First of all, I’d like to announce the random winner of Joanne Bischof’s novel, Be Still My Soul.
IT IS: BECKY DOUGHTY!
I know Becky will be excited because she’ll be meeting Joanne in person very soon at a book signing!
For those of you who didn’t win, thanks so much for entering, and I hope you can buy your own copy of Be Still My Soul. I know you’re going to want to follow Lonnie and Gideon’s Appalachian love story right into Joanne’s next novel, Though My Heart is Torn.
I’ve been pondering this weekend. Not always a good thing, mind you.
As writers, we know that writing a book and getting it into the world is a lot like childbirth. Different kind of pain, though.
If you’ve carried a child, you’ve doubtless heard some of the old wives’ tales:
If you have heartburn, the baby has a headful of hair.
If you carry low (or toward the front), it’s a boy.
If your skin clears up, it’s a girl (Okay, I made that up, but it sounds legit! Actually, the myth says if you have acne it’s a girl).
If you play violent video games all day, it’s a boy (This was true for me. But, when preggers with my boy, I also cried watching the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty).
If the baby has a fast heartrate, it’s a girl.
And of course, you have to put up with a certain amount of touching of the baby bump by random strangers.
And it occurred to me that carrying our book around is much like carrying a baby.
Our book is prodded and poked and fixed up by almost-strangers.
We get unsolicited advice about which doctor (agent) and which publisher (hospital) to use. Or if we need to do a home-birth (Self-publishing!).
We get lots of advice about whether our book-child will fit in:
“Dystopian steampunk is not selling right now.”
“Your book isn’t in third person, unlike the rest of the books in your genre.”
“Your book is too short/too long.”
“We want something with a fresh perspective–different.”
“We’re not able to market something so different.”
“Write your passion.”
“Write to the market.”
“Write an awesome proposal or you won’t get noticed. By the way, there’s no Lamaze (proposal-writing) class for that, though.”
“You must have a platform three miles high before anyone looks at your book-baby.”
“Your blog has to be flashy to get noticed. Invest in a website (expensive Pre-K).”
The take-away for the writer? I’m reminded of something I just read in my Beth Moore Mercy Triumphs Bible study book:
“Let’s quit trying to take people’s pulse to see how much they love us. ‘Am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ’ (Gal. 1:10). If you can get people pleased, YOU CANNOT KEEP THEM PLEASED (emphasis mine).”
I think we need to nod and thank people for their help. They really mean well. But no one can know your book like you do. No one has put the tears and late-nights and prayers into it like you have. You are the ultimate one given responsibility to make the right choices for your book-baby, just like a real mom/dad have to make choices for their child.
In other words, you take the good and leave the bad. You don’t let the advice weigh you down and plunge you into an apathetic abyss, where you could care less what happens to that child.
And let’s bring our book-babies, healthy and whole, into this world. Babies we’ve loved from their conception.
****I cannot WAIT for your input here! Give me the most unhelpful piece of advice you’ve been given, whether for your REAL baby or your BOOK-BABY!****