I was going to write a post about beta reading, but I figured, what’s the fun in writing something I’ve never had experience with (but hopefully will soon.) So, I’ll start with a story.
I wrote a lot when I was in my last two years of high school. We moved to a different state where I went to a small school and had no friends–a big difference from where I came from, where I spent the fall and spring on the varsity crew team and summers at the mall with friends. I had nothing to do, so I wrote, and it took me out of the world I was living in and brought me to where I desperately wanted to be: someplace else.
Back then, I did have people I was close to that read my work. My dad read a few chapters of my first ever completed book, Living Brighter, and so did one of my friends from back home. But over time, no one else felt like reading. In fall of 2012, I finished Euphoria, my least popular book. My sister asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I said, “All I want is for you to read Euphoria.” The story was about 80 pages long at the time, and being a fast reader, I figured it wouldn’t take her more than a few hours. Christmas morning, to my disappointment, I was given a Spongebob DVD.
Two weeks ago, my mom had surgery and couldn’t leave the house. She told me before I left for work, “What am I going to do all day?”
“Read Saving Flight 926. I need feedback before doing the rewrite,” I said. “You know how to get on my Wattpad.”
Nine hours later when I returned home, she had not even gone through Wattpad, and was instead playing Cookie Jam. And don’t even get me started on how much I have to beg my boyfriend to click through a chapter.
At the end of the day, I mostly feel disappointed. All I think is, “Is my writing that awful?” These are the people who encourage me constantly. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. But then I realized that there are probably a million other fellow writers who are having the same problem.
So, what do you do if no one wants to read? Here’s what I learned.
1. Don’t Beg
Begging can lead to people being forced to read if they don’t want to, and the classic, “I’ll check it out right now.” While you sit there awkwardly and wait for them to finish (which has happened to me way too many times.)
2. Try to Understand
Maybe my mom just wanted to play Cookie Jam instead. Maybe your friend and relatives are actually busy. Or, try putting yourself in their shoes. Personally if it was me I’d be reading my friends’ things like I always do, BUT maybe they just don’t want to. I mean, everyone has things they don’t want to do.
3. Come to Terms With It
While it does feel upsetting and insulting, I’ve come to terms with the fact that some people may just not want to read your stuff. Why would my boyfriend want to read a gooey romance? Or why would my sister want to read fantasy when she loves horror? And you know what? If they don’t want to read it, that’s OKAY. As authors, we know that tons of people won’t like our work, and our friend and family are just a handful.
4. Don’t Let it Stop You
Long story short, don’t let anything stop you from going after your writing dreams.
It really stinks when people we’re close to won’t read the work we’ve put so much time into. While it may be hard to understand why, it is possible.