This is not about pricing strategy. Sorry. I imagine I’ll get to that before the year is out, but not today.

This is about how you’re going to have to discount the opinions of friends and family.

Some of your nearest and dearest will buy your book. They’ll even make a point of telling you that they bought your book.

And that’ll be the last you hear about it from them.

They’ll never say if they liked it.

Of course, you’ll assume they didn’t.

They’ll never say what was wrong with it.

You might well give yourself a list.

They might not bring up your writing even as a topic of conversation, except in apocalyptically awkward circumstances. At wedding receptions, when someone’s ex walks in with eyes of flame and drool running down into their clothes – suddenly, to cut the tension, the cry will go out – ‘Have you met Petrina? She writes books you know.’

Otherwise, there’ll be no mention of it and you’ll wonder if you were kidding yourself all along.

Here’s a secret from me to you…

Most of them will have bought the book and never opened it.

Not even once.

Maybe they’re not sure what they’ll be reading.

Maybe they’re afraid of reading naughty scenes, as written by you.

Maybe they’re not convinced they’ll be able to separate you from your writing.

I’ve had every excuse going. I’ve promised cameos in the film to people who’ve never read more than the cover in the hopes they’ll open chapter one.

Maybe it doesn’t really matter because I’ll tell you the other secret…

The moment, the very moment, you have a bit of success, they’ll be right round for champagne and telling people on passing buses that they always knew you could do it, that they bought your first book, they told the woman in the pharmacy to read you when she had that trouble with her (insert inappropriate condition to discuss over vol-au-vents here) and all that other stuff.

Even better than all the blather – they’ll probably mean every word.

The point is not to take it personally if they can’t bear to read your first book. The people who mean the most will back you even if they don’t read.