I witnessed the birth of my third child on Monday. Working Stiffs weighed in at 10oz and 8 inches long from head to toe. Not a bad size and weight all things considered. Sadly, I wasn’t there for the arrival when the FedEx stork dropped off the package. I was at the World Horror Convention and I had to hear the news from Julie. She ripped off the packaging to tell me all was in good shape and that it looked wonderful. When I got home, the first thing I did was reopen the package so that I could smell the baby-fresh scent of a brand new book. For an author, I don’t think there’s a smell like it. It’s a combination of fresh paper and glue that hasn’t had the chance to breathe in the air.
Although I joke, bringing a book into the world isn’t much different from bringing a child into the world, although I won’t have to send it to college or pay for its wedding. There’s the conception—that first spark of passion when the idea for the book is born. The excitement builds as the story grows from an idea into a story and the page count swells. It’s not long before it actually possesses a shape resembling the embryo manuscript. The editing process refines its shape and it starts to resemble the story I wanted to make. Then before I know it, it’s reached the end of its first trimester.
Then my baby enters a tricky stage as I search for a publisher and/or agent to assist with the birth. This can be a long and treacherous route filled with disappointment and setbacks, but I always have faith regardless of the passage of time. I know it has to happen. It’s happened before. And it does. Someone shares my love for my book and offers a contract that carries my baby through to its final trimester.
This is the most nervous of times. Everything looks sound enough, but I’ve experienced things going wrong. Publishers can change their mind. Circumstances can change. And I have to keep a careful eye on developments. But with Working Stiffs, there were no such troubles. Compared to my first two children, this book went to term with few problems. It arrived on the day they told me—a first.
Now that Working Stiffs is born—and did I mention it’s a fine looking kid—I still have a lot of work to do. Like any proud father, I have to show this baby off. Anyone and everyone who stops for more than two seconds is going to hear about how wonderful my baby is. I know it may bore some, but I can’t help it. I really love this one. This isn’t to say that I like this one any better than the others. Well, that’s what I tell my first two books.
And what kind of father would I be if I didn’t break out the baby pictures? So here’s a picture of baby Working Stiffs.
So it’s cigars all round and I hope you’ll enjoy Working Stiffs as much as I do.