Treat Your Book Well

If you have a creative project, any creative project, from a poem to an eight-book series, from a note card doodle to a large-scale painting, or any other type of discipline, whether you like it or not, you have a child on your hands.

You have a responsibility to see that the child becomes fully formed and lacks nothing in its basic and complex functions. You are the one who decides what its ultimate purpose will serve, who it will aim to speak to, and when. You alone have that decision to make.

You’ll also become its caretaker once it is ready to see the world. This will be after you have persevered through the first draft, all the following drafts, seeking a handful of others’ edits, and actually applying them. You will have surpassed the words that what you’ll write in your first draft will be terrible and that the editing process is a total drudgery. While both may be true in some respects and do well to be acknowledged in the writing community, writers should keep the vision of their finished project in mind versus let those words discourage them. That way, the process of development might not become something to dread or a damper. Of course, it’s up to the writer to be or not to be influenced by others and not their fault if the one writer becomes discouraged by their complaints.

Then the book is born, and you, especially as a self-publisher, must take care of it. Marketing, the third and final aspect of the book is also something most writers dislike. But if you think your first draft will be less than worthless, the editing will be a drudgery, and the marketing a chore, then why are you writing a book? You must give respect to your book as well. I confess I’ve found it hard to treat my published book as a real book, especially when it was first published. I did the painting for the cover, the rest of the cover, the copyright page, and of course everything inside. It was strange to consider it a real book like all the others I owned. But a year and a half after its publication, I find my duties for it still weigh on me. I need to make sure it does well in life.

Here’s a different analogy: your book is like a universe. Or, to be more manageable, it’s like a world. A solar system. From cover to cover no detail nor design goes unpolished. In it the events and people work in perfect order within disorder. Nothing is more inspiring than looking at other books and seeing the life radiate from it. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende is a great book to behold. Even small books, like The Tale of Peter Rabbit, has design and charm one can learn from. Of course, this vigor of life within a book comes from the author. And the goal of the author is not to simply make an apple of gold in settings of silver for its own sake, but for the sake of others.