But here’s the thing – not everyone is a reader. Some people love to read, and can't imagine a life without books. Some people devour a new book every day or two. But many others - in fact, I would say the vast majority of people - read only a few fiction books a year, if that. Many people claim to love reading but will go months or even years without actually reading a book from cover to cover. Chances are that you have friends who love things that you aren't into. Do you attend every sports event that your friend participates in? Do you buy from your friend's curling store, even though you don't curl? We can love our friends without having to participate heavily in things that they love, which we do not. And if your friend expected you to take up curling just because she opened a curling store, and was hurt if you didn't, what would you think?
Even when people are readers, they won’t necessarily enjoy your genre. Can you imagine being someone who loves children’s fiction and Disney, but is friends with George RR Martin? No one should have to read that if they aren’t into it. The fact is that if your friends and family aren't into science fiction, they aren't going to be drooling to read your new space opera, and nor should they have to.
I don’t need every one of my friends to buy and love my book. I already have friends who are readers, and do enjoy my genre, and several of them have already become what authors call “super fans.” In fact, one of them, who insists on being given the title of Howie’s Number One Fan, arranged a whole tea party where she and I got dressed up and drank tea and did nothing but talk about my book, because she is that enthusiastic about it. I love knowing that when I need to talk to someone about a plot twist in the story, she is always ready to be my sounding board.
Is she a better friend than the ones who will never read it? Not necessarily.
There are tons of ways to be a good friend, and my friends have been there for me and helped me out through very difficult life circumstances. They have been shoulders to cry on. They have dropped everything to come to my aid when I needed them. They just aren’t all into feminist zombie YA fiction, and that’s okay.
If you’re an author who is hurt by a friends’ lack of interest, remind yourself – there are lots of ways to be a friend. Look for the people who are interested, and find yourself a superfan friend. They’re great. But they aren’t better friends. They’re just better fans.
C.L. Lynch is a socially awkward introvert. She wrote her first novel, Chemistry, because she wanted to write a book which was “the exact opposite of Twilight,” featuring an assertive heroine and a respectful love interest. She lives in Vancouver with her husband, two kids, and far too many unwashed dishes. She enjoys reading, writing, and hiding from adult responsibilities.