WINNERS! WINNERS! Because I had so many post, I'm giving away two ARCs, Advanced Reader Copies, and two of my older releases. THE FIRST PLACE WINNERS TO RECEIVE AN ARC: Chelsea B and RobynL. The second place winners to receive a copy of one of my older releases are Kerribookwriter and Sally F.
Please email me at christie (at) Christie-Craig (dot) com. Sally and Kerribookwriter please let me know which book you would like. And thanks to everyone who played.
Next Tuesday pop over to Barbara Vey's blog http://www.publishersweekly.com/blog/Beyond_Her_Book/index.php and post for a chance to win an ARC. Also in May I will be doing contests every week to give away an ARC.
CONTEST: Leave a comment to win an advanced copy of Shut Up and Kiss Me.
You may have heard writers say that our books are our babies—that seeing a book through from the first sparkle of inspiration to the actual publication—to where you can actually hold that book in your hands—is much like having a baby. I should point out that some of our babies stay in the oven a heck of a lot longer than nine months. That said, here’s sort of how I compare publishing to birthing. Oh, I should warn you upfront, this may get graphic. Hey, anyone who’s ever given birth knows how graphic that can be. Right?
First, did you notice I compared birthing to publishing, and not writing? Why? Well, because writing is only part of the publishing process. Ahh, the writing, or I should say the initial writing, the oh-my-God-I’ve-got-a-great-story stage. It’s then when a writer can’t get to her computer fast enough. She’s breathing hard with excitement. Her body is tingling with anticipation. Her focus is 100% on her story. She feels so good. She’s on fire. Her words flow from her finger tips, and she doesn’t even contemplate stopping. Oh, no. She’s doing this. She’s going all the way this time.
Ahh, yes, the initial writing is what I refer to as the conception stage of publishing. And by conception, in case you missed all those metaphors, I mean sex. It’s the really fun part of making a baby, or in this case, making a book. Well, it’s the fun part when everything goes right. Hey . . . most of us has gone fishing and didn’t get a bite. Or entered a race and didn’t arrive at the finish line. Gone gigging and didn’t get a frog. Well, writers can get all turned on by an idea, but when they get down to actually doing the deed—I’m talking about the writing—well, the plot goes limp, the hero, or heroine just doesn’t stand up to our expectations. It can be very discouraging.
A smart writer will be honest when it’s not working. Needless to say, writers are human too, and we are often tempted to just fake it. Faking it always gets a girl and writers in trouble. Seriously, screaming “yes, yes, yes,” when there’s no real motivation for the story makes for a very boring first scene. And some new writers, myself included, have been known to keep faking it chapter after chapter.
However, like in the baby-making business, if his little squiggles meet up with your eggs, things very well may start to fuse—well, that’s about chapter two in the book-making business. The plot just seems to be sticking. Not that all your insecurities have faded. This is still that time when you’re unsure if the book will go to full term. You’re scared to let anyone else read it, or tell anyone about your new idea because you’re not one hundred percent sure you are going to carry this book the whole way. Yup, that first trimester of writing is filled with uncertainty.
Now in the baby-making business, the less than pleasant upchucking stage comes a bit earlier than it does in the book-making business. It’s about mid book when you start getting that sick feeling that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew—never mind trying to swallow it. The nervous flutters of not being able to pull off the plot starts gnawing at the lining of your stomach. Nothing you write goes down good. Half of what your write comes back up and gets flushed down the computer toilet with one button push—delete. Doubt sets in.
Thankfully, that stage passes when you start to feel the plot move. Your book suddenly feels real, alive. You get excited about naming your baby. You wonder what your baby’s face will look like. Will the cover be as beautiful as you imagine it? Will people stop you on the street to tell you how beautiful your baby is? But then it hits. . . the pressure of making your book great. The fear that it’s not going to turn out as good as you thought, that fear has you practically peeing on yourself all the time.
You’re not over that phase when the sagging stage hits. You know when you’re pregnant and your boobs start looking like overgrown eggplants? Well, the middle of the book is known to sag like that. As a matter of fact, soon, the whole book starts getting huge, the computer document starts showing signs of stretch marks, even the backend of your book is spreading. You need to stop feeding it words, but you can’t. Because if you do, that means it’s almost time for the big day, the day you write “the end.”
Oh, hell, you don’t think you’re ready for that. Because you know what comes next. Just thinking about it has inspiration and fear gushing out like a burst of water. Then it’s time, time to expose yourself, time to pull up your gown and show your hoo-hoo to every one in the room. It’s time to push your baby out into the world.
It’s time to give the book to a critique partner, to an agent or an editor. As wonderful as this experience can be, you know to expect pain—the pain of rewrites and rejections. Then comes the worry that your baby is never going to grow up to be a real novel and play on the bookstore shelves. You consider quitting, crossing your legs and just not letting it out. But it’s too late to turn back. Oh, no, your woo-woo is already exposed, you’ve told people you were writing a book, you’re committed and as scared as you are, you have this need to push yourself. So you take one of those deep breaths and you do it. You scream like a Mo Fo and you give one last push and it happens. Your baby is done. You are exhilarated and elated. Life is good. You can’t wait to get your first glimpse of the little darling as a completed book. And when you do . . .?
Sorry. Not all babies are born beautiful. Have you ever seen a new-born baby that came right out of the shoot? Their heads can be misshaped, they’ve got gooey stuff all over them, and sometimes you gotta slap them on the ass to bring some life into them. Well, our books are born the same way. An editor may say what a cute little baby, and love it like a mama, but then they drop the bomb. They tell you before they’ll really love your little darling, you gotta get it a nose job, some liposuction, and grow some hair on that thing.
Yeah, birthing a book isn’t easy. But it’s like birthing a baby. There’s nothing in the world quite like it. Because after all that, a writer forgets it’s not easy. They find themselves back at their computer, turned on by another plot idea, hoping it stands up to their expectation, praying to cross the finish line, swearing they won’t fake it, and they start working on giving life to another book.
That’s what I’m doing this week. I’m starting a new book. And my baby that just came out of the shoot? Well, I kind of, sort of, had twins. You see, next June I will have two books hit the shelves. Wild, Wicked & Wanton: 101 Ways to Love Like You are In a Romance Novel, is a humorous non-fiction book on what a woman can learn from a romance novel, and Shut Up and Kiss Me, is another humorous romantic suspense that includes skunks, fire ants and men in--and out--of pink bathrobes.
And to celebrate my starting a new book and publishing two, I’m gonna give away an ARC of Shut Up and Kiss Me to one lucky poster. Tell me about the books you are reading, or tell me a funny birthing experience of a baby, a book, or anything that brings about labor pains. Just leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. And make sure you come back tomorrow morning to see who won.