These Are My Potential Readers

These Are My Potential Readers

This was an attempt at a satirical poem, written for my Classical Civilisations class. It’s inspired by the most common response I get from people when they hear I’m writing a book – “You should let me read it.” Should I? I always think. Is that an obligation? I should, should I? It irritates me perhaps more than it should.

These are my potential readers, who grasp at my work
with hands so desperate they will take a first draft
and ignore my cries of, “It’s not finished!” because to them,
‘the end’ is the end and not the beginning of another draft.
These are my future fans, who ask for free copies
and advance reading of new works and most of all,
they ask for my secrets and they ask me how I write.
And then, because they think I can write, they ask me
if they can. If they will be famous one day.
I look over a story, indistinguishable from ten others,
and I say, “It reminds me of a book I once read.” And that,
to them, is a compliment, and I escape gratefully.
My potential readers are desperate for my writing,
but they do not like it when I kill my characters.
My potential readers like the people I invent,
but that is not enough. They want to be inside the story,
and they say, “Can I be a character?” even though
they are well aware that I write tragedies and I kill
even the characters I loved best of all. I write them in,
but they do not see themselves in the rabid pack of fans
with their hands so desperate they would not wait.
They do not see themselves in the curious children
or the miser who will only read that which is given for free,
or the attention-seeker who wants only to be a famous.
These are my potential readers, who wonder why I am poor,
who wonder why I am not more well known,
and do not see that to live, I need people to buy my books.
I cannot give away the products of my job,
and still they ask me to. “You should let me read it,” they say.
Because my potential readers were my friends once
and I owe them that, at least. I owe them a share
in a world I created. I owe them the nights I went without sleep
to write another chapter. I owe them the conversations
I had with the people I invented. I owe them the RSI
from typing and the cost of a new computer when mine
gave up. I owe them the twists and turns of the plot
that did not go where I wanted it to. They were my friends
when we were young, and I owe them that.
After all, they are my potential readers, and I must not
alienate them. I must not send them away.
I need them to buy my books.

How do people react when you tell them you’re writing a book? What’s your general response? You don’t have to write an entire satirical poem about it, but you’re more than welcome to.

20 thoughts on “These Are My Potential Readers

  1. A bit hard to read with that font size, but I could not agree more. Hence why I avoid talking about my writing to others – I’m too shy of unwanted attention. Scardey cat that I am.

      1. Safari – it’s the same size as the rest of hte post, but I find that’s a bit small for a poem of that size. I like slightly larger print for big poems. Just a personal tick :)

        1. Oh, I never change font size on WordPress. I think you can, but I’ve never bothered doing it. Ctrl+Roll on a PC, not sure if you have an equivalent on Mac (also known as zoom in and then everything is magically larger). :D

          1. Ehehe, the magic of computers :D I always use a mouse rather than the trackpad on my laptop, even though I know it can do almost the same number of cool things as a mac pad can, simply because I am incompetent at learning what they are and find a mouse easier for a lot of the things I do, anyway.

          2. Hehe, I’ve always found laptop mice (mouse plural, lol) to be more trouble than they’re worth, so I’ve never bothered with one. The trackpad on a Mac is also incredibly easy to navigate once you get used to the lack of clicker buttons xP

          3. Laptop mice are the same as ordinary computer mice, aren’t they? Mine certainly is. And because I sit at a desk with a separate keyboard, it’s no more hassle than not using one.

          4. I don’t understand. I’m confused. Mine is a computer mouse plugged into a laptop which sits on top of a pile of books on my desk and is attached to a separate keyboard because that improves the ergonomics of the layout. It’s still a laptop!

          5. Ehehe, it’s quite common among people who work on laptops a lot, as looking down at it can give you neck problems. It’s like a convertible desktop computer.

          6. That’s awesome. Though i just tend to push the laptop back a bit so I can look straight at the screen, because I don’t need to look at my hands to type :P

          7. I need the screen higher up because I’ve got a very long body, so sitting down I’m pretty tall and I have to crane my neck to see the screen, which is quite short and wide :/

          8. LOL, I’m the other way around – long-legged, but not terribly tall body-wise. Not so bad for sitting down at a fairly high desk . . . it’s when the table is too high for my sitting state that things get awkward. It’s probably a good thing I’m no smaller than I am xD

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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