On a recent trip to Florida, I was visiting with some of my wife’s relatives. Over lunch and dinner, they would inquire about my book, asking questions about plot and character, until finally Elysha’s grandmother told one of these relatives to buy the book. “Don’t ask him what the book is about,” she said, irritation in her voice. “He’s related to you. Go buy his book!”
I appreciated her support, especially since I have a miserable time summarizing my books. But as these people were asking about my book, I also wondered why they hadn’t bothered to read it, especially considering I am now related to them and they knew I was coming for a visit. I mean, if my wife’s uncle had written a book on the history of the Russian ballet slipper, I would have at least given the book a skim prior to sitting down with lunch with him.
A few weeks ago I learned that a very good friend had also not read my book, and while I had a lot of fun pretending to be offended (I tried to un-friend her on Facebook via my phone), I was also a little surprised that someone so close to me hadn’t gotten around to reading it. It’s not like I have a dozen novels from which to choose. It’s my first book, and had a friend of mine published a book, I think I’d make damn sure to read it as quickly as possible.
It’s not that I was upset or offended by the lack of attention that these people had given to my book. While I know people who have turned the process of being offended into a favorite past time, I can’t remember the last time that someone actually offended me. I’m just a little surprised and a little mystified as to why they might not choose to read the book.
But are my expectations unrealistic? Is it perfectly acceptable for out-of-state relatives and close friends to not read my first novel?
How do other authors feel when they discover that a close friend or family member has not read their book?