I'm a reader, a huge reader. I devour books and prefer them over television and movies. I doubt that will ever change. If I'm watching at home, I always have a book in my hand so I can read through the more boring parts of the show. I'm that type of reader, lol. I have my favorites, authors I stalk, waiting for their next book. And... I have moments where I think how awesome it would be if they did a story in the series with a particular storyline. Like this or that or, OMG! how about if this happened. I want to write them, just a short message to suggest my idea in case they haven't thought of it yet. What could it hurt? Right?
Wrong! The best way to kill a storyline is to write to an author and suggest it. It's not because authors are arrogant or rude or inconsiderate or any other negative reason. IT'S A LEGAL ISSUE! No, we're not accusing anyone of having ulterior motives. Most readers are just that, readers who are so fixated on the book, series, story, that they would never even consider slamming an author for using what they consider "their idea". Unfortunately, we've either encountered a reader who suggested something, maybe a storyline we'd already planned, and went screaming mad when the book came out if they weren't given credit. Some have even sued. Yes. Sued. It's behavior like that that makes authors immediately hit the delete button when they see a story idea in an email or message. It's nothing personal. It's business and a way to protect our careers.
Something else to note is that a lot of authors don't just come up with book one in a series. We develop the whole series, or at least the first few books in the series. Even if they aren't written or out yet, we usually know exactly where we're going, who is next, and what the storyline is going to be. The problem with making suggestions, no matter how innocent, is that if we do unwittingly get a glimpse of your suggestion before we realize what we're reading, then we're left with the decision of whether or not we now have to scrap the whole book idea and start fresh. It's very frustrating.
I know your heart is in the right place. I know most of you are so invested in the characters/series/story that you just want to help. I've been there. I've sent that email saying how cool it would be if the heroine was this. I never thought anything of it, and I sure wouldn't have cared if I was mentioned in the dedication or not. I just wanted to read that spin. However, bad apples have ruined this for all of us. Authors now have to guard themselves from potential law suits and threats they might not have considered before. It's a crazy world, and a few bad apples have most definitely made it crazier.
I wanted to share this with you so you'd understand why I send a polite thank you when ideas are suggested and tell you I deleted your email/message. That doesn't mean I'm upset with you, or don't appreciate you, or anything along those lines. I love all my readers. YOU are the reason I get to do what I love...write!
Huge hugs and lots of love to all of you! Thank you for loving our worlds as much as we love creating them. Readers really do rock!