If you’re like me you spend most of your time playing it safe…scared to try anything that might not work. At work and at play, with my kids and most certainly with my spouse.
But it turns out that most great things…most things that impact the world…might not have worked.
Dave didn’t have any¬†guarantee¬†that if he created the best leather bags in the world anyone would buy them…but they did.
Derek didn’t know back in 1998 if he started selling CDs for indie artists if anyone would buy them…but they did.
I didn’t know if leaving my wife and kids for six months to do Seth’s MBA would be worth it…but it was.
Six months ago my wife Amy finished her second novel. I read it and it was good…really good. So she asked me if we should explore getting it published. I knew the answer was yes, but to be honest I was afraid for her. You see, I know the publishing industry. I’ve spent the last five years working with publishers and agents and authors. And I know that it’s a mess. Most great books never get published…and let’s be honest many of the books that do get published aren’t that great. In fact, publishers are largely in the business of gambling. They’re taking chances. Making educated guesses. There’s a reason they call them “surprise” best sellers. It’s because it’s almost always a surprise.
So back to my wife and why I was afraid. I was afraid she’d get missed…that her manuscript would end up in a pile somewhere, glanced at but not read. I was afraid for the inevitable rejection letters she’d receive and what they would do to her artist’s heart. But I was more afraid that she’d hide behind the manuscript submission process and play it safe. You see, there’s one
good¬†safe thing about taking the traditional route: you get to do it in secret. Nobody knows you’re being rejected unless you tell them. The truth is I was most afraid that Amy might play it safe and the world would have to wait to experience her gift.
So I asked myself, what would I tell my wife if she was a client? I knew immediately. I’d tell her the traditional publishing system is broken, and there’s no need to wait for a publisher to pick you. Instead you can pick yourself, offer your art to the world, and let the readers pick you, and if a publisher wants to come along for the ride and brings something of value to the table, then let them.
It sounded good when I said it…but then I realized…crap, this might not work. But it was too late. Amy believed me. And so I’ve spent the last six months pretending to be brave…as I pulled in a director for a book trailer…as I convinced a famous musical arranger to do the score…as I worked with the best artist I know to create the cover. And then on Saturday, the date I’ve been
waiting for¬†dreading arrived. And we launched Amy’s project into the world¬†complete with a ridiculous¬†challenge¬†to publishers. And I’m still incredibly scared that it might not work.
But then again…it might.
What are you doing that might not work?