Whenever people find out I'm an author, or are reminded that I am an author (because I don't go around with a typewriter connected to the ends of my fingers at all times--though I'd like to,) they almost always very quickly remind me:
Oh, I'm going to read your book! Or I keep meaning to read your book! Or ohmigosh, I looked for your book the other day (in some obscure brick & mortar book store that only Big 6 pubbed authors get paper copies into,) but couldn't find it anywhere!
Translation: You haven't read my book yet, and aren't sure you want to.
Well, this post is here to tell you it's okay. It's okay that you haven't yet purchased my books. It's okay that you haven't yet read my books. It's okay that you have a billion other things going, and sitting down to read a novel isn't on your priority list. It's okay that you haven't read a book since college. It's okay that you aren't sure you want to, because we know each other in real life, and if you think my books sucks, you're afraid there will be weirdness between us.
I understand. I get it.
Here's what's not okay:
It's not okay to say you've read it, but clearly haven't--as proven when I ask you what your favorite part was, and you gulp, then mumble, "The whole thing." You didn't read it. It's not okay when you say you'll read it, but the truth is you think romance novels are the Walmart of the literary world, and you're too snobby to try one out--and you'd rather tote around that dog-eared copy of Steinbeck, because it looks cooler. You didn't read it. It's not okay when you tell me you won't read my books, because they're (mostly) only available in eBook form, and you're a "purist," so you only read paper books while drinking lattes in a locally owned, but super obscure coffee shop, while stroking your hipster beard, and/or adjusting your RayBan wayfarer glasses. You didn't read it. And it's not okay to brag to people that "My (insert relationship definition here) is an author, and I'm so proud of her! Isn't she amazing! I'm her biggest fan!" when in fact, you haven't read all, if any, of my actual books. You didn't read it.
I'm just of the mindset that if you haven't read my books, just say so. Just own it. It's okay. I won't hate you. I might be disappointed, but I won't hate anyone for not reading my books. Books are subjective and what rocks one person's world, might just tick another person off, and that's okay. I like some books, and hate others. So do you. That's okay. What's not okay is pretending there's an interest, when there's clearly not.
I get this a lot with family members. Or, I used to. When I got my first publishing contract, everybody was super impressed and proud. But that quickly waned. Once The What If Guy came out, it became clear to everyone that I'd written something beneath their reading level, and they weren't particularly interested my genre. (Which is silly, as Romance is the #1 selling genre in America, but whatever, I digress...) So by book 2's debut, a lot fewer friends and family came to my book signings, and by books 3, 4, 5, and so on....each hit the market with little to no fan fare, except for that my online readership provided--thanks, guys! <3
It has become clear to me by book 10, that I'll never be considered a successful author by family, and that's okay. My books are mostly eBooks, and whether the world of hipster "purists" want to accept it or not, that's where the world is headed. There will always be paper book, but without opening yourself up to the world of eBooks, you'll literally miss out on thousands, if not millions, of incredible books! Not to mention college. Someday college textbooks will (mostly) be available in eBook form, and when that happens, those "purists" are going to be S.O.L. The bottom line is: much like microwave ovens and cell phones...eBooks are just they way the world is moving. Refusing to read books that are only available in eBook is self-limiting, and at some point, you'll have to give in and accept what's inevitable. I remember saying I'd never have a cell phone or iPod. I loathed them. But now I am an iPhone whore. This is fact. Denying the importance and value of an eBook is futile. Eventually we'll all read them, whether you like it or not. #sorrynotsorry
The same goes for those who haven't read a book since college, and just don't want to read my work because they don't enjoy reading fiction. Believe me, I get it. I'm married to one of those types. Sure, it's perfectly fine not to read my books, but you're missing out on such a beautiful world. Escapism at it's best can be found in books, mine included, why would anybody want to miss out on that??
Not only as an author, but as a voracious reader, I beg you all to grab a book and read it. Maybe not mine, but anyone's book....grab it and read it. And if you ARE a reader, but have limited yourself by your "purist" attitude and elitist dislike of all things romantic fiction, why not give it a try? See what all the hype is about, and stop limiting yourself. It isn't the country's most popular genre for nothing...
And so help me, just be honest. No more awkward moments where you promise me that you're going to read my books, when you have no intention or interest in doing so. It's okay. I won't be too hurt. Books are subjective, and my books aren't for everyone. Just don't lie and say you're on the verge of reading it, when we both know you're not. That's awkward. And for the love of Oprah Winfrey, do yourself a favor and pick up something, anything to read. You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't. Books are the bomb.
Just my two cents.