On the other hand, there are a lot more writers at the same place I am than on the tippy-top, so maybe this will have resonance.
The publicity train continues to chug along, very slowly, as if it had impure coal in the furnace. Yes, in my publishing as railroad analogy, I am using coal-powered locomotives. My wife commented that it seems like the writing of the novel was the easy part. I see what she means, though I disagree. From the outside looking in, it can very much seem that way, since I go off to write in solitude and emerge one day about a year and a half later with a completed manuscript. But all this publicity stuff she can see.
It's difficult in the extreme talking to friends and colleagues, asking them for the favor of allowing me to entertain them. I don't want the reading of my book to be a chore for anyone. I can't imagine anything worse, really. I suppose begging someone for sex, and hearing your partner roll his/her eyes, sigh mightily, and say, "oh, all right. Let's get this over with" would be worse, yeah. So telling my friends and colleagues I have a book out, and "hey maybe whaddaya think couldja read it for me" is awkward. It's necessary, though. Not being a name at all, the only way to get one's name out there is to generate publicity, and the only way to do THAT is to get people to read it.
Publicity is needed for publicity, is what it comes down to. And guess who has to do that? Muggins.
It causes some weird emotions. I don't want reading my book to be a chore. But it is a favor I am asking people. I'm saying, "please spend your time reading this story." When a friend or colleague refuses, even politely, it brings up some odd emotions. When other friends simply refuse to acknowledge the book, those same odd emotions come back. We say that friendship should come with no strings attached, but can it ever?
Between you and me, Dear Reader, I've always felt the statements that friendship (and love, for that matter) should be unfettered and free of obligation to be utter claptrap. Do I want friends who are friends with me merely because they "owe" it to me? Of course not. But friendship is to a degree sacrificial. You help your friend move to his new apartment because you are his friend, not because you want to. You want to help, sure, but if he hired movers you wouldn't show up. So you're only helping because he asked you to. You do the dishes for a lot of reasons. They need to get done, you want a clean house, but also, you like how she smiles after a hard day and comes home to a clean house. You don't LIKE doing them. But you do them because it's part of what makes the relationship function.
Saying "true friendship doesn't contain sacrifice" is selfish, I think. It's a convenient way to clothe our own self-centeredness in philosophical, well, bullshit.
Anyway. So those odd emotions come up when I mention to a friend "hey, I have a book out," and get no response whatsoever. Or when I ask a colleague--a fellow writer--a fellow SCIENCE FICTION writer--if he'd like to read the book, and he says, "no, thanks." Most of me just nods and moves on, but I can't lie. A small part of me (small enough so I can consider myself a good guy, but not so small that I can ignore it) is resentful.
So like I said, lots of emotions. How do I deal with them? You might be surprised with the answer.
Write a new novel, of course! Been working on it for some time now, this one with a lot of false starts and dead ends, but it's moving. About 1/3 of the way done at the moment, but even better, I know how it ends and what comes next. That helps.
Oh, and go out and get Beltrunner!
Be seeing you!