As I was writing my book, “Čas Proměn,” in 2020 and earlier this year, my mind would occasionally wander to the after-publishing phase and what would happen then. Would I be invited to give public readings (and have to subject audiences to my tortured pronunciation of Czech)? Would I be asked to sign copies of my book (and what would I write as a dedication)? Do Czech authors simply write “Thank you and best wishes” (“Děkuji a všechno nejlepší”), as they might in English, or is there a more standard salutation? More darkly, I’d wonder what would happen if readers didn’t like the book? How would I handle the inevitable negative reviews that might appear in the press? Even worse, what if readers didn’t respond at all and the book simply sank into the morass of titles only to resurface years later on “remaindered” bookshelves or in the ubiquitous “Levné knihy” (“Cheap Books”) bookshops you find all around Prague? That’s a writer’s worst nightmare.
Čas Proměn has been out in bookstores now for around three months, and thankfully none of those darkest fears have yet been realized. I can’t say the rollout has been a total, unmitigated success, but I’ve been bowled over so far by the mostly enthusiastic response: several podcast and radio interviews; a couple of segments on Czech Television, including a spot on the national news show, Události; encouraging reviews in Czech magazines and newspapers; a crazy video interview with the crew over at the Prague-based poetry foundation, Object:Paradise; a reading at The Globe bookstore; random Instagram tags; photos of the book in the wild; and heartening email invitations from readers wanting to meet for coffee and to sign their copies. For this post, I’ll try to lift the curtain a little on what the experience is like for writers once a book is published and in the hands of readers.