As an editor, I worked on somewhere between one and two hundred books. I cared about all of them. Some of them I loved. Some not so much. But I did my best to make them all as good as they could be, and then I let go.
Insecure authors, though, drove me around the bend. While I soothed them with reassuring words and compliments, inwardly I was usually thinking, “It’s a book, not a baby! Get over it!” Now I know, though, that editors are like day care workers or teachers. And authors are parents.
I’ve spent so much time on A Gift of Time. It’s not just a baby, it’s a really difficult baby. A pregnancy that involved pain and endless vomit and back-aches. Colic and allergies and ear infections. If it was a kid, it would have sensory integration disorder and temper tantrums and nightmares. Really, this baby — this baby was a pain in the ass.
I got my first feedback from readers on the end product last night. (Well, not the end product, but the current draft.) I cried. They weren’t tears of relief, exactly, but… maybe tears of gratitude? These were from reviewers on fictionpress, so not people I know, not people who are invested in not depressing me.
“I know you struggled, at times, with this one, but in the end it was very well done. It is, by turns, funny, thought provoking, and suspenseful all while remaining true to character and story. I love intelligently written books, and this is one. I hope its fate is not USB purgatory, it completes the trilogy and is still a great stand alone read.”
“quite possibly one of the best stories I have ever read, published or otherwise. Thought-provoking, with a well-rounded plot and amazing details. As a frequent silent reader of this site, I’m very glad you made your characters mature, reasonable people with good sense and practicality. Plus, I love the interwoven supernatural and realistic themes.”
Like I said, I cried. I don’t even have words to express how comforted I was. And really, how very grateful I am to those two strangers who took the time to tell me that my efforts were worth something to them.
The incredibly difficult baby might, after all, grow up to be a charming, delightful adult.