Thursday, 15 June 2017

Birthing a Book – by Ruth Bonetti

Two weeks ago I became a doting grandmother to little Archie.
Two months ago I birthed a book after a decade's gestation. I muse...


The arduous process, false contractions, anxieties and hard labour culminates into sheer delight to hold a baby for the first time. Nature sends a wash of amnesia over the pain so mothers front up for more.


Now the real work begins.
Birth sets parents on a lifelong path to nurture, care and guide.

So we authors must lead our new book into the wide world.

OVERNIGHT SENSATION (Losing weight so fast!)

Identity issues accompany streamlined figures. Last month’s groomed capable superwoman fades into a hausfrau who craves sleep and a minute’s bathroom privacy. As the florist bouquets wilt, some mothers befriend cabbage leaves. They become camels, humping prams and nappy bags.

Authors invest in larger handbags to carry a few books in the hope of tempting impulse buys. They feel pressure to be seen with a successful image in the crowded market place. They must morph into media tarts, push themselves all over social media, hoping hungry overkill doesn’t repel.


Like a baby’s christening, a launch introduces your book to the world–and can attract publicity. Frock up for photographs to splash around social media.

Preparing a launch is a huge job, so delegate to your loyal team. Trying to be MC, stage manager, tech crew, speaker and star at an event causes headless chook furrowed brow. Email a clear, detailed run-sheet well before the event.

Be available to greet and chat. Breathe. Smile. Be grateful to those who bought books, supported–and for left-over gourmet food that saves cooking next day.


Many authors are shy introvert types, reluctant to push themselves or their barrow of books. They might prefer to change a dirty nappy rather than front a panel discussion, book reading or talk at a writers’ festival. And yet they crave attention to market their baby, so they must surmount insecurity and ‘pick me!’ pitch to program conveners, hoping to break that glass ceiling for an invitation.


A baby draws instant attention–away from the mother. Books compete with trillions of competitors and are easily overlooked. We’ve lived with our story all through its gestation and now long to hear validation. Please, NOW! And then…Silence.
But most people haven’t had time to read or digest it yet. Few realise that a sentence of feedback on Amazon or Goodreads would make that author’s month.


Midwives know the four-day blues. For authors, it may be four-week blues. We poured every ounce into perfecting our words, characters and structure. We edited and proofed, polished.
Print is final; we can’t fix that pesky typo on page one that even an objective proof reader missed.

At such times it’s easy to fall prey to doubt and self-sabotage. Maybe it’s not worth pitching to that festival, they won’t take indie publications.

Even luminaries like Kate Grenville admit rejections and frustrations. She avoids downers by simmering several projects at a time. Submit one, turn to another.

But you’re SO exhausted? It's no surprise.
Rest. Be still. Enjoy the fulfilment of your goal and hard – er, labour.

Read other authors–for enjoyment. Don’t let vulnerability bury your gift in the ground, but do trust the seasons; allow some time to lie fallow. Come spring, your new seedlings may sprout. Believe in your gifting and honour it. When the time is right, the green blade of your creative sap will rise again.

Midnight Sun to Southern Cross is Ruth Bonetti’s second book in her historical biography/memoir saga of local stories. In the tradition of great family migration stories, it continues the saga of the Back brothers’ flight from Russian-occupied Finland to Australia as the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth. Available: Amazon and her webstore at Follow Ruth’s blog:

Earlier books are in her primary field of performance–of words and music–and education. Ruth founded Omega Writers in 1991 when her youngest son was a toddler.


  1. Great post Ruth. Congratulations on both acbievements. I'm sure you are enjoying your little grandson to the full. May there be many precious moments with him. That was great how you compared and contrasted the two events. Some similarities and some dissimilarities - that's for sure. All the best with your latest book and may God use it for His glory.

    1. Becoming a grandparent surely adds a rich, deep dimension to our perspective!

  2. Congratulations of becoming a grandma and on launching your latest book. Loved both Burn My Letters and Midmight Sun to Southern Cross. And what great and helpful parallels.

    1. And than YOU Jeanette O'Hagan for your support on the long journey!

  3. Yes, sometimes I still struggle to talk about my books. :-)

  4. I can relate. A gestational period as long as an elephant. Braxton Hicks contractions only to be told it's a false alarm - we're not ready yet. Anxiety as I prepare for the birth. Thanks for your word painting, Ruth! I feel better now.

  5. Thanks for the reassurance, Carolyn. I was aware it might seem negative but felt reality and honesty are more likely to help those on similar paths. May you be surprised by the (relative!) ease of your coming culmination.

  6. Great post, Ruth. Congratulations on all fronts!