It takes a village

November 5, 2014 § 6 Comments

I have two books in production at the moment, and today I had to write the acknowledgements for one of them.

As I sat quietly in the school parking lot, crafting those words of gratitude on my iPad, it struck me that just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to raise a book too.

The process of writing a book is often compared to the jourrney of pregnancy and childbirth. The book starts off as the merest germ of an idea, and then word by word, you build it. It is shaped and moulded in the womb of your mind, and eventually you give birth to that final manuscript and the production process begins.

And that’s where the village kicks in. Because while I can string together a sentence or two, and I know a bit about layout, print production and marketing, the bits that don’t involve writing and editing are not my areas of expertise. And so I have to hand my child over to a village of co-caretakers, who will help to take the infant manuscript and turn it into a fully-fledged book.

It’s a magical process, one of co-creation and collaboration, and damn hard work, frankly. But it also involves a fair amount of trust and relinquishing control – two things I’m not terribly good at.

But oh, the rewards! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finally holding your own book in your hands, feeling its heft and the sharpness of hot-off-the-press pages; hearing the faint snap of the spine as you open it, and inhaling the fragrance of paper and ink. As a writer, nothing makes me happier.

So two of my written children are almost grown up. I can’t wait to see how they turn out.


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§ 6 Responses to It takes a village

  • Di Brown says:

    Congratulations! I hope one day you will tell us more, or at least Tweet a pic of the covers.


    • Thanks, Di. I’ve been bleating about Dinner Time on Twitter, and it has its own Facebook page, if you search for it by name, with my name. The other one is still getting its cover and title, so it’s not ready to be revealed yet. 😉


  • Jeremy Farrell says:

    Hey, I couldn’t have said it better myself. That of course is true in this case! As I may have found someone to cast a critical eye over my book in Cape Town, I have the coach on one side and the therapist on the other – one to crit, and one to catch.


  • Congratulations on your “pregnancy” and upcoming “birth”!! I have to say, while writing is my first love, I had so much fun with the production process and finally seeing my “dressed up child”. You are absolutely right about the first time you hold your book in your hands. It is magical!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Elle Knowles says:

    I see I’m not the only one who writes in her car as she waits for whatever needs to be waited on at the moment. Very well said!


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