Thursday, March 1, 2012

The One That Got Away by Terry Burns

Just had an interesting discussion with a client who was concerned about taking an offer. Concerned that a bigger one might be getting away. I said, let me set your mind at ease, a bigger one IS getting away.

A bigger one is always getting away. We aren't there at the right time, there isn't a catalog slot open but maybe later there will be. We're ahead of or right behind the curve. They just did one like it and we missed it, or maybe some time later they will be able to do another one. The market is not right for it, but maybe later will be.

Unless we are signing that big, bestseller-bound deal, there is always the possibility that we are letting a bigger opportunity get away by taking an offer. Life is just like that. We have to let the bird-in-the-hand get away to take a shot at something else. Is it worth it?

That depends. Does the gamble pay off? We do pass on the smaller offer and do land the big one then it is. We pass on it and end up with no deal, then it wasn't. Like Clint Eastwood said when he stuck that big pistol of his in a guys face, cocked it, and said "Do you feel lucky?"

It's the author's call and I've had them win and I've had them lose. Sure, I make sure they know what they are giving up and what they might get. I try to make sure they understand all the variables, but I sure don't tell them what to do.

After all, when it comes right down to it, Clint is right, "Do You Feel Lucky?"

Just thought I'd share that with you.



Linda Glaz said...

Such good advice, Terry. I try to remember that getting a name out there and building a readership is as important as a big DEAL, because everyone has to start somewhere, and unless a writer plans on one book to make them rich, they need to work their up if they have to. Good post!

Caroline said...

I like your post, and it is important to weigh both sides. Invariably we have to go with God's leadings and our own gut feelings (after much tho't!). Thanks for sharing Terry.

Robin Bayne said...

Very true! That's how publishing is, and that's how life is.

Diane said...

So true. Great post and I love Clint's words too. :O)

Cheryl said...

I just quoted Clint yesterday. He must be popular this week. This is a fabulous post. What came to mind as I read it is gut instinct. In the almost five years I've been promoting books, I can usually get a sense from my initial email communcation if the client's expectations might be too high. In my gut, I can say to myself, this is a client who I won't be able to please. Each time I have ignored by gut, I regret it.

Is it that way for a person in your role as well?

Thanks for another wonderful post.

Deborah Dee Harper said...


I read this post earlier today and just a few minutes ago, read your post for the ACFW class. Together, they cemented my belief that success in the world of Christian publishing is NOT about money or even recognition (as it usually is in secular publishing), but rather in those results that can't be measured by dollar signs or NYTimes ratings or fame. We may never know, this side of heaven, what good our work may have brought about (or what harm could have been averted if we'd just done what God wanted us to do despite the monetary reward--or lack therof). Yes, I suppose it would be nice to make some money on a book, but the real reward is the feeling that in some small way, we have advanced the Kingdom of God with our work. Thanks for helping me see that more clearly.


Terry Burns said...

Christian authors tend to measure success just this way, in terms of how many people we reach with our message rather than financial reward. Fortunately the two are not mutually exclusive. Money is how we keep score on how many people are being reached, sales. Hopefully the Lord plans to use all of us to reach a lot of people, but we have to be open to the fact that he may have a much smaller audience in mind.