Birthing a Book

laborI am pleased to announce that after months and months of hard labor, I have given birth to a fifty-eight thousand word manuscript.

While no stitches were required (ebook), I’ll admit I did indulge in some anesthesia (red wine…don’t ask how much).

A welcome addition to my Assignment: Romance series, I decided to name my fourth baby Flight Risk. Big sibs False Start, Help Wanted and Key Change couldn’t be prouder.

I’ll show you a pic as soon as the artist completes the cover.

Having given birth to actual human babies five times now, trust me when I tell you, writing a book is so much harder.

how-to-become-a-bestselling-authorLet’s back up to when you get the initial idea to write a book. At first, the mere thought of holding something you created in your very own hands fills you with excitement.

Writers stare at a blank screen waiting for inspiration like an expectant mother might stare at a pregnancy test stick, waiting for a pink line or two to appear. As soon as it does, you’re off and running-well, writing.

Happiness-producing endorphins get you through the next few months as you finesse plot outlines and refine your character arcs.

Deadline-LoomingAs the deadline draws near, though, time seems to speed up. You spend late night after late night wondering how you’ll ever manage to get it done in time. Every spare second is spent cranking up your page count while planning post-release promotions.

Just as nine-months-along mothers look forward to wearing their regular clothes again, you can’t wait to type, “The End.”

To keep your spirits up, your publisher might plan a launch party.

And what do you do when the big day f-i-n-a-l-l-y arrives? You declare your intent to produce another.

Writers. We’re crazy, the whole lot of us.

While human babies require lots of nurturing to grow into fine upstanding adults, book babies require lots of marketing to grow into fine revenue-generating bestsellers. To learn how to do both, we lean on our network for tips and advice.

PullingOutHairBoth types of babies require lots of late nights and hours of worrying (Will he/she get home on time and in one piece?  vs. How can I write myself out of this dead-end plot point and will my publisher approve?).

Once book babies are out in the world, authors fret over their rankings like a real parent frets over their real live baby’s ACT scores. Just as parents teach them to develop a thick skin, so too must we as authors – especially given that we are just as sensitive to book reviews as real parents are of their child’s reputation (i.e., a dreadful review on Amazon is akin to a rejection from the homecoming king/queen).

I know what you’re thinking. Why put yourself through so much angst?

Before I jumped on the parenting-writing bandwagon, I asked my mother, a writer who also worked full-time while raising five kids, the very same thing.

Her answer, while vague, was simple. “It’s so worth it.”

And I completely agree.

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