What the heck is the proper etiquette between authors and their friends (or family)?
When I first wrote my book and put it out there for reading, I was asking everybody if they’d read it because I was excited. It turns out, most friends are not nearly as excited about the book as the author is. Some don’t even have the desire to read the book, much to the author’s chagrin. But hey, not everybody likes to read books at all. It’s a sad truth I cannot fathom, but have learned to accept (though I grieve for these people and I say a prayer for their souls).
Putting people on the spot was getting awkward. I even had one friend who confessed she could not read my book because she couldn’t get past my female protagonist having a boy’s name. At least this friend was honest, and I respect that. Instead of getting my feelings hurt and taking the lack of interest personally, I figured if my friends read the book they would tell me about their experiences after the fact, so I would no longer pester them (well, that’s how part of me made peace, while the other part still feels true friends should be supportive and read it even if they aren’t book lovers). I did get some great responses and support this way.
Then there are the ones who I think read the book, but I’ve heard nothing from them about it. This is the other awkward part. At first, I figured this meant they did not like the book and just didn’t want to have to tell me. I guess I relate to this because I hate hurting people’s feelings and would personally probably avoid the discussion if I were in that situation. It’s like when people have babies. Most people will fawn all over a baby because it’s what’s expected, but I cannot be the only one who thinks they don’t usually get cute for at least a few months…maybe (and some never do). I’m not going to sell out and tell a mother her baby is cute if it’s a blatant lie and I think they all look a bit like big-headed aliens. Instead, I will find a positive aspect and focus on that, leaving out the rest. I know- I’m awful. Whatever. At least I won’t lie.
But then I found that some of these people had not finished reading the book. Sure, I like to finish a book as quickly as possible, but especially for the non-aggressive readers, or the seldom ever readers, this is acceptable. At least they have let me know their intentions. I appreciate that. At least one of these turned out to be excited to read the sequel and get back into reading.
I also found that some are reading and enjoying the book, but just haven’t bothered to tell me. I know this because I overheard a friend telling someone else what a good book I had written, but she never mentioned her thoughts to my face. Could be she forgot. Could be it’s awkward for the friend as well. Could be my friends don’t know if it will make me feel awkward, or a gazillion other weird possibilities. Mostly, I think it’s just unclear what the proper etiquette should be between an author and her friends. I know I’ve supported other writer friends because I understand the need, but maybe some are just shy about it. Whatever it is, I’ll keep on plugging and hope I don’t have to hold any babies.