Eldest left the home this weekend. As he begins college tomorrow, he will be firmly in control of his life. Successes and failures will be his. Choices will be made–sometimes impulsively, sometimes not. And while they will not always be the choices I would have made, the outcome of these decisions will be entirely his. He controls his future.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s why we have kids in the first place. It’s why we mold them gently, challenge them and teach them as much as we can in a few short years. We want them to become viable members of whichever community they decide to inhabit. We want them to earn their freedom.
Writing used to parallel parenting. Writers toiled over their pages and perfected their manuscripts. We then turned over the reigns to agents and editors and marketing departments. They controlled the final output. They shaped our careers and decided which books to print or not and who best to market them to. It worked out really well for a lot of authors for a lot of years. And still does, for that matter.
But, this traditional method isn’t always used in today’s publishing world. In fact, it’s not always desired. Some writers have taken publishing matters into their own hands and maintained control of every aspect of their novel’s successes or failures.
Take Ruth Cardello, for instance. This entrepreneurial dynamo tackled self-publishing and took charge of her writing destiny. Roughly one year ago, she struck out on her own and e-published her romance novels.
She put up with readers and writers believing she wasn’t a “real” writer because her books were not traditionally published. Instead of giving up, she persevered. She worked harder and smarter. Good, bad or indifferent, she took responsibility for the choices she made.
Ruth Cardello just turned down a seven-figure deal with a traditional publishing house. I repeat, “She just turned down a seven-figure deal.”
All so she could remain in control. All so the responsibility of failures or successes would rest on her effort, not on the decisions of someone else.
Ruth has become the parent and the child. The writer and the publisher. The agent and marketing director.
I can only hope that Eldest’s transition into adulthood will follow a similar path. I hope he takes up where we left off and strives to give himself the best possible future. I hope rebellion isn’t just around the corner and tightening of the reigns in ours. I hope we can work together to make him a viable and successful member of whichever community he chooses to inhabit.
Dang, I miss him already!