“It’s Not a Baby, It’s a Book”

~ by Mercy Pilkington

Benjamin
Benjamin (Photo credit: ianturton)

I’ve heard it a million times: “Can you BELIEVE what that editor/agent/publisher wanted me to do to my book? The absolutely unnecessary changes they want me to make?! It’s my baby!”

If you want a baby so badly, go get you one. For most people, it actually involves a quite simple and really fun process. If your only reason for getting yourself a baby is to have something to love, I recommend a puppy. I cannot in good conscience endorse a cat.

I shrink in fear every time an author approaches me and refers to his book as “his baby.” It’s not a baby to anyone but the author. To everyone else on the planet, it’s a dollar sign. Unless you live in a foreign country and then it’s whatever squiggly sign they use to represent your money.

For the traditional publishing industry, taking on a book—especially one by a debut author—involves about as much risk as going to Tony Soprano for a loan. They are going to shell out some big bucks, and that’s not a risk they can take without thinking it through. They cannot do it if there’s even a shred of doubt that it will result in a return on their investment.

For the self-publishing industry, your book is still about the Benjamins. Even if you didn’t invest a dime into its creation (which is not the smartest route to take), you did invest your time in writing it, doing the work of publishing it, and then promoting it. You might have even lost time from your day job in this process.

But most importantly, your book represents dollar signs to your readers. It’s kind of poopy of you to ask people to give up their own wages and meager savings to purchase your book if you cannot look them in the face and guarantee that it is the best book you could have created.

It is not a baby. It is a book.

So once you accept that your book is a work of art that will be placed into a higher business realm, how do you keep it from just becoming a corporate tool to bring about more dollar signs? By stepping back and acknowledging that it is a very real piece of you that also happens to be a very real piece of your bank account and the accounts of other people.

You owe it to yourself to see some kind of return on the time and emotional upheaval you put into creating the book, but you also owe it to yourself to see your book through reality-colored glasses. Be strong, be creative, and be real with yourself.

~~~~~~~~Mercy Pilkington is the CEO of Author Options, a full-service solutions provider for authors and publishers. Her sense of humor leans a bit to the sarcastic side, hence her overuse of the word crap. She is looking for romance titles that do not involved chiseled men with giant penises, and no more vampires unless there is something stunningly different about them that doesn’t involve sparkling. http://AuthorOptions.com

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