Having a book published is about the closest a man can come to the physical and existential anxieties and pains of childbirth.

First, there’s the extended ecstasy of creation, which is the fun part; that’s followed by months and months of waiting, which sometimes stretches to years, so you get to know what it must be like to be a pregnant whale. Then there’s the birth, which is undoubtedly a joyous occasion, especially if you get a great naming party at your publisher’s expense. But thereafter it’s truly horrible: your newborn, your very own creation, is tossed like a Spartan baby on to a hilltop and just left there, to live or die.

Sometimes it’s even worse than that. About 16 years ago I produced a comic book version of TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, retold as a kind of Chandleresque film noir, with Chris Marlowe searching the mean streets for the Holy Grail. The pregnancy was a nightmare, once the Eliot Estate found out what I was up to. After their lawyers had had sight of a copy of the artwork, they insisted that every quotation from the original poem had to come out.

As if that wasn’t ominous enough, I met the boss of my publishers at a party. He told me how much he loved the book, how it was going to do fantastically well, and how (the phrase still makes my blood run cold) it was “very much a word of mouth book”. Even back then I knew that was publisher’s argot for “there is no publicity budget”. They pulped the lot 18 months later. That was when I realised that even my midwives were against me.

A few years later I produced another comic book, this time an adaptation of Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. It took me three-and-a-half years to write and draw (which is a long orgasm by anyone’s standards), but I ended up with a launch party, an exhibition, good reviews – and the complete run sold out. Which was nice.

Nonetheless, a week after publication I submitted myself to that exquisite kind of torture peculiar to authors. After a rather strained celebratory lunch with my wife, my agent, the publisher who’d commissioned the book and his successor (who weren’t speaking to each other, hence the strain), I remember tottering slightly tipsily up Charing Cross Road on my way to catch a train at Euston. To kill time I went into a few bookshops to check things out.

Naturally, there wasn’t a copy of my Tristram Shandy to be seen anywhere. When I got to the fifth bookshop, I was sufficiently buzzing with paranoia to ask for it at the misleadingly termed “Help” desk, only to be told, with a look of weary loathing from the woman behind the counter, that no such book existed.

Anyway, having gone through the experience ten times already, I’ve just come through yet another confinement with Stuff, a book about my late parents, their lives, their deaths, my childhood and adoption and loads of other stuff, and my first entirely non-visual book. It details how my three mothers (birth, adoptive and step) inter-connected in strangely unexpected ways, how I found out I was originally the third of 11 children, and also about the horrors I encountered clearing my dead parents’ house of all that stuff which accumulated to define their lives and times, and mine too. This time, because it was something I’d been researching all my life, it actually only took about two months to write, which gets perilously close to premature ejaculation.

Naturally, the same old authorial paranoias have resurfaced, although they’ve now taken on a digital dimension, with late-night logging on to Amazon to check my ranking (can they really have so many books in stock that you can rank below two million?).

Then there’s been the usual trauma of whoring myself round radio studios and being photographed for hours by newspaper snappers whose editors invariably choose the shot that makes me look like a smacked-up paedo.

But although my mobile going off half way through being grilled live by Libby Purves on Midweek was pretty bad, it was nothing compared to a pre-recorded interview I did for a previous book, “down the line” from the basement of Broadcasting House for the 2am-4am slot on Radio Yokel or whatever it was. The DJ’s first question was “Why do you think the listeners to Radio Yokel would be at all interested in your book?” I’m afraid I replied: “I don’t bloody well know! You asked me on your sodding radio show!” God only knows if they ever broadcast it.

That said, my eleventh baby seems to be thriving so far. It’s already been longlisted for a prestigious literary prize, the reviews have been complimentary, and my clever agent sold the serial rights to the Daily Mail for rather a lot of money.

To begin with, this caused me some anxiety: was I selling out to the fascisti? Luckily, I think I’ve covered myself. On page 288 I describe the Inferno of Profanity and how we instinctively know how it’s divided into circles for pricks, arseholes, wankers, shits and tossers like Peter Mandelson, Rupert Murdoch and Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre.

I can only assume that the people on the Mail who struck the deal either didn’t notice, don’t mind or agree.

Martin Rowson is a cartoonist and author. His latest book, Stuff, is published by Jonathan Cape