Saturday, August 1, 2009

Birthin' a Book & Lessons Learned

A few weeks ago Kai and I were discussing "having a baby" and "writing/publishing a book". She asked about why I made the analogy about birthing a baby and a book. So here is a little more discussion on that topic.

Let's see how we make a baby. (Sorry, no videos for this one!)

Girl meets Boy & They Fall In Love
There's a proposal.
They Get Married (hey, its my analogy so we're going down the traditional path! )
They have a honeymoon and love each other A LOT.
They work hard at their marriage, realizing it's not like the movies.
They Get Pregnant.
For nine months she's a little crazy.
For nine months he's a little afraid.
They prepare, they read books, they ask other people.
They get lots and lots of unsolicited advice and everyone contradicts each other.
Labour begins and they realize they couldn't have prepared for this.
Baby enters the world.
They realize that there's a lot more work AFTER baby arrives than BEFORE!

So how do we make a book?

Writer gets a great idea and loves it a lot.
There's a proposal. The writer writes it. No rings involved.
Writer finds an agent and signs with her.
They like each other a lot.
Writer gets an offer from a traditional publisher. (Hey, again, it's my analogy!)
They sign the contract! Nine months until delivery!
For nine months the writer is a little crazy.
For nine months the writer's family is a little afraid.
Writer does lots of research, writer interviews a lot of people. Some people contradict others.
It's down to the wire and there are bits to review and edits to make.
Deadlines within deadlines come hard and fast.
The book arrives.
The writer realizes that there's a lot of work after the book arrives. Marketing, writing, interviewing, obsessively checking Amazon stats, wondering when it will ship, holding contests, getting press.....

Now, neither of these represents a complaint about the process. I loved being pregnant (if I had my druthers...) and I loved getting a contract and writing my book. But they were both learning experiences, especially the first ones!

I learned:

1) Plan ahead to be done all tasks before your deadline/delivery date.
2) Don't think you know it all.
3) Research like crazy.
4) Asking for advice will result in better info than receiving unsolicited advice.
5) There are people around you whose job it is to help you. Accept their help.

(Cross-posted at The Writing Mother)

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