I am a book blogger.
I’ve been on Goodreads, BookLikes, Amazon, and written my fair share of opinion pieces for Bibliodaze and The Book Lantern. As such, I’ve seen the ol’ “my book is my baby” line thrown around a lot, but I don’t think we really realize what it means.
A WIP is a baby – it’s all ours, we grow and nurture it through much sweat and tears ad sacrifices. No-one is contesting that writing a book is hard work.
But like any baby, a WIP eventually grows up.
You raise it the best you can, make it a shiny covering letter and submit it to agents and publishers. The baby is off to school, where other people influence it and make it the best it can be. In many schools, a pre-published book is an adolescent, constantly changing, and some (most) of it happens outside of your control.
When it graduates to a published work, the book is an adult. They’re out in the world, making their own friends, creating their own enemies. Maybe your book will not have the kind of social circle you would have liked for them. Maybe they’ll turn out completely different from what you expected them to be. Maybe they’ll piss one too many people off, and then things will be very unpleasant.
But the book is a separate thing from you, and what happens to it doesn’t necessarily happen to you. You will have the occasional urge to step up and defend it, to take it away from what you consider to be “the bad crowd” but that would be the equivalent of a parent trying to fight an adult child’s battles – that just doesn’t work in the long run.
Let your book stand on its own. Maybe it’ll lose itself in translation, maybe the fanfics and reviews it generates create the totally wrong impression, but if there are readers who want to get to know it better (and there are, there always are) there is the original they can turn to, and your book will always rediscover itself.
Obviously, the metaphor isn’t exact (what metaphor is, one might argue) but it’s important to remember, as writers, that we can only baby a project for so long. Give that baby your sweat, blood and tears, then let it go.
Goodness knows, that’s what the human race has been doing since the beginning of time.