An unexpected lesson has been that there is little if any correlation between the intimacy of the friendship and the propensity to purchase my novel. I have been pleasantly surprised by those whose links to me are not such as to confer any expectation, but who have been excited by the news and spent their own hard-earned money on my scribblings. Nobody is under obligation of course, but it is odd the contrast with a few people I know much better who have shown limited interest and not bought “Milligan and the Samurai Rebels”. “[So-and-so] bought my book and she doesn’t even like me!” you feel like saying.
The willingness to pick up the metaphorical pom-poms also seems weakly connected to the degree of connection with the author. I have been touched by the promotional efforts made by close and less close friends, and in some cases by those who I am only linked to through my Facebook author profile and have never met. Just this last week a work contact with whom I am friendly but only see a handful of times a year was singing the praises of my novel to other colleagues and saying “I don’t understand why you haven’t bought it!” on more than occasion to the group. I think the answer lies in one of the responses to this colleague: “I don’t really get the time to read these days”. My best guess is that it is not the degree of friendship that is crucial but the extent to which the person in question is a reader of novels in general. Someone who has little interest in reading fiction is unlikely to break the non-habit of a lifetime on my account.