A book may be a writer’s baby, but babies are not books

15 December 2021

A writer’s second book, and having a second child, are similar experiences – difficult – says Australian author Anna Downes, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald. But don’t go thinking books are the same as babies, well, not most of the time anyway.

The difference with books is that one day you must let go. Once your novel is published, its success or failure in the world is out of your hands. You can’t control where it goes or with whom, can’t protect it from criticism. All you can do is love it, be proud of it, celebrate its birthdays, spend time with those who adore it, and maybe rescue it from a dark corner once in a while. Because your work is finally done. Your book comes through you, but it is not part of you. It is not who you are.

Downe’s second novel The Shadow House was published in September this year.