Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Letting Go

by Janis Patterson

It’s been said before, but writing and launching a book is uncomfortably like having a baby. There is a considerable gestational period, followed by a protracted and unexpectedly painful effort to bring it into being. Then there are the anxious checks to make sure it is perfect followed by the seemingly never-ending concentration and work to do your best to set it up right in the world.

About all the author misses is the diapers. I guess there are some things to be thankful for.

And it doesn’t get any easier with subsequent books. Each is an individual effort and each must be handled in the way best for them. One thing is true for all books - and babies, for that matter - each is a heck of a lot of work.

I know whereof I speak. In 2014 I released (all re-releases except for one) a book every two weeks from 1 June to 31 October. Madness. In 2015 I wrote four books, but only released two. (Hey, I had an excuse - due to various business reasons The Husband and I were gone for what seems like half the year.)

One of those trips was to Egypt, where we were invited to come stay at the excavation headquarters for an archaeological dig. The director – a dear personal friend - had long suggested that I might want to set a book in that fantastic house. And fantastic it was - terraced, domed, set high above the Nile – built in 1906 by an English Egyptologist named Somers Clarke. So, after our stay there and a lazy holiday in Luxor, we returned home and I started to work on A KILLING AT EL KAB.

They say you aren’t supposed to have favorites among your children, and I guess that’s true, but it’s not possible with books. This one is special to me - not just because it’s a cracking good story, which it is - but because it brings back so many special memories.

Now it’s just about time for it to go out in the world. I’ve agonized over the edits and rewrites, and driven my cover artist (the inimitable Dawn Charles of Bookgraphics) and formatter (the superb Rik Hall) half mad with my pickiness. I’ve sweated over the metadata and keywords, both of which I regard as toys of the devil. I’ve decided on 15 March as the formal release date - assuming that the proofs for the paperback edition arrive by that date - as that will make it a year since we departed for Egypt.

And so my book - this very special book - is waiting offstage to go out into the world and try its wings. Please be nice to A KILLING AT EL KAB. You see, it’s my baby.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

I totally agree with your analogy--launching a new book is like giving birth to a baby. It's a very emotional experience. I just went through it recently with three different novels. The worst has been with THE KILLING LAND which should have had major reviews and somehow got ignored. So much for sales! You can write a great book but if no one's finds out about it, the novel draws few readers.

Susan said...

Oh, I agree, Jacqueline! So much work and so little appreciation - not even a shower! I do wish we weren't so dependent on reviews - sometimes getting them is more difficult than writing the book! Susan, aka Janis

Linda Thorne said...

That's a good comparison. I'd never thought of it that way, but they are sort of like our babies. They also take a ton of time and work after they are released, just like babies. Good job.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great post!

Morgan Mandel said...

I always get paranoid when I release a book. I just know I did something wrong somewhere in there, which my beta readers or I missed.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I'm always afraid no one will like the book. Great cover, by the way.