Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The wild reader

My second book, The Naked Marquis, was officially released March 1. Yahoo!! It's already sold out at the local Borders--the one across the street from my youngest son's high school. In a few days, I'll go to other area bookstores to see if I can sign stock.

A weird thing is beginning to happen. People, even people who aren't related to me, who don't know me, are reading my book.

"Duh!" you say. "Isn't that what you expected?"

Well, yes, I realize this is the goal. Certainly I want thousands of people to run to the store and buy the book. (Hint, hint.) That's how I get royalties and maybe new contracts to write more books. And I do have an imaginary reader in my head while I'm writing and revising. I often ask myself how a reader would experience a particular scene. Is it clear? What emotion does it create? Will the reader laugh? (I write humor, so laughter is usually a good thing.) But when the book gets out there in the wild, real readers will pick it up, people who will bring their own experiences and thoughts to my words.

One type of reader I don't have in my head while I'm writing is the male of the species. I'm always a little taken aback when a man tells me he's read my book. Maybe this is because the males I live with--one husband and four sons--run screaming at the slightest suggestion they might look at my stories. Or maybe I'm just freaked that men will read all the male point of view parts and find them totally unconvincing. Or just take things in an unexpected way. One of my male friends, after reading my first book, asked me who in my life or what events inspired me to write the psycho murderer rapist villain.

Aeeiiiiee! No one. It's fiction. I made it all up. It's lies, lies, lies.

So, with a new book out, I find myself split--eager for people to read it, yet a little afraid and hesitant at the same time.


Colleen Thompson said...

Congrats on the new release!

I know what you mean about that nervous feeling you get when you think of strangers reading and judging your book. It's the author version of stage fright, I guess.

I hope lots of bookstores sell out (then reorder and sell out again) for you.

Gail Dayton said...

Congrats Sally!

I do understand that weirdness of having males read your books. I get totally weirded out knowing my DAD reads mine! (And if you've read mine, you'd understand why I mean seriously weirded out.)

My mom reads them too, but it's different knowing Daddy reads them. sigh.

But yeah. You're normal.

Terry Z McDermid said...

Strangers I can almost handle easier than friends, partly because of the comments I end up getting. Yes, it's fiction. Yes, my husband knows what I write.

Living with all males, I also understand about the screaming away from the books. Not sure any of them have read my books. Of course, my older son used to tap people at the library when they were sitting at a computer catalog and ask if they were looking for 'my mom's books.' I would modestly say, 'oh, honey, don't bother him/her,' . . . and then point him toward the next person checking the library catalog (heeheehee!).

Allison Brennan said...

Yippeeeeeeeeee Sally!!!!!!!!! Congratulations on release day . . . and the sell-out at the local Borders! (happy dance)

I totally know how you feel. My first real fan letter I cherish--from a person a don't know. Not a writer, not a former colleague, not a friend of my mom, not a relative--a real live person who actually read my book and liked it so much they emailed to tell me. Okay, okay, I cherish them all, haven't deleted one of them.

And men . . . yeah, that was weird, knowing men read my books. And people I know reading my sex scenes. And talking about them. And knowing exactly what page they are on . . . now THAT'S scarier than writing about evil murderers, don't you think?

Teresa Bodwell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Teresa Bodwell said...

Congratulations, Sally. I know that many folks who loved The Naked Duke have been waiting anxiously for this moment.

As to male readers. My experience among my acquaintances is that the women are surprised that my books have sex (pleased, but surprised). Men, otoh, are astonished that there is a plot!

Sally MacKenzie said...

Lol, Teresa, about men being surprised there's a plot. A number of men and women who read The Naked Duke because they know me--they'd never read a romance before--were surprised it's well written!! I guess they thought romance was all "trash." Maybe now they'll read more.

And thanks for the congrats, Colleen, Gail, and Allison! It was very exciting--but then last weekend my youngest developed appendicitis, so I switched totally into mom mode. (He's 16 and over 6 ft--he felt a little out of place in the pediatrics ward, lol.) Thank God I don't have a deadline looming, but then emergencies don't take into consideration your schedule, do they?

And yes, Terry z, sometimes I think it is harder when people who know me read the book, because they're not just seeing the book, they're seeing me writing it. They are especially seeing the sex scenes!!! (Though their reactions do sometimes make me feel like Superman--mild mannered, garden variety middle aged mom with a secret identity--Romance Writer!)

My parents--my 91-year-old dad and my 88-year-old mom--read my first book and liked it. I haven't heard about their reaction to The Naked Marquis--it's a little sexier, I think--but they are still alive, so I guess they survived the experience. And they both do read Regency-set historicals, some of which are spicier than mine. (I have four children, so I guess they know I've figured out a few basics--but it's still odd to think about that.)

PJ said...

Sally, do NOT be afraid!

I've been lurking here at your blog but your post brought me out of hiding. I happened upon The Naked Duke at a paperback trade store a few months back. I had a great time reading it so of course when I saw The Naked Marquis at my local Walmart I snatched it up without a second thought, brought it home and read the whole thing that very night. What fun! Charles and Emma were a wonderful couple and I love that James, Sarah and Robbie were all featured in their story.

Count me among your many fans who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Lizzie and Robbie's story. Judging from the excerpt in the back of Marquis, it's going to be well worth the wait!


Sally MacKenzie said...

PJ!!! Let me leap through cyberspace and give you a big hug. You've made my day! I'm grinning ear to ear. The Naked Earl is scheduled to hit bookstores in April 2007, and I'm starting another book--no title yet--which I'm planning on being Meg's story.

Other good news today--besides the fact I got my son to walk around the park--is that I received a unexpected check in the mail. The Naked Duke will be appearing in Russian. How cool is that? I hope I get a copy of the translation--I'd love to see the cover.

Edie said...

Sally, I just bought your first book on Tuesday, THE NAKED DUKE, and at a regular bookstore. Both your books were there and I couldn't resist the title. It's right next to me, open on page 12. How funny that I found your blog.

Sally MacKenzie said...

I hope you enjoy the book, Edie! The Duke is sold out of the bookstores in my neighborhood, so I haven't had a chance to see both books together on a bookstore shelf.