Friends and family happily clamored to buy my first book, but only a thin sliver actually read it. In conversation with other writers, I found this was not an uncommon thing. Folks love to support you. But reading books they don’t consider ‘‘serious’’ or which are presented as intimidating in style or tone is another matter.
Yet I contributed to this very narrative about my work. Instead of talking about my books as serious (or at least fun) literature, I found myself falling into the same self-conscious trap I had as a kid, when I muttered about how I was writing a story about an expedition to Venus where the volcanos erupted with flowers. I said stuff like: ‘‘Oh, you probably won’t like it. It’s pretty weird,’’ or ‘‘It’s not for everyone,’’ or ‘‘You’ll only like it if you read a lot of science fiction.’’