Why my book is more a project than a pregnancy

Even though we might set out as writers to work on our book as a project, it might pay for us to think about it more as a pregnancy.

Many people refer to their book as their “book baby” anyway.  They conceived it, nurtured it, and spent time with it at the expense of others. They spent sleepless nights thinking about it. They took great care in naming it, and took it more-than-personally when it was criticized.

So why think of writing your book as a pregnancy? Mainly because it helps you with that strange creative downtime called post-launch.

When we look at our work in terms of projects, it can feel like the end date is the end of our thinking. I’ve worked in the corporate sector for nearly thirty years, and I’ve lost count of the times a team has celebrated the end of a project and then moved on, almost giving no further thought to what they’ve produced.

I’ve felt that temptation, and I’ve spoken to other authors who’ve also felt it – particularly first-time authors. There’s a sense of “what now?”

I launched The Baggage Handler a few months ago. A lot of work went into it, and a lot of focus went into the launch. The launch was exciting, daunting, and satisfying. But in the moments after the launch the gloss faded and other writing called, and I saw that launching a book wasn’t as simple as just ticking a box and moving on. My book baby needed to be nurtured. Cared for. I needed to market it, answer questions about it, and respond to kind readers’ words about it.  Prepare to give it a sibling.

The big lesson here was that the launch is where the work starts. The same as the day a child is delivered. When our kids were born, those first few moments and days were taking a breath and savoring the moment, but also ensuring the plans we put in place made sure our child thrived.

So it might make sense to view the day our book is launched as a birth. It’s something to celebrate, something to feel deeply satisfied about, but it’s also a reminder that once our book baby is cradled on the shelves of a real or virtual bookstore, the work begins.

So if you’re planning for a launch, you might want to think about its delivery in terms of what you will need to do after it’s born. I found it helped me keep up the momentum of my book baby’s birth.

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