I would really like Cory Doctorow to read my book. I think he would like it. He might even review it on BoingBoing, which would help matters enormously. Even a complimentary tweet to his 250,000 followers would be a boost.
Why do I think Mr Doctorow would like my book?
(1) He's a middle-aged old-time Star Wars fan, like me and all the other 35-45 year old husbands and fathers out there I wrote this book for. He's always featuring Star Wars tidbits on BoingBoing. The films were clearly very important to his childhood, just as they were to mine. So he'd get this book.
(2) He's Canadian. This doesn't matter very much; Star Wars is an international phenomenon. But the book is a memoir about growing up in the '70s and '80s—something that he and I happen to have both done in Canada. I think he'd relate.
(3) It's self-published, independent and (in e-book format) 100% DRM-free. He's a champion of this sort of publishing. (Although he'd probably prefer that I give it away. I have given away over 200 copies through KDP Select, but the book isn't currently free.)
(4) People tell me it's good. Not people with the literary credentials of Cory Doctorow, admittedly, but still...
Unfortunately, there are some powerful reasons for Cory Doctorow not to read my book, too:
(1) He's supremely busy. Or at least I assume so. Between BoingBoing, the Guardian, speaking engagements, writing books, fatherhood, and the pile of other reading material sitting on his nightstand, he'd probably struggle to fit my book in (even though it's a short and easy read).
(2) My book is self-published. I know I cited this as a reason in favour of Cory Doctorow reading my book, but it's also an argument against. The process of finding a publisher (which often includes finding a literary agent) and getting published tends to have the effect of ensuring at least some modicum of quality--correct spelling (mostly), proper grammar (largely) and a reasonably interesting story (sometimes). These are the reasons I initially hoped to publish my book the old-fashioned way. But after a few rejections and reading many articles online about the terrible economics of traditional publishing, I decided to go it alone. I'm fortunate enough to have a large number of very talented friends--and even a few complete strangers who follow this blog--who were willing to give me editorial and proofreading support. In the end I don't think my book has suffered editorially from the lack of a traditional publisher at all. But Cory Doctorow can't know that. Does he really want to invest a few hours in a book that hasn't been vetted by the traditional process? Considering how limited his time is, it may not be worth the risk for him.
(3) He'll likely never find out about it. The two things you lose by self-publishing are editorial support and marketing. I think I've managed to replace the editorial support, as explained above. Marketing is harder. I do what I can by means of this blog and social networks, but it's a slog. My wife's in marketing and my sister's in public relations. Both have helped me a lot with things like press releases and marketing campaigns. I've definitely reached some audiences. But I haven't reached Cory Doctorow, despite my efforts. I've submitted stories from this blog to BoingBoing a few times. Most recently I submitted my Keener promo pamphlet--something I really thought BoingBoing would like--but I've had no response. I suppose I could just e-mail Cory Doctorow, or mention him in a tweet. But how many e-mails does he get in a day, never mind tweets?
You have probably figured out by now that Cory Doctorow is not the only reader I'm talking about here. At least when it comes to reasons not to read my book, you could safely swap Doctorow's name out and almost anyone's in, including your own. We're all busy, we're all a little skeptical about self-published works, and we're all hard to reach without big marketing campaigns. Getting anyone to read my book is a struggle. Thank you to all of you who have.