My Book, My Baby
At various stages in life when you separate from your baby as it journeys though life you experience anxiety.
When you hand your infant into the care of someone else to go out to dinner or a movie. When your child goes for their first day of school and this child that you have kept hourly tabs on is now gone for hours that seem like days. When they take their first unchaperoned tryst with friends into the night. When they leave for college and the days seem like months when they cease to contact you on a daily basis. When they place trust in another human being that you didn’t raise and don’t know a darned thing about.
Have you gone to a parent-teacher conference only to discover the teacher sees your child in a totally different light? The child that throws a temper tantrum because he can’t have cake for dinner is well-behaved, attentive and cooperative?
Prepare yourself. Everyone experiences these types of anxieties from some perspective in their life and you are about to experience it again, if not for the first time. As your book passes from your hands through the process of publishing, through a critique group, editors, book designers, cover designers, illustrators, promoters and marketers, publishers, reviewers and readers.
Others see your baby differently. After years of knowing your book inside and out, growing up with your characters, envisioning its future, seeing its cover in your mind’s eye, anticipating its accomplishments…you now have to let it go out into the world and find its way through the crowded streets of publishing and sales. And no one can tell you if it will sell, much less succeed on the path you have set for it. Unlike a child, it can’t learn to make decisions on its own. It will depend on every decision you have made for it throughout its life.
Hopefully you have prepared it as only a parent can (oops, author) by making sure you have given it the best support on its journey to publishing. You cannot expect, however, that anyone else will know your baby like you do or will have the same bond. You can expect people that work with you to prepare for this step by respecting you and your work, to take into consideration that you will need help compromising as you learn how others view it and as you learn what paths and potholes the big wide world will open up for your baby.
You can expect anxiety. Letting go is one of the most difficult challenges as a parent and an author. You can also expect the exhilaration of becoming a published author. That should never be affected by how many copies sell. You have no control once your baby leaves the safe environment of your nest. You have hopefully supported it the best you were able and now it must be allowed to fly.
Our books are indeed our babies.
In this series of blogs, I hope to shed a bit of light on the various steps in this journey. I will share some of my insight from the perspective of the many hats I wear at different times as well as information and experiences I have learned from others.
If I eliminate one bit of anxiety for you or one misstep through your journey, then my mission has been accomplished.
Next post, “It’s Hard to be Pregnant – The Writing Process”