People often tell me when they purchase, read, or are in the process of reading one of my books. This includes family, friends, people who follow my blog, Facebook friends, etc. Even though I know these individuals are just trying to be nice, I have to be honest . . . it drives me nuts!
WAIT! Before you shake your head while mumbling “what a bitch” under your breath and unfollow me, please hear me out.
I know, I know. I should be appreciative that people even consider my books. I swear to you, I am. The problem is, when someone tells me they intend to read one of my books or have already done so but offer zero feedback, I can’t help but become paranoid.
Old Friend From High School: Hey, just bought a copy of your book! Can’t wait to read it.
What I Say: Thank you so much! That means a lot to me. Can’t wait to hear what you think. 🙂
What I Think: Oh, my God. I wonder if she’s really going to read it or if she’s just making conversation . . . Oh, my God. If she does read it, what if she thinks that one part is about her?
Facebook Friend: Hey! Saw your book was on sale last week so I one-clicked it. Really enjoying it so far.
What I Say: Yay! Thank you so much! So happy to hear you’re enjoying it. 🙂
What I think: Please don’t hate my book. Please don’t hate my book. Is she still going to want to be friends if she hates my book? Please don’t hate my book. Please don’t hate my book.
Distant Relative I Met Once When I was 10: “Hey Kristie! Aunt Mary loaned me a copy of your book. I finished it last week. Wow, I can’t believe we have an author in the family!”
What I Say: “Thank you so much for reading, Distant Relative! I really appreciate your support. Are you an avid reader? If so, I’d love to be friends on Goodreads.”
What I Think: I’m not even sure I know who Aunt Mary is . . .Well, what did you think of it?? . . . Hmm. Maybe If I bring up Goodreads, she’ll rate it.
And when I don’t receive updates from people, that’s when the heavy paranoia sets in and my brain becomes overloaded with assumptions and whiny thoughts, many of which are verbally expressed ad nauseam to my poor husband.
“I know so-and-so read my book. Why didn’t she write a review?!”
“Why would he tell me he purchased a copy of my book only to never mention it again? I wonder if he even read it. Even worse, what if he read it and hated it?!”
“Well, I guess she hated it. Excuse me while I cry myself to sleep.”
Ugh. I’m lucky my husband is such a great listener, and I’m even luckier that he isn’t afraid to remind me that the paranoia has everything to do with me and nothing to do with them.
Even so, if you’re the friend or family member of an author, I propose the following order of operations if you are genuinely interested in reading her work:
Or even better:
And if you’re an author, try to keep in mind that most people who mention they purchased, read, or are currently reading your work are truly trying to support you. It just might not occur to the majority of that lot that you’d appreciate feedback, and a good portion probably don’t understand how important reviews are to an author (indie or traditional). Plus, people are just plain busy!
I know I need to take my own advice. Trust me, I’m trying. 🙂