll stick with only one or two specific worlds: Thank you. It’s loyal readers like you who make an authors’ career. I honestly don’t care if you don’t like the other stuff I write as long as you find something you’re happy with from what I’ve written. I encourage you to try new worlds of mine as stories set on them come out, but I’m not going to force you to do it, and if you don’t want to, that’s fine by me too. The truth is, if my work, even of only a couple specific worlds, has touched you in any way, I’m glad to have made that connection with you and appreciate your loyalty. It means a lot.

For the Someone who feels compelled to demand I cater to their desires: Your sense of entitlement is appalling. No creator, of any work, regardless of medium, has any duty to serve your desires specifically. I don’t care if you couch your complaints as advocating for all those other people who have expectations of my writing. The fact is, my writing is mine first. While I may do my best to work on specific stories set on certain worlds to get them finished and ready for publishing, I do them by my schedule, not anybody else’s. If you feel I’m doing such a bad job in providing your entertainment, I encourage you to seek other modes of entertainment to fill your needs. It is not now, has never been, and never will be any content creator’s job to attend to your specific entertainment needs. Most of us get into the creative endeavors we do because we see something in them that calls to us, and I’d like you to consider moving on to something that calls you just as deeply. We are not here to serve you alone. We are here to fulfill our dreams; if what we do pleases you as well, all to the good. If, however, you are displeased by something we’re doing or not doing, it’s up to you to find something else to occupy and/or entertain yourself with. It is no content creator’s job to attend your every whim. If that means I lose your loyalty, so be it. I’d rather lose your loyalty than force either of us to endure a situation neither of us will find pleasant.

I know this is a bit premature (probably by a number of years), but it’s been on my mind on and off for a long time. I keep seeing other creators having to contend with demanding fans who are unhappy with something they’re doing or not doing. We’re human, we creators, and we have a duty to keep our creativity and interest in our endeavors fresh, and this sometimes requires moving on to something new. While those who purchase or otherwise acquire our content for entertainment have a right to enjoy it, they don’t have a right to control our production or output of it. We creators do what we do for love of the work; if we wanted to be beholden to someone else for our productivity, we’d all have regular jobs—and some of us do. That still does not mean a consumer of our entertainment products should be able to dictate to us how and when and why we create what we create.

And if you have trouble with this concept, just consider how awful it feels for you when you’re required to do something you don’t want to do during your free time, when you’d rather be enjoying yourself by doing something you consider fun.