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One Writer's Ravings:
A Logophile's Blog
for Language Lovers

Happy Birthday to <i>The Accidents of Style</i>

Today is the official publication date of The Accidents of Style. It is also the tenth time I've birthed a book. That's eight more times than I've helped bring children into the world. And bringing forth a book, I've often reflected, is much like having a baby.

There are the early episodes of puking (that's the advance? they want it when?) followed by swelling pride and expectation of success (procrastination). Then a shocking amount of seemingly endless pain (the actual writing and editing) culminates in the brief bliss of holding your creation in your arms (the arrival of your author's copies, a triumphant moment that dissolves into despair when you spot the first typo that you and everyone else overlooked).

Then you endure weeks or even months of sleepless drudgery nurturing the helpless creature (publicity) while trying to ignore all the screaming and bawling and projectile vomiting going on around you (book reviews). Finally, after all this and even more herculean labor (book signings, speaking events), the Phickle Winds of Phate either reward you with a bright, confident, independent child who grows up to have an exciting and rewarding life (you earn back your advance and get royalties), or punish you with a stunted misfit who clings to your apron strings and can't hold down a job (you get remaindered and go out of print).

Yes, birthing a book, like bearing and bringing up a child, is damned hard work. It's a labor of love. It takes blood, toil, tears, and sweat. And no matter how many books (or kids) you have, it's always both exhilarating and heartbreaking each time this glorious, beautiful, perfect, flawed, and vulnerable thing you fostered and endlessly fussed over finally steps out the door to make its fledgling way in the world.

Happy birthday, Accidents of Style! Fama semper vivat ("may your good name live forever") — or at least until you earn back my measly advance.

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