Giving Birth to a Book

A book is the author’s baby from the moment of conception. It starts out as an idea, then a single uppercase letter. It grows into a sentence. Then a paragraph. A page. Chapter 1. Eventually, the structure is complete, but even then it continues to develop through formatting and revisions.

The author carries the baby book in a file for several months. The file is saved in multiple versions on the computer, email, and jump drives. The author is a parent who will do anything to protect the book baby.

A month or so prior to the due date, the author will have a book shower, where several of the author’s friends and family will provide valuable feedback that the book will need in its early development. The writer must also shop for the book’s clothes, like a cover and professional editing services.

After several months, the author gives birth to the book by publishing it. This is an excruciating process, which can take a very long period of time. The author may actually put more effort into the birthing process than was put into the writing itself. The writer may also become very moody during this period, with sudden emotional outbursts. Most modern authors prefer to take some medications to help ease the pain and steady their behavior.

Once the baby book is born, the author nurtures it through continued editing and provides for it through a serious marketing campaign. Since most writers serve as single parents for their books, they provide both the tender loving care and the financial support for the book.

Surprisingly, as long and arduous as book-birth and book-rearing are, most authors will provide several siblings to accompany their first-born books. A few writers, who are either sterile or just prefer not to have their own book babies, may become editors or publishers, serving as foster parents for books. Those who are ready for a bigger commitment may become librarians or start a bookstore.

Yes, authors’ books are their babies. They love them, they cherish them, they watch them grow, and they protect over them. If anyone says anything negative about one of their books, it’s no wonder that they become so emotional over it. It’s like saying something bad about one of their kids.

But authors must remember that all books seek independence. The books want to live their own lives, and want to stand up for themselves.

Chris McMullen, self-published author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

2 comments on “Giving Birth to a Book

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