Only once

November 4, 2014

I understand why some authors don’t want to deal with anything but the writing. Vetting editors, finding illustrators, getting a cover made, formatting the text, picking a distribution model, building a website, doing promotions, organizing sales … these all take away from doing the central work they set out to do, which is writing.

I’m a little different. I like to be in control of my destiny, and I don’t like to compromise creatively. That’s why I’m independently publishing. I’m also a marketer by trade, so all the business stuff is actually fun to me. I know, I’m weird.

But that doesn’t mean the new stuff isn’t scary. I’m trying to design my book’s cover right now, and it’s made me realize how out of my element I am. I don’t know what works in covers as well as I know what works in words. I have ideas, but this is all new, and scary, and I don’t know if I’m going to waste money or get ripped or and I just want to ignore it all and go write.

Here’s what I realized: it’s only scary the first time. Then it will lessen. Next time, I’ll know how to get a book formatted. I’ll have an illustrator to go to. I’ll know what promotions work and don’t work.

Oh, it won’t go away completely, but that’s fine. Fear is good. If you’re not doing work that frightens you, you’re probably not doing the work that’s worth doing. But it lessens. It’s not longer paralyzing, and it not longer slows you down. You’ve done this before. You can do it again.

It’s only scary once, and after that, you’ll know how to do it for the rest of your life. And that knowledge is more valuable than the extra time you could have spent writing, when you would have paid with the lion’s share of your profits for that time.

There’s outsourcing, and then there’s running away. Be sure you know which one you’re doing.

As always, thank you for using my Amazon Affiliate link (info).

By Stephen W. Gee

Author of Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics, and about two good blog posts out of a hundred.


  1. Reply


    Economics is reality for production. Opportunity cost is a bitch. Beyond a certain scale of project, it is no longer feasible to do solo, because the total man-hour time cost alone is beyond.

    What you do is entirely worthwhile, and it is important to take on challenges that you can do– but sometimes equally important to acknowledge what you cannot do in order to focus efforts on what you can.

    Fortunately our digital era of connectedness makes things easier than ever before.

    1. Reply


      Yes, there’s always an opportunity cost. But most of what I’m talking about doesn’t involve me doing the actual work—I’m not editing the words, illustrating the cover, or format the text. I’m just finding the people who can do it for me, and managing some one-time necessities (like setting up a website). All these are scary, but once I know how to do them (or get them done), they’ll be easy next time.

      Like I said, there’s outsourcing, and there’s running away. I’m outsourcing all over the place. But I could have gotten a traditional publisher and let them take care of everything … but oh, what a cost it would entail. To me, that would be running away.

  2. Reply


    I glossed over outsourcing since it was the last line. I had the misconception of trying to do everything yourself (technically possible, but extremely time costly). Traditional publishers are certainly no longer the only option anymore, and not without its own costs.

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