There’s a conversation that goes like this; maybe from now on I can just direct people to this blog and skip the whole thing:
ME: I’ve written a bunch of novels.
HIM/HER/IT: Oh I’d *love* to read one.
ME: Ha, well, you’re welcome to try…
HIM/HER/IT: No, really!
ME: Sure, I’ll give you a copy. You’ll manage a few pages then quit but don’t worry about it.
HIM/HER/IT: No, I’ll read right to the end, I promise!
ME: It took James Joyce seventeen years to write “Finnegans Wake”: how many times in those seventeen years do you suppose he heard that? I tell you what, I’ll give you a copy but on one condition: you have to write me a bit about what you thought of the story. Even if you hate it. Don’t worry, I don’t have any emotional connection to these things, I won’t take offense or anything if you don’t like it, I’ll be interested to know what you didn’t like, how much you managed to read before you gave up, all that. Perhaps you could also return it to me unless you particularly want to keep the fucker.
HIM/HER/IT: Well okay, I promise I will, but I’m sure I’ll love it!
So then I give them a copy of my latest and never hear from them again, guaranteed.