I don’t subscribe to that whole “my books are my babies” mantra that you see every now and then. I don’t have babies. Lucky, because I’d be in jail if I treated my babies how I treat my books. It’s my understanding that babies have to be fed and washed and clothed and, most importantly, that you can’t just abandon them if they begin to annoy you. So, no. Books and babies are very different things.
I do understand where this sentiment comes from, though. I really do. We work hard on our books. We create them. We are emotionally attached to them.
But they’re still not babies.
Because too often when an author pulls out the “But my book is like my baby!” thing, it's the first stop on the crazy train that is the Meltdown Express. Before you know it you're at "How dare you criticise me just because you're too stupid to understand my genius" Station.
As though likening a book to a baby is an excuse to have an overwrought reaction to an unfavourable review.
As though someone saying they don’t like your book is like someone harming your child.
Why not talk to someone who’s had a child, and ask them if that child in any way compares to a book? Better yet, why not talk to someone who’s lost a child and find out what they think of that cutesy little book analogy?
Books are a lot of things. They can inspire you, and educate you, and they can take you to places you never thought you’d get to go. Books are wonderful, and they are more than the sum of their parts. They can be magical.
And yet… they’re still not babies.
Well, maybe this kind of baby:
I hatch them, I wish them well, and then I kick them the hell out of my nest.
Whatever happens to them out there, they’re tough enough to handle it, and so am I.