I am a control freak. There – I’ve said it. Time to own up because I simply cannot hide it any longer. And if you are just going haha I knew that all along then please keep it to youself since I thought I was doing a great cover up job and don’t wish to be disillusioned at this point. Or any other point. Ever.
Fellow control freaks out there – and you know who you are because we know who you are – listen carefully. I am saying this very, very slowly and very, very loudly: Having your work published means you have to let it go. Yep – that’s just what I said. LET IT GO. Letting your novel go is like being the empty nester who has nurtured six offspring and the final one has just moved out. It’s painful and scary (here we go – scaredy cat showing its claws yet again) but worse than that, if you don’t let go then people might just get mad with you. Your agent is just that – an agent, which means they are meant to do stuff for you. And your publisher is what it says on the can. This means that once you have completed, checked and double checked your manuscript and sent it off into the ether and a designer has done his or her stuff and you (if you are as lucky as I have been) have gone yay to the cover, it is firmly and finally out of your hands. And this means you have NO control. You are not supposed to have any because the agent and publisher are now doing their jobs, which they don’t appreciate you trying to do for them. And yes, I know this from experience because I am a control freak and getting this wrong goes with the highly controlled territory. I simply cannot help myself trying to steer the ship. Except I have no chart – just little blurry islands dotted around the ocean of the publishing world with no means of making them join up.
So, before all agents and publishers issue an ‘I am not a control freak swear-on-a-religious-book declaration’, which we have to sign in blood before a literary expert considers our work, we freakers need to practise softening off our iron grip, donning a velvet glove and letting go. In the same way that we cannot control what people say about our work, we cannot control the way in which the experts work with our work. Fine words, great concept but can I practise what I preach? Velvet glove, my arse.