When am I going to get to read your book?

People have been asking me when they’re going to get to read my book. People I don’t know particularly well, and don’t really see as a part of my creative community.

Coworkers, mostly. The occasional family member. That fundamentalist preacher–who clearly would not like my book.

Nobody ever looks at a medical student, and says, So when are we gonna see some of this “gynecologisting”?

Anyway, a while back–when I was pressed for time and stupid enough to do it–I took some of my manuscript to work to edit over my (absurdly long) lunch hour. I figured people wouldn’t notice, but… of course, they did.

That’s the point where I should’ve lied.

Homework. It’s homework. (Which, by the way, was their first guess.)

Nope. I told the truth. And I’ve been suffering for it, ever since.

I’m a perfectionist. And a cynic. And that means that I’m usually afraid that if I don’t have every single comma in the right place, and every single i dotted just right, I’ll be driven out of town by an angry mob with pitchforks and torches.

I think the best thing in the world for me would be to print out copies of the next story, stand on a street corner somewhere, and hand them out.

Except… I could do that. Easily. As long as the street corner in question is somewhere else, filled with people I never have to see again.

For maximum benefit, it would have to be a street corner here in my own little world, filled with half-strangers and nearly-friends who I do have to see again.

Terrifying.

I’m simultaneously afraid they’ll look, shrug, and walk away, and afraid that they’ll look, laugh, and not walk away. That I’ll be left in a sea of laughter forever.

How much am I capable of trusting people? That may be something I have to work on. Suggestions?

3 thoughts on “When am I going to get to read your book?

  1. Juneta says:

    Nope, I say go with your gut. That is what I’m gonna do.

    When I was at work and people were asking stuff like that even down to how are you? When I gave an “real answer” or positive response, they looked like “Oh Shit, should have kept my mouth shut.”

    So if those people are not ones you call friend I wouldn’t worry about it and they just nosy parkers. If you offer to let them read the book you might get that “Oh shit look what have I gotten myself into look.”

    Its kind of funny really. I did it, and then let them off the hook with just “ah nevermind just kidding.” Beats being the uncomfortable because they put you on the spot by pressing or asking when it was very mild interest, sometimes just so they see the uncomfortable themselves, just saying.

    Or ignore me I’m jaded.

  2. Karen says:

    *LOL* Some of them might actually die, if I handed them a 100k manuscript to proofread. That could be fun to watch.
    Some of them would take it, and then feel obligated to read it no matter how much they hated it. And then, they’d say “nice” things, and have “suggestions”.
    And some of them… well, I could beat them over the head with uncomfortable, and never get through to the woman who told me all about her husband’s catheter.
    If I could figure out a way to do it, though… I’d like to lure a few of them away from the crowd to get their opinions. But there’ll be hell to pay, if I make somebody feel left out.
    It’s a delicate balance.

  3. jaime pond says:

    I say (1) focus on the people who are good critics, not necessarily whether you know them or not and (2) don’t show it to them until you’ve gotten it as good as you can get it without their feedback. No point in getting a critique on something you know you can make better with time.

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