My work presents me with a confusion of language. When I talk about being done with a book to my writer friends, they naturally assume that I am discussing the book I am writing. What I’m really talking about is the layout work that I’m doing for a Schlock Mercenary book. Then I find myself saying “Oh I’m not talking about my book. It is Howard’s book that is done.” Only Howard’s books are my books too. I have as much hand in them as he does even though my name only appears in small print on the credits page while his name graces the cover.
This confusion of how to describe work is far from unique to me. I’m sure agents, editors, copy editors, and layout designers have been dealing with this for far longer than I have. All of these people have a right to feel some ownership over the finished product that is a book. It takes the love and effort of many people to bring a book to market where it will hopefully find the love and support of many readers as well.
Even more confusing is when a friend comes up to ask “How is your book doing?” My mind always stutters for a minute while I try to figure out which book the person might be inquiring about. There is the children’s picture book (selling slowly,) the essay book (still in first draft,) Resident Mad Scientist (just off to the printer,) XDM (selling strongly,) or one of the other five Schlock Books in print (selling well and some in second printing.) I don’t have one book. I have many books. I wonder if authors with many books in print have this same problem. I suspect that they do.