Sunday, July 11, 2010

Books as Babies - One Mother Author's Perspective

The comments have arisen again about authors who consider their books as their babies, which has brought about a lot of ridicule and teasing from other authors.

Come on, people!

I am very protective of my books.  I get emotionally involved in them when I'm writing.  But I know these creations aren't flesh and blood.  I know I don't have to get them their immunization shots, or make sure I teach them to look both ways before they cross the street.

But I do want to make sure they have a good home with a publisher who'll treat them with respect.  I want to give them a good cover to make them attractive.  And most of all, I want readers to enjoy them.

So in a very rhetorical way, yes, my books are like my babies.  And I believe other authors who have the same sense of "mothering" feel the same way.  We are in no way equating books to actual children.  We're simply saying that, after all the effort we've made to bring these creations into the world, we hope they're well-received.  We hurt if someone derides them.  We get upset if someone casually dismisses them without actually giving them a chance.  And we sometimes get defensive.

Why?  Because it's the way we're wired.  Creative people are less analytical and more spontaneous.  We're also more emotional, and it shows in our books, our paintings, our sculptures, etc.  Emotion drives the creative spirit.  Emotion, and the love of creating, keeps us producing.  But because of emotion, unfortunately, some of us are less adept at handling negativity than others.

So the next time an author comments that her books are like her babies, please accept the allegory and go on.  If husbands can call a favorite car "their baby", and other people can call their pet dog or cat "their baby", there's nothing wrong with authors doing the same about their books.

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