Written by: Sierra Melcher, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Greetings, fellow entrepreneurs, aspiring authors, and future thought leaders! Today, we're about to embark on a whimsical yet enlightening journey that may change your perspective on writing and publishing forever.
Imagine the world of words and publishing as a labor and delivery room where you are the proud parent of a brand-new creation. Yes, you guessed it right – we're comparing the process of writing and publishing a book to having a baby! There are so many parallels.
Brace yourselves for a humorous yet heartwarming comparison that will shed light on the incredible journey of creating and sharing your ideas with the world. But more importantly, rethinking the process in this way will help you be more successful & a better book parent.
Just like babies, books start with a spark of inspiration. You're casually sipping your coffee, and suddenly, an idea strikes you like a lightning bolt. It's the "Aha!" moment that sets the wheels in motion. At this point, you might be as excited as a new parent-to-be, envisioning the future with your newfound inspiration. At the same time, this idea is still very fragile. For it to come to term it requires all the conditions be right.
Pregnancy: Drafting & publishing prep
Next comes the gestation period, which in the world of writing, feels like nine months of mental acrobatics. Many of our authors have been pregnant for years or even decades! Much like a pregnant woman, you'll experience mood swings, cravings for coffee, and sleepless nights. But it's also the time of creative blooming, and your idea takes shape. You're nurturing it, watching it grow. How you care for yourself & learn what each trimester or stage has in store will help you weather the rollercoaster better. Elation & vomiting can go hand in hand; remember it is all part of the process & just because you are freaking out does not mean you are doing it wrong. In fact, it means you are right where you need to be.
It helps to have fellow writers, also pregnant with their idea, by your side, to commiserate, encourage, and normalize the total change that is happening for you. Fellow writers are as important, if not more than your Lamaze class.
Labor pains: Publishing day
Finally, the day arrives when you're ready to bring your "baby" into the world. As any parent knows, this stage is filled with anxiety, excitement, and even a touch of dread. Your manuscript goes through the editing process, and it's hard work. You'll face the literary equivalent of contractions as you labor over revisions and grammar checks. Just remember, it's all part of the birthing process. I have even had many authors say to me the night before their book comes out, “Never mind, actually I don’t want to do this. Can we cancel it?” We are way past the point of no return.
Breathe. Scream. Freak out & remember that you are exactly where you need to be. You got this.
Delivery room drama ( I don’t know– I had a home birth)
Here you are, standing at the threshold of publication. You'll experience moments of self-doubt, maybe even a few "I can't do this!" cries. But just like a parent, you find the strength to push through, and suddenly, there it is – your book, fresh and new, ready to meet the world.
The analogy continues into parenthood. The story doesn’t end with birth. A book truly is like a baby. You still need to care for it after it is out in the world!
The newborn stage: New release
As your book takes its first breath, you feel like a proud parent, but you'll also be sleep-deprived with marketing efforts, trying to nurture your creation into a full-blown sensation. Remember, just like a newborn baby, your book needs attention, care, and guidance as it grows. But it is ok to step back & take a break to recover as well.
*We encourage all our authors to have planned the first 90 days of the marketing so your book can continue to be marketed and optimize the traction (without having to be awake all the time). This doesn't work with human babies as well, but the way you can stock up on diapers & ask for help you don’t have to just suffer in silence either way.
The toddler years: Settling to “Being an author”
Your book is out there, toddling into the world, picking up readers, and gaining a personality of its own. The terrible twos might strike with bad reviews, but you stay patient, just like any parent navigating the early stages of a child's life. Your book will continue to grow only if you tend to it.
The teenage rebellion
Ah, the teenage years of a book can be tumultuous. You'll see it spreading its wings and challenging the status quo. But you must guide it through these rebellious years, just like a parent navigating a teenager's identity crisis. This means that now maybe your opinion has evolved, and you go back and read what you published. Some of it is brilliant and you think, “Wow, this is great, who wrote this? Oh, it was me! Dang!” You are as likely to think, “Oh I could say that better. I want to change this or that.” Too late babe! It is out in the world. You have to deal with it the way it is.
The proud parent: You have integrated the identity of the author
And there it is your book, now fully grown, making its mark in the world. They still need you even when it's grown. Parenting is never really over.
So, there you have it, dear. The journey of writing and publishing a book is remarkably similar to having & raising a baby. It's a rollercoaster of emotions, sleepless nights, and hard work, but the reward is immeasurable.
Whether you're currently in the conception phase or already dealing with teenage rebellion, remember that you are not alone in this journey. Just as parents seek advice from fellow parents, authors find support and inspiration in the writing and publishing community. Check out our Red Thread Community if you need support.
Embrace the journey as well as the chaos, and know that just like parents raising their children, you're creating a legacy that will leave a lasting impact on the world. So, fellow authors and proud parents, keep on nurturing your "babies" and let them shine!
Happy writing and publishing!
Sierra Melcher, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Best-selling author, international speaker & educator, Sierra Melcher is founder of Red Thread Publishing LLC. She leads an all-female publishing company, with a mission to support 10,000 women to become successful published authors & thought-leaders. Offering world-class coaching & courses that focus on community, collaboration, and a uniquely feminine approach at every stage of the author process. Sierra has a Master’s degree in education, has spoken & taught around the world. Originally from the United States, Sierra lives in Medellin, Colombia with her young daughter.