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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

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.