I totally get where this is coming from when novice writers scream in groups and on their social media. It’s hard when you want your family to support you, but you can’t see where they have been.
There are a multitude of reasons that family and friends won’t read your works. Do you have time to read all the books by friends? How large is your TBR pile (to be read pile)? When’s the last time you picked up a book?
Those are easy excuses, but those aren’t the normal reasons family and friends don’t read and review your works.
1) They aren’t readers. Sure they flip through the magazine in checkout and yeah, they still have a few books on their bookshelves, but they aren’t naturally readers.
2) You don’t write in a genre they like. Have you tried reading books that just aren’t your style? Would you enjoy it?
Perception is a huge factor, and most of the reasons why are subconscious.
- What if they don’t like it? How are they supposed to react when you ask them? Are they supposed to react overly enthusiastically or will a simple “it’s good” work? Are you going to put them on the spot and ask them what they liked about it? Does anyone have a “how to respond” meme lying around?
- Maybe they are afraid that they will find themselves in the story … or maybe they won’t be in the story at all. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.
- How confident or egotistical do you seem on the topic of your writing? Do you mumble about it, embarrassed?
- They see you in a certain way; after reading your book, will they be able to separate you from what you’ve written?
- They think writing is easy. How many times have you heard “I’ve got an idea for a book,” or “When I retire and have time on my hands, I’m going to write a book.”
- They see it as a hobby. How many of your family’s hobbies do you give 100% attention to? What about Grandma and her crocheted blankets? Did you run your hands over it and think, What’s the deal? It looks like the other ones she’s done. The only thing that comes out of your mouth is, “It’s nice.”
4) They don’t have any vested interest past the “you wrote it.”
5) What you offer isn’t something that will make their life easier. It will not save them time from what they consider a “busy” life.
I’ve been there myself. I get the congratulations when I see them in person, and they listen for a few seconds, but there’s this look in their eyes like a giant sign saying, “I tuned you out.” And instead of forcing them to listen, I catch myself falling into the shrugging it off because they never seem that interested.
Writing changed you. It wasn’t this life changing moment for them, and so they don’t realize how important it is for you to have that family validation in a way that you accept it.
Don’t do it. I know how hard it is, but don’t do it. Don’t seek your validation from your family expecting them to affirm your writing abilities. They aren’t your target audience.
It’s easy to say, “I would support them,” but do your actions say otherwise? Only you can answer that.
The best thing your family can do for you is share your posts and let them brag in their own way. Just because they aren’t in your corner the way you want doesn’t mean they aren’t in your corner. Your version of “support” differs from theirs. Maybe they give you space to write. Maybe they talk up a storm about you at work. Keep trucking along, write the stories you want to write, and don’t worry about if your family and friends read it.