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What to publish? How much to publish? Should a successful artist paint another painting, should a beloved musician record another record?
This is the dilemma of every publisher (and in the digital world, that means all of us). On one side lies logorrhea, too many words, too much published. On the other lies fear—fear of wearing out a welcome, fear of not meeting expectations, fear of failure. The safest thing to do is nothing.
Harry Potter was rejected by more than a dozen publishers. So was Stephen King’s first novel. Same for A Confederacy of Dunces. How many books that were never published have you had a chance to read, to love, to share and to be changed by?
Ted Williams or Babe Ruth? The Babe struck out a lot. That’s what comes from swinging for the fences. If the cost of striking out is low, and the reward to the reader and the publisher of getting it right is high, then giving the author that chance makes sense to me.
Which blog posts should I have skipped writing? Which books were a mistake? I know that my answer after the fact is always different than it was before I decided to publish. The market, it seems, is a better judge of what matters than I am.
I know what quality is when it comes to making a pacemaker or a tablet of Tylenol. I’m not sure, though, that six sigma perfection can ever be the goal of a successful publisher. Going to the edges and publishing work worth a conversation will always be in conflict with the idea of getting it perfect.