After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh three years ago, Adam Dove found it hard to get people outside of his friends and family to read his work.
“It’s a lot of [people] saying, ‘Yeah, it’s great,’ but of course you say it’s great. You like me,” he says.
Dove hoped to build readership and engagement, creating more meaningful connections between readers and his work. He wanted his work to fit into readers’ busy lives, rather than making readers restructure their days around it. Readers, he says, often hear someone recommend a book, but never pick it up because it’s too much of a time commitment. He needed to find a quick, effective medium. He thought about what he himself spends the most time doing — staring at a computer screen, sending out emails — and The Truth was born.
The novel follows four characters as they wrestle with faith and identity in the Appalachian Mountains. A new chapter of the serialized, Haruki Murakami-style novel is sent to readers’ email inboxes every Sunday and Wednesday. The first email was sent out Sept. 10, and the last will be sent six months from now.
Readers signed up to receive the novel this past summer. From there, subscribers were added to a private Facebook group to discuss the chapters. There, people comment on posts about what they read, and predict what’s going to happen next. Dove says that 70 people have signed up to receive the novel, and 56 of them are in the Facebook group.
If someone leaves a particularly interesting idea, a sort of collaboration with the novelist himself might ensue. “There’s a power to community that can make someone a better writer than they’ve ever been,” says Dove, who lives in Millvale.
Although sign-ups to receive the novel have ended, Dove plans to create another reading group in January, so that everyone can experience the novel at the same time, at the same pace, spoiler-free.
“The book is called The Truth, but I call it ‘The Truth Experience,’ because it’s not just a book. It’s not just something you read,” he says.