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1. Every author wants everyone to read and love their books.

2. This will never happen.

3. The world's nicest people sometimes write books I don't care for

4. While I am not, sadly, the world's nicest person, I also write books that people simply don't care for.

5. If you don't care for my books--or even actively dislike them--I don't want you to duck out of sight anytime our paths cross. Unless you actively dislike me, in which case, go ahead.

6. I don't expect everyone to like my books. I've spent many, many years working in a bookstore where one of my chief joys is to match people with books they will actually like. This has caused me to develop certain reflexive habits. For instance:

Young boy at Confluence: A lot of my friends say your books are really good. Which one should I start with?

Me, standing at Larry & Sally's very fabulous display in the dealer's room: Well, what other authors and books have you read? What other books have you enjoyed?

Him: I really liked Old Man's War, by John Scalzi. Oh, and Ghost Brigades, and the Last Colony (which I once again mistyped as the Lost Colony, gah). (He then mentions a few more books--all SF).

Me: Well, those are all science fiction, and all of my books are fantasy novels. I'm not sure that you'll actually like them. But there are a number of authors I do think you'll like if you liked the Scalzi.

7. I don't expect everyone to read my books. Any of them. I am happy when people read them. I am grateful. But I am not conversely angered, irritated or depressed when they don't.

Not only do I not require you to come up to me and preface our first conversation with "I'm really sorry I haven't gotten around to reading your books yet…" or "I'm really sorry I haven't picked up your books yet…", but sometimes it's a little awkward to start said first conversation with reassurances that you haven't offended me. I know I can be a bit of an ogre--but not so much of one that I feel you've no business speaking to me at all if you haven't read my books--or if you've read them and hated them, or worse, were bored to tears. I haven't in all likelihood listened to your music, seen your art or inspected the electrical work you did on the construction site in your real life job -- and I don't want to have to feel horribly guilty for that, either.

Comments

(Deleted comment)
msagara
Aug. 2nd, 2010 01:52 am (UTC)
Yeah. I always kind of wonder why a stranger who hasn't read any of my books would want to engage me in conversation anyway

Sometimes at conventions people will say or do things I think are brilliantly funny or really thought-provoking or even heart-breaking on panels. I often haven't met them and don't know who they are otherwise--but I could see myself wanting to speak with them after.

Sometimes they want to introduce themselves because other people have said reasonable things about me. Sometimes they just like my dress. I don't know -- I can think of a lot of reasons why, at a convention, people who've never read my books would want to be social. And since part of the reason I'm out and about is to be social, I don't want them to somehow feel they don't have the right to even speak with me without apologizing for not reading the books, if that makes sense.
(Deleted comment)
marycatelli
Aug. 2nd, 2010 03:36 am (UTC)
Conventiosn are a good place for finding authors. People who sound like they have interesting things to say sometimes say interesting things in their books.
pentane
Aug. 2nd, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)
I actually started reading swan_tower because of a comment in another author's LJ when I had a conference call I needed to be dialed in to but not listen to (and hence a need to be entertained).

I find her LJ generally interesting, but I'm not a huge fan of her books (which I hadn't read until after about 8 months of occasional commeting in her LJ, at which point I felt somewhat of an obligation).