Friday, February 25, 2011

An Unproductive Woman is FREE on Smashwords

An Unproductive Woman

My novel, An Unproductive Woman, is set in current times, in Africa, in a Muslim polygamous family. The specifics of this novel are novel to American cultural understandings, but the general message is quite universal. The general message being, the love and trust and loyalty that often exist between a husband and wife through seemingly insurmountable odds. 
My personal query is why is it that some people are able to read this story and despite the vast cultural differences come away with a strong sense of connection to that central theme, while others are unable to invest in the story out of say…an inability to get past the cultural nuances?
When I first published AUW, my first customers were the people that I work with.  I sold about twenty copies to my co-workers.  There are a few who read greedily, interested in not just the story if a man and his wives and their personal turmoil but also interested in the opportunity to peek into the lives and mindsets of people so foreign to their own.  Many of these people bought my novel in an effort to show their support but have probably never read past the description on the back cover.  There is one person, whose opinion about AUW, I was eager to learn because she is so well travelled, speaks several languages and presents herself as being overall very liberal and open minded.  While she did buy AUW, to my chagrin, she did not read it. 
Initially she told me about how she had little time, which I can understand.  Then she would tell me how she’d started AUW but had been side tracked by one new self-help book after another (long story).  Ok, no big deal.  Then, finally she told me that she found AUW difficult reading, which threw me off, because it isn’t exactly Shakespeare.  Believe me when I say that while I wanted to know what she thought of AUW, I wasn’t exactly chasing her down for an explanation of why she hadn’t read it.  I mean, I’d already made the sale. I quickly got over it.  But, I did press further when she stated that she found it difficult reading.  Between her attempts at diplomacy, I was able to decipher that her difficulty stemmed from some sort of inner repulsion for the concept of polygamy and the religious aspects.
It wasn’t exactly an attempt at conversion…  Whaaa?
I wonder, how often do we allow our own prejudices to prevent us from enjoying the art?  I have certain, no, won’t do it, I don’t care what you say, prejudices, as I am sure we all do.  I won’t read or watch anything that includes gratuitous sexual content.  My personal road block goes up when it comes to anything that describes in detail child molestation or anything that outwardly blasphemes my understanding and beliefs of God.  I also refuse to waste time on anything that I personally deem to be stupid (and I am sure your definition of stupid might vary from mine – so, it’s a pretty subjective judgment).
Again, I’m over it, not that I was ever un-over it, but these questions popped into my head this evening on my way home from work and I thought I’d just say a few words about it. 
AUW has not sold well, mostly because I did so little in the way of publicity.  I don’t have the time to do it the justice it deserves.  I am pretty torn.  Between current writing projects and my very full time job in breast oncology and my family and trying to find time to do nothing at all, worrying about AUW has taken a back burner.  I have no regrets though.  If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't write AUW the same way (I wrote it about 15 years ago and I was such a different person going through different circumstances), I still love those characters and I am still connected to them.  I always tell people that I didn't write AUW.  AUW wrote itself.  While making money on my writing is important to me, the very act of writing takes precedence.
I have decided to make AUW free to download through Smashwords through April 1.  Please read and tell me what you think.  Recommend to your friends if you think it worthwhile.  To download for free, use the coupon code: BF94Q.

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