I started writing Syafika and D’arby don’t save the world when I was 23, which is the same age that Syafika is at the start of the book, but I didn’t get far until much later, and even then I was writing because I enjoyed it, not because I wanted to finish the book. Then, about a year ago, I started writing furiously because I’d started daydreaming about people enjoying reading the book and because I thought it was the right time for people to read it.
As is probably common, working out the ending was exhilarating, writing the ending was enjoyable but a little bit sad (like saying goodbye to good friends for a while) and editing was daunting, but nothing was as disheartening as finishing all that and realising that, most likely, hardly anyone will read the book because the chances of being published are tiny, and if anyone does read the book it will only be because I’ve self published then become dedicated to promoting the book (and that’s assuming that all the things I’ve done wrong along the way won’t matter, like using family members as beta readers and not building a following before releasing the book). I must have known all that back when I was writing, but I ignored it and kept daydreaming. What else could I do? Accepting the truth wouldn’t have helped me write.
I know I shouldn’t mention this in a blog post that’s meant to encourage people to read my book, but I’d feel like I’m being insincere if I didn’t admit that I worry I might have overestimated the value of the story I’ve written. Maybe that’s why the thought of promoting the book is so scary – it is hard to know the value of something without knowing what lots of people think about it, but nobody will be in a position to judge if I’m not presumptuous enough to encourage people to read the book.
That brings me to a question I probably shouldn’t mention either. Should you tell your friends you have written a book? I’ve read that friends and family aren’t going to give you proper feedback and I know from past experience that most of my friends won’t bother reading something I’ve written anyway (maybe they get more than enough of my thoughts when they talk to me or they are just more interested in other things), but I can’t help imagining that one or two might be amused or heartened, so I guess the answer is yes, I should tell my friends I’ve written a book. Then I should try hard to not dislike them if they don’t read it. If they do read it, I shouldn’t put much trust in any positive comments, but I should ask them to write a review. If they read it and don’t like it, I will cry first, then I will try to work out a mature way to deal with it that probably involves learning an important lesson.