A few weeks ago, my oldest son Gabriel left us for his junior college year abroad in Athens, Greece. It was a bigger transition than sending him to college in Wisconsin. Yes, we can fly to Athens if absolutely necessary, but he isn’t looking for that, and the flight is long and expensive. So this represents the first time he’s really on his own beyond a day’s travel. We are thrilled for him. But for us, it is more difficult that we expected. It’s another way parents need to let go, and so far he’s doing well and we aren’t looking over his shoulder but enjoying the occasional Skype or text.
Whether it is birthing pains or kids leaving the nest, transitions can leave many of us feeling fragile and anxious. This is also true of many authors when it’s time to submit their manuscripts.
Unless you’ve written one, it’s hard to understand the mental energy required to write a book to trade publishing standards against a deadline. Writing is original, one sentence at a time thinking, and that requires the mind’s most energy-intense work over months and years.
Authors need to navigate handing over the manuscript to the publisher without getting caught up in negative feelings or fears that can make it hard to think clearly.
None of this is to say you shouldn’t advocate for your views and concerns–or even take action if a publisher is damaging the book. But I’ve seen how important it is for authors to distinguish between their free-floating transition anxiety, and a genuine need to advocate for themselves.
For authors, while your editor and marketing team have loved your proposal, now you are entering a new relationship. Your editor has sole responsibility for turning your pages into a quality finished product, one that lives