Monday, April 7, 2014

Unexpected

When I finally gathered up the courage to publish my first book, Peeling the Onion, I thought that would be the end of the road. I had written most of it over a period of about 5 years, in a series of essays rather than one continuous story. I revisited it, at first fairly frequently to flesh it out, pare it down or just correct typos. I 'published' the stories on my personal website, where it sat, if not forgotten definitely neglected. Then I revived it, refreshed it and posted it on a blog, finally I self published it after much encouragement from my family.

The book relates some of the major experiences in my life, or at least, the events that made the most impression on me, as true as my memory and perception allows, any untruth is more by omission than distortion of facts. I saw no reason to dwell on topics that might be painful or unkind to others. And, naturally, there were long periods in my life that were absolutley not worth writing about. Most of the book was written as a form of therapy for me, and I suppose the fact that I did find sufficient belief in myself to 'go public' must mean the therapy worked?

But that was not the end of the road, it was the beginning of two new roads. The first, more obvious one, is the second book, which I am currently working on - in so far as I am researching my subject and arranging and rearranging my ideas in my head, soon it will be time to start the real work. But meanwhile, the second road was completely unexpected. As I watch the sales I wonder who is reading my book? what do they think of it?  I guess that is why well known authors do book signings, it is not just to sell books, it is to meet the readers and be in touch with who is buying and reading their work.

I never expected how much I need to know about the readers and what they think. And yes, of course I hope they like it and have nice things to say, but more so, I hope that they gain something, no matter how small, from reading it. I never did fully believe that we can't learn from other people's mistakes, in fact the older I get the more I believe we can, if we really want to. We may not learn their lessons, but we can take our own lessons from an other's experiences. So even if they don't like it, even if they have nothing but criticism, I still want to hear it so that I too can learn.

It surprises me how few people actually do give feedback. Of course, my family do and while I am very grateful to them for their support, I want to hear what friends, acquaintances and total strangers think about it too, which is why I am so grateful for the reviews I have received on Amazon.com and do hope that there will be more.

Now, time to get on with book number two.