Monday, March 8, 2010

Strangers (Reading) on a Train

PopTarts A thought hit me the other day, as I was balancing all the promoting and writing and blogging and tweeting activities that have completely taken over my waking hours.

Soon, strangers will be reading my book. Strangers who have paid their hard earned money to buy it and devoted their precious time to read it.

Strangers, as in people I don't know at all. (I'm not including those in the world of publishing--it's their job to read manuscripts. I'm talking about "regular" strangers.)

Of course, on some level, that's been my goal since I started writing. To get published and develop a readership beyond my family and small circle of friends. But I guess I never realized how weird that would feel. My words, my ideas, my stories being read--and judged, on some level--by people I don't know and won't ever meet. They won't have any history with me to color their opinions. No filtering lens of my personality to gaze through.

These strangers won't know, for instance, that I exercise and try to eat right when they read about my characters scarfing Pop-Tarts for breakfast. They won't know how honest I am when they read about my deceitful characters and their underhanded exploits.

All they will know about me is what they infer from my writing. I'll be judged solely on the words before them. Weird.

The next logical question is: what will these strangers think?

On one hand, I could say that I write my stories for me. But, being honest (and pragmatic), I'd also have to say I write for my readers-to-be. I want them to be entertained. I want them to be moved by my words.

I want readers to enjoy my writing.

(Side note: I've already gotten a little feedback. I've been fortunate that DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD has received a couple reviews, from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. And I guess I've been doubly fortunate that both reviews have been complimentary.)

In a few weeks, I'll start to get more feedback from strangers.

I sure hope they like my book.


(This entry is “simul-posted'” on InkSpot.)



Stephen Parrish said...

I sure hope they like my book.

A very smart editor with impeccable taste picked your manuscript over piles and piles of others, so you must have done something right.

I pre-ordered my copy of Diamonds from Amazon Germany.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I still have that same feeling of awe that people I don’t know chose to read my book. I’m totally overwhelmed when they take the time to say something nice about the book either as a review or in an email to me since I know they don’t have to do anything.

Elspeth Futcher said...

There's nothing wrong with Pop Tarts. I'm just saying. There's also nothing more delightful than getting messages from strangers who have enjoyed my games. It's odd - but very nice.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually much more sanguine about strangers reading what I've written than people I know reading it - *especially* when it comes to family! IE, the people who know more about you than anyone else and will be the first to ask themselves 'Now what on earth possessed her to write *that*?' ... especially if the scene involves sex, murder or anything else you wouldn't want to do in front of the neighbours!

Alan Orloff said...

Stephen - Ditto, likewise, and right-back-atchoo. May is getting close!

Jane - You're absolutely right. Some readers go above and beyond and I think that is so cool. Or at least I will think that, if it ever happens to me.

Elspeth - As a lad, I used to eat them periodically. Brown sugar cinnamon was my fav flavor, until they came out with an iced fudge flavor. It took a few years, but I've kicked the habit.

Hampshire - What? You don't do that stuff in front of your neighbors? Booorringgg!! :)

Lorel Clayton said...

It sounds scary and exciting at the same time. Maybe you should embrace the fact that now you can be mysterious (except we who read your blog will know the truth).
I have to admit I used to read a lot of Stephen King when I was a teen, but I never looked up anything about the author. I just assumed he was a bit creepy in real life. But when I read "On Writing" I got a clearer sense of him as a person and his real voice and it wasn't anything like I thought. Let people make they're assumptions--it never hurt King's sales. Anyone interested in the real you can do a bit more work to find out the truth.

Lorel Clayton said...

*their* assumptions. I can't believe I did that. So humiliating...