Back in April, as I was waiting for my second book GRAY IS THE NEW BLACK to come out from Otis Books, I wrote a blog post that compared the months-long wait for pub day to being very pregnant.
Here's from How Publishing a Book Is Like Giving Birth:
“I feel pregnant, uncomfortably so, though at 65 and with no hormones left to speak of, I know that's not what ails me. The publication of my second book, a memoir, is imminent. The current due date is June 1. My symptoms are a lot like those I experienced when I was nine months pregnant with my last child, twenty years ago. I'm in a limbo state, alternating between excitement and anxiety, ravenous hunger and digestive stupor, spurts of productivity and longer spurts of twiddling my thumbs waiting for something, anything, to happen.”
The book was birthed. It arrived on it's due date, emerged from the printer and found its way to Small Press Distribution, the distributor that my publisher, Otis Books, and dozens of smaller, independent presses use. GRAY IS THE NEW BLACK, with its distinctive plain black cover, was packaged in bundles of four books apiece, shrink wrapped in plastic and placed into boxes, 32 tomes to a cardboard box.
Now that the waiting is over, I'm into a strange new land of promoting (or attempting to promote) my baby book. Like any new mother, I’m caught between caring for this hapless newborn and worrying (no, knowing) that there's a lot of life passing me by.
Which got me thinking, again, about the ways in which publishing a book is, and isn't, like having a baby. There are likely infinite comparisons and contrasts to be drawn. Here are my initial ten and ten.
TEN WAYS PUBLISHING A BOOK IS LIKE HAVING A BABY
TEN WAYS PUBLISHING A BOOK IS NOTHING LIKE HAVING A BABY
NEXT UP: How difficult it is for writers (I know I'm not the only one) to promote our work out in the real world. It requires shifting into a different, and often foreign, head space, one that demands skills and an outward-focussed energy that can be a challenge, and mind-numbing, and creativity-sapping.
Not that I have answers, but the hope is that writing about the dichotomy will shake loose something helpful. For myself, and, ideally, for others in the same boat.
Thanks for reading. Comments welcome.
Dorothy, author of GRAY IS THE NEW BLACK, blogs about the challenges and opportunities of being a woman and a writer of a certain age in a youth-centric universe.