Books Are Not Children
Releasing your novel into the world is a lot like letting go of your child.
No, I’m not a writer who looks at my books as my children. They’re not my children. They’re books, words on a page. Yes, they mean a lot to me. Yes, I invested hours, days, months into developing and honing them. Yes, I poured my emotions into them. But they are not my children.
They don’t talk back. They don’t drag their feet when I ask them to do something (though it’d be nice if they’d jump off the bookstore shelves a little faster!). They can’t give me hugs and bedtime kisses. They don’t make me laugh at their spontaneity and silliness. Man, their not even comfortable to snuggle with.
My books are not my children. But releasing them into the world is a lot like sending my kids into that cold, heartless place. Many of the same questions run through my mind. Will they be accepted? Will people like them? Will they make a positive impact on the lives of others? What if they’re misunderstood? How will they take criticism? How will I take criticism of them?
We spend a good chunk of our life raising and developing and training our children so when they go into the world they will be able to stand on their own and make their way. And maybe, if we’re lucky, they’ll be accepted and welcomed and enjoyed by others.
Nobody wants to feel responsible for raising a pompous blowhard or an arrogant fool or, please no, a serial killer. Books (to a much lesser degree) follow suit.
So when that novel is released it is the author’s job, his solemn duty, to worry, pray, chew his nails to hardly-distinguishable nubs, endure sleepless nights, and pray some more that his book will be accepted with smiles and kind words.
Readers often ask me which of my three books is my favorite. The authorially-correct answer is to say that I love them all the same as I do my children, just in different ways. But it’s not true. They are not my children and I do have a favorite. As for which one I love best . . . well, that’s my business. Ask me around. I’ll be around, spying on how my books are being accepted in this big bad world.