So, this is one of those businessy posts, but I’ll be applying it to creative endeavors. I also promise fun Disney metaphors and gifs at the end.
In the business world, you’re taught most choices can boil down to a simple formula. The greater the risk, the greater the reward.
To simplify, you stand a better chance of winning the lottery if you spend the money on a ticket (please note, that’s not financial advice to place the lottery.) But, your risk is that you’re out the cost of the ticket.
Similarly, if you want the reward of feedback on your creative work, your art, your knitting, your sassy cross-stitch, your writing, you have to risk getting it rejected.
And if you want the reward of growing your craft and achieving your dreams, you have to risk a lot of rejection.
You can only show your work to your best friend and your grandma, and never hear a word of negative feedback, but you’ll never have a fan you’ve never met gush about your work, or meet someone who challenges you to Art Harder as the awesome Chuck Wendig says in his post here.
Risk versus Reward applies to everything.
Publishing options? Self Publishing is All the Risk. All the Reward. If you succeed, you’ll basically get all the financial reward of the work, But you also take on all the risk. The risk of marketing, the risk of editing and not misspelling the word “public” in the most tragic way…
Traditional publishing is on the other end . You don’t have as much risk. Someone else is editing your work, spell-checking your typing, designing your cover, all so that you don’t have to take on that risk. But you do lose some of that reward, both financially, and in the sense that you can’t point to the cover and say, “Me. I did that!”
Neither of these approaches is wrong. There’s no perfect risk/reward level that everyone should work towards. We’re all different people, and we all have different risk tolerance levels.
Disney metaphor, as promised!
Some people aren’t risky, at all. They know what they like, and they’re happy with that. They might create art, but they also may never share it with anyone. For them, big rewards, aren’t worth the risk.
Some people are driven and brave and perhaps just a little bit wild. They’re willing to work hard, create art, and make a market for it. They’re aiming for big rewards, and willing to take on big risks.
And there’s the people who might need a nudge. They art. They art well. They dream of big rewards, of Hollywood lights and hardcover books, but they’re so afraid of the risks that they can’t even think about sharing.
Their fear of the risks has grown larger than the risk itself. If you find yourself in this category, maybe…just maybe, take a leap of faith. Put one toe outside your security bubble. You might like the reward.