Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Guest Post by C.J. Omololu

Book Birthdays and Why You Should Celebrate Them

Unlike real birthdays, book birthdays are a rather recent invention. According to my esteemed agent, people used to think of book ‘months’ rather than an actual day that a book came out. I’m here to tell you that those days are gone. Accurate or not, book birthdays are usually generated by Amazon, when they put the release date on the book’s page along with a preorder button. That date is then set in stone in the mind of readers and authors alike as the day that the book will be born into the world. Don’t even get me started on those little counter widget things that start showing up on websites.

A book birthday is usually the result of years and years of working, worrying and waiting. Once a manuscript has been written, it is then revised, sent out on submission, rejected, purchased, revised two or three more times and then after six more months of printing and shipping arrives as a beautiful hardback or softcover bundle on their doorstep. The jury is out about whether a stork actually delivers them.

As an author holds their book for the first time, they often look around and realize that the world hasn’t stopped, there is no national holiday to mark this very special occasion. People go about their business, not realizing that the second or third most important day in the author’s life has arrived.

I urge all writers to make that day special. Have a launch party, go out to dinner, have that second serving of cake or make it a special spa day with your best friend. Do something, anything, to make that day stand out. Trust me, if you don’t, it can get ugly.

It might surprise you that many writers are rather shy. They’d rather do almost anything than put themselves out there for a pat on the back. Most of them don’t want to make a big deal about the day their book comes out – which is not to say that you shouldn’t make a big deal about that day. Small things like a big ‘hooray’ on the writer’s blog, Twitter or website like the Tenners go a long way to making that day special. In the age of Google Alerts, you can bet that the author will see any mention of their name and it will let them know that for just a few minutes, the people that matter most will share in that celebration.

Of course, balloons, flowers and expensively wrapped presents aren’t too bad either.