Thursday, May 17, 2012

Reader- who are you?

I'm pretty sure most of us writers think at some point, if anyone really reads their writings. I'm wondering if the stories I write touch anyone anywhere. Even for a moment. Or for a longer time. And who are these people? Where are they? What do they do in their lives? What kind of daily routines do they follow? And if someone happens to like my writing, what is the basis for that? The writing itself? The reading habits? Something in their own life that raises the feeling of assimilation?
I have no clue. But would love to know.
Until lately, getting feedback was even more difficult. At least in my present home country Ireland.
My first two books were published in Finnish, and in my home village there are only a few Finns. In the whole Ireland probably somewhat 1300. Nothing compared to many other foreign nationalities in this country.
My potential audience was pretty much elsewhere. In the distance, if internet is not taken into account. Also restricted as there are only approximately five million native Finnish speakers. Small market, though Finland is one of the most hard-reading countries in the world.
In English, it's handy to connect with the surrounding literary world. Whether it's just around you or around the globe. The whole e-book system has brought possibilities. After joining some book sites and following results from some ad campaigns, it's possible to sit by the computer and see who and where happens to connect with your book.
I feel honored to see a doctor from Thailand suddenly liking the Facebook page created for my short story collection. It's great to follow people clicking the ads on Goodreads and add the book itself to their to-read shelves.
It's extremely interesting to do a small sociological research whether the person is from the Philippines, from Brooklyn, Colorado, Upstate New York, Oregon or from somewhere else. It's enlightening to see what other characteristics the person has. Whether the potential reader is a female or a male, and what kind of background and virtual book shelf the person has. And to see, if they will eventually read the book and even write a review about it.
Apart from my friends and reviewers, I hardly ever get any feedback. Especially from the people I don't know personally. Someone I might meet randomly in another occasion might ask, if I'm working on the next book. If they happen to know what I do for living.
Still it would be interesting to get back some more thoughts. I'm not sure if the people who have actually read the book don't want to interrupt. Or the book was just one of those in the line. Not worth talking about. Or if giving feedback is at all part of their priorities or habits.
Or whether they think it could be embarrassing to give feedback to a man who has written about the theme of love. If so, it would be interesting to know how much embarrassment or fear there is to give feedback to people who write about serial killers, junkies, sexual themes or about flesh-eating soft tissue robots that let politically incorrect phrases out of their mouths.
Feedback would be most welcome. At least you would feel something would materialize. That your work didn't just go out as a puff in the space when it once left your computer.