Why Books Don’t Have Birthdays

Writer folks sometimes call their release date their “book birthday,” which I don’t especially like. Books aren’t born, they are made. Moreover, “birthday” usually means “anniversary,” to people, not “born day.” So even as a metaphor, it doesn’t work for me. But the real reason I don’t like the term is because it simply doesn’t suit the occasion. But I am amused to think of a book release as an actual birth. Because if it were, this is what it would be like:

  • The day a baby is born, you are already nine months pregnant with another baby, and two weeks pregnant with a third.
  • There would be an approximate nine-to-sixteen month wait between being nine months pregnant and the baby being born. In the meantime, you’ll get occasional sonograms but otherwise have little to do with your baby’s second phase of fetal development.
  • Baby due dates are arbitrary, but at least the baby is BORN on one day… In this case, the baby kind of trickles out. There’s a baby sighting in San Francisco a week before you realize it’s born, then a friend says they received your baby from Amazon.com. But other friends can’t find your baby anywhere even after the due date comes and goes. It’s gradual.
  • The due date can get pushed up a month or pushed back a year, just like that :snapping fingers:

That’s no way to stay sane. I think you just have to say, “the book’s official release date is today,” then make your own fanfare. I’ll create mine as best I can.

Post Script:

My buddy Steve (currently shilling my new release!) also has a book out tomorrow, or out in September… it all depends on what you mean by “out.” (See how the release date is listed as September 2010? But it also says “in stock”? Both are true!) Coincidentally, I’d already written most of this blog post before I knew about this… I just read the book this weekend, and it’s terrific, so order it quick, before they change their mind again.

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