Susan Miller is the unrivaled Queen of Astrology. She is known for her affable delivery, her reverence in the world of fashion and, most importantly, her accurate horoscope forecasts which she publishes monthly to her site Astrologyzone.com.
Miller's monthly forecasts—generating 6.5 million unique monthly visitors—are released on the first of each month as her readers anxiously wait to see, they believe, what their future holds and to use the readings to help guide their real life decisions. Her fans are devoted and some might even say rabid. Many readers will begin to panic if an updated forecast isn't published on AstrologyZone on the first of the month. If such a horror occurs, the anxiety only increases as the horoscope-less days tick away.
The Atlantic published a story in July centered around the fallout that occurs when Miller is late with her forecasts. It has happened occasionally before, but this July, when it became clear that she was going to be more than a week late, the backlash mounted. A Facebook group was created called Abandoned By Susan Miller (ABSM, which has been modified to also read as Astrology Resources Bliss Resources Spiritual Resources Mindful Resources) by scorned readers and Refinery 29 published a coping guide for fans as they wait for September's report.
However, most of the logically-inclined would agree that Miller has a legitimate excuse for her tardiness—she has been ill for months.
Based off of anecdotal evidence and Miller's own words, it would seem that she is telling the truth. In a February 2013 profile with The Cut, Molly Young describes Miller's delicate health.
During the previous two weeks, she has broken her wrist and received a diagnosis of pneumonia, and there may also be a blood clot in her lung—a "tiny, tiny, tiny" one, Miller says, "but they think it might be an offshoot of a bigger one."
Young later notes that despite it all, Miller continues to work hard on the monthly horoscopes with "five bottles of prescription pain medication atop the end table in her living room."
Members of Susan Miller's staff have posted updates on her health to her official Facebook page and Miller herself has addressed her health on Twitter. The current landing page of AstrologyZone reads:
Susan is ill. The injections of medicine have had an adverse effect, as we anticipated they might. The forecasts for September will be posted as quickly as possible. -AstrologyZone.com IT
Her illness seems to be the primary reason Miller has been unable to deliver her forecasts. However, whether Miller is sick or not, the horoscopes in and of themselves are enormous undertakings. (She also contributes columns to ten international fashion magazines on top of the work published to her site.) Miller says that each individual forecast is about 3,500 words long, which ends up being around 42,000-48,00 words total. That results in 430,000 words per year.
Jon Methven at The Atlantic helps frame the magnitude of the numbers:
To put that in perspective, 430,000 words is equivalent (in sheer volume) to writing Ulysses and Lolita in the same year; or spending the year penning Slaughterhouse-Five, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Middlemarch; or writing the first four Harry Potter books; or putting together nearly all of War and Peace.
These monthly horoscopes cost nothing, meaning that the bulk of the service she provides is free to readers. She has books for sale and of course generates advertising revenue, but most people are lapping up her time-intensive forecasts for free.
Fans are taking Miller's lateness particularly poorly this month. The following message was posted to her Facebook page:
"The medicine I am taking is made to resist my immunity, so I caught something. I am working as hard as I can, I will try to get it done over the weekend. I am doing the very best I can, but I am struggling under very difficult conditions.
The summaries are done. I could have just put up the summaries, but I am trying to give you all the whole complete report. That's the problem, it takes me time and the medicine is making me drowsy. Thank you for your support and patience."
So, just to recap: Miller is producing, almost singlehandedly, a mind-boggling amount of content mostly for free and the people who enjoy said free content are freaking the absolute fuck out on her for being sick. Seems reasonable.
Late last night Miller gave an update on this month's report.
Look, I sort of get it. These people expect their horoscopes every month at a certain time and it sucks to not get something you were counting on. However, being on immunosuppressants seems like a legitmate excuse for missing out on most things.
What's also interesting is that many of the commenters are hung up on this idea of "professionalism." They claim that Miller's lateness is unprofessional—a point you have to be particularly entitled to raise when you're demanding the production of a non-necessary good that you personally are not even paying for.
God forbid something serious were to happen to Susan Miller, what would these people do? Being so dependent upon a horoscope reading seems dangerous for a whole slew of reasons—truly a first world problem if ever there was one.