Is it just me, or am I the only one whose nose is getting put out of joint by writers who act ungraciously in their acknowledgments, forewords, and/or afterwords?
My wife called to my attention the "Author's Note" at the beginning of a book by a best-selling thriller writer. Writer declares that he made certain things up and took some liberties with geography, "so please don't send me letters telling me that I'm wrong about all of this."
The Website of a best-selling writer (who, honestly, I don't think is that good) offers you a Web form in which to type your comments but basically tells you not to expect a response, because he is a Very Busy Man.
Here's a quote from an afterword whose tone I found a bit offputting: "The action is set in 2008 and is consistent with the calendar, although not necessarily the weather. But, mainly, I sat in front of my computer and made stuff up. That's what novelists do."
Another disheartening moment: Writer of a sequel to a hugely best-selling book writes an afterword in which he bad-mouths the now-classic film version of the first book, seeming resentful that more people remember the movie's ending, which differs from the book's ending. (By the way, the movie ending is better.)
Then there's a favorite writer of mine -- not someone I publish, just someone whose work I love -- who complains in the last book of the series that he has grudgingly agreed to write a few more books, but then that will be it, because he needs to move on.
My friends, I'd like to put all of you into a very large cocktail shaker and shake some sense into your ungrateful little heads. OK, most of you are quite talented, and all of you at least know how to tell a story. But don't you think you mess with your karma just a little bit when you say things like this? You complain that readers write to you ... when there are thousands of struggling writers out there who would kill to have that "problem"? You complain that you want to stop writing about a beloved serial character ... and admit that you're only going to write a few more books as a sop to fans (and probably for the money)? You're a multi-millionaire not only because of your books but also because you've sold very lucrative film rights ... and you bad-mouth a movie that's considered a classic, by a highly respected director? You win all kinds of awards and have an enviable book-a-year deal ... and you close by condescending to your readers, telling them "that's what novelists do" (as if they didn't know that already)?
Please, writers: Create your characters. Tell your stories. Thrill us and surprise us. But don't make us think you're spoiled brats who don't appreciate what you have. In other words, please think long and hard about what you put in those long-winded acknowledgments and prefaces.