Publishing a book is like having a baby. There is a lengthy gestation period, with the author growing increasingly uncomfortable and impatient as the due date nears. Egos, like pregnant body parts, swell and deflate. Well-meaning relatives, friends and acquaintances constantly inquire about the book's health and status, eagerly snapping up any snippets of information about its development. Is it here yet? they ask. Shouldn't it be here by now? When do I get to see it?
Even strangers bestow blessings and felicitations upon new writers. "It's my first," I proudly beam. It is a marvel. Publishing a book is a feat of careful nurturing. Rather than a fleshy baby, the book is a creative baby, full of promise, set free into the world.
Following this line of thinking, a book release party is like a baby shower. And I imagine that the delivery of author copies is as momentous as a visit from the stork.
As my own due date nears, worries assail me. How will I keep my little novel safe? How will I guard against the wolves, keep it alive long enough to get legs and take off on its own adventure? Will I be a failure as a writer/parent? Will the pressure drive me to drink and ruin? Will I slander my novel for failing to meet my expectations?
I launch my book, hoping that it is well received. That the other kids like it. That it makes friends who love it for its inner beauty, and not the hot girl on the cover. Love it, be kind! Don't hurt its feelings!
Perhaps the best and only difference that matters is that I will never have to pay for my novel's therapy sessions or let it and its kids move in with me after a particularly disastrous series of lay-offs.