The author–editor relationship: an analogy:
👶 “I’m so proud of my book baby!”
🎂 “Happy book birthday!”
I see a lot of authors using the baby metaphor to describe their books. I can definitely see why. All that time. All that nurturing. And that uncanny reflection where you see parts of yourself staring straight back at you. Truly a labour of love.
👩👦 So, to extend this metaphor, I guess that makes me – the editor – your babysitter?
And, having seen both sides of the parent–babysitter relationship, here are some insights I’ve picked up.
– Do accept that you need a break from your baby. It’s time for someone else to help out for a while. Switch off and do something else for a bit while you’ve got the opportunity.
– Don’t just pass your little one over to some random. You won’t be able to relax. Everything might be completely fine, but you’ll always worry. Better to ask someone who has experience and who you’re already connected with – someone you know will do a good job, then you can make the most of your time away from your baby.
– Organise your babysitting with plenty of time to spare. You don’t want to be stressing at the last minute.
– Accept that your babysitter won’t do everything identically to you, and that’s okay. If there are dealbreakers, tell them in advance.
– Reflect on the value of this adventure for your child – being adaptable, open to new experiences: it’s sure to do them good.
– If you feel a bit scared, that’s OK. A bit of fear lets you know this is important.
– Rule number one: pay close attention to the baby. It’s there for your care, so give it your care.
– Encourage creativity and self-expression. The child is applying paint with a water gun? OK, let’s see how that goes. Give them some grounding principals, you know, like how to keep the paint on the canvas – but if they splash a bit, well, that’s to be expected. Just keep a cloth to hand.
– Offer some new perspectives and experiences. You know the parent’s dealbreakers: respect those, absolutely. But introduce some new possibilities – what do you think the child would benefit from?
– Send baby back clean. Parents would like to ease in to their responsibilities, not immediately have to mop up.
– Don’t break the baby! It came to you fully formed. It should return to the parent fully formed!
– Tell the parent what you enjoyed about your time with their child. What did they do that had you laughing out loud? What did they do that really impressed you? The parent is likely to beam with pride on hearing this praise – and rightly so: they’ve done a great job!
It’s totally normal to feel anxious about sending your book off to an editor, especially if you’re a new writer.
Communication is absolutely the key to this being a success.
Fear works both ways. And fear is good.
So, to have time away from your book later, start connecting with editors now. There are so many of us, you’re spoilt for choice. Find the one that resonates with you.
If you think that’s me, head to my services page to find out more.