Publishing a novel can be quite an extatic experience. Imagine an elated writer who throws his newly published book in the air, the same way graduates throw their caps. “I’ve finished!” He yells. “Everyone, enjoy!”. The book hits the ground and except from the closest family, nobody cares. Friends suddenly disappear with the excuse of being busy. They don’t read, don’t review, don’t pass the word.
No matter what you create, whether it’s novels, stories, poems, music, art or jewelry – you are hoping to sell it, and hence, it’s a business. If you google “what to do when friends don’t support your business”, you’ll find dozens of articles on the topic, and all will apply to your situation.
It hurts a lot when friends don’t support you. After you’ve licked your wounds, you realize that something needs to be changed. Most articles suggest two radical solutions: either you give up on your expectations or you give up on your friends. Before you choose the latter option, let’s talk about giving up on our expectations.
It’s helpful to realize that:
- Friends aren’t necessarily your target audience. (Food for thought: If you two weren’t friends, would you recommend them your book? Or would you seek another reader?)
- Friends have their own reading taste. And remember that “de gustibus non est disputandum”, meaning “in matters of taste, there can be no disputes”. (Food for thought: Are you into the same authors / genres? If they hate home cooking, but you expect them to read your recipe book, you might be wasting time trying to get any feedback.)
- Friends might lack time (or… not want to have it) to read books. If that’s the case, you might send them the article What to do if you hate reading?, but don’t expect miracles. Chances that they will read your epic poem of 300 pages in the name of friendship are quite slim.
- Friends might be afraid to tell the truth about your book. If they are sure they won’t like it, it’s easier for them to say that they’ve been busy, rather than hurt your feelings by saying “I don’t like it”. Take it into consideration.
- If friends don’t read your books, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care about you. Don’t discard a great friend just because they aren’t into your work. Instead, focus on other things that make this relationship work out. If you really, really need them to read your book, it’s best to explain to them, why.
- It’s not about friends anyway: you are desperate to be validated as an author and have your books read. I assure you, that once you’ve gathered a target audience and a review team, it won’t matter whether your friends are reading what you wrote. At the end of the day, it’s important that our friends have our backs and our readers read our books.
If you feel less angry with your friends after reading all of the above, and ready to forgive, good. But that’s only half of the journey.
You must learn how to convince strangers read your work. In this way, you’ll never run out of readers. Here are some tips:
- Improve the quality of your work. Re-read it again, hire a beta reader and an editor. They aren’t as expensive as everyone thinks, and their help can do wonders.
- Work on your self confidence as an author. If you know your strength and trust that the book you’ve written is good, you won’t need validation and encouragement from friends.
- Seek book reviewers within your target audience. Useful hashtags are #bookblog, #bookblogger, #bookstagrammer, #bookblr, #bookworm, #bookreview, #bookreviewer. If you combine them with genre hashtag, e.g. #historicalromance #bookblog, you will surely find who you are looking for.
- Learn the benefits of reaching out to book bloggers. They will probably read your book quickly and review it on their own platform, which will generate interest.
I have noticed that many people are dissatisfied with their relationships because they expect their close people to be everything at once. E.g. a woman is disappointed at her husband because he is not the best business partner she could have. Or, a father is upset with his second son because he won’t keep him company during fishing, (like the first son did). Authors believe that friends should become their first readers, etc. While it might be truly beneficial to accept that the circle of friends and the circle of readers don’t need to overlap. (Related article: What to do if you feel lonely as a writer?)
I hope this helps. Share your stories and feelings under this post and stay inspired! Also, if you like Always Inspired Writing, consider following me either on Twitter or WordPress! Thank you!