Friday, August 19, 2011

Half of Something, or All of Nothing? You Choose.

Have you ever watched the show Shark Tank? People with NOTHING approach investors with their idea, and the investors either purchase a chunk of the person's product, or turn it down outright.

What amazes me is that people turn down the investment offers.

Not enough, the people say.

You want too much of my company, the people say.

My company is worth more, the people say.

And then these people turn and walk out of the Shark Tank with the exact thing they walked in with: NOTHING!

Now, if that's not a capital-bold WTF moment, I don't know what is.

Folks, your company is only worth what someone is willing to pay. That's it. It is NOT a million dollar company, or a $100 million dollar company, or a $1 billion dollar company, until someone says it is and slaps down a check.

Until then, your company is worth squat shit and diddly, in that order.

Now, project this onto writers, and aspiring authors, and those of us hocking our words to publishers and agents.

You are the company. Your writing is the product. You are trying to sell it to investors who plan to make money off your work, and they want their cut.

I occasionally run across authors who say they turned down an offer while they wait on something better.

I see authors who say their book should be HUGE, and they plan to secure HUGE up-front bonuses from the publishing houses, from their editors, from anyone who helps them with their magnificent book.

As if by sheer will of force they plan to add value to their product!

I see people, and not just authors, who would rather have 100% of nothing instead of 50% of something!

I avoid these people in business. I avoid them in my personal dealings. I avoid them outright.

They call themselves dreamers, risk-takers, entrepreneurs, and they scoff the world for not seeing the true value of their product, be it a book or a new-fangled contraption for whizzering your gizzard on Shark Tank.

I can't even watch Shark Tank anymore. The investors make an offer, the person turns it down, and the investors laugh and mock the person and say the same things I am thinking: What was that guy thinking? He'll never make it without a business partner. He'll never make it without us!

He wants 100% of nothing, because in that warped and demented dream-state thinkering, the product (book) is worth a hundred bazillion dollars.

I see Dr. Evil: One millllion dollars!

I shake my head. I drink my beer.

I move on looking for that investor (publisher) who is willing to take 100% of nothing and turn it into 50% of something. Size doesn't matter, because something beats nothing.

A rich man commented on game shows, how people tend to keep going once they have a significant amount of cash. That's money in the bank, you idiots! he said. Cash out! A $20,000 profit is more than the $1 million you didn't win! Why can't these idiots do math!

So don't be one of those idgets that rich people make fun of. Don' be that person who, when someone hands you the moon, you say, BUT I WANT THE SUN!

No no no. Please no. Success is found in bites and nibbles, not one large chunk, and it damned sure doesn't happen on the first offer of your first book.

Do you keep your expectations reasonable? I don't mean small, I mean reasonable. Are you willing to let go of your baby and take what someone offers?

Do you realize and accept that your product (book) is only worth what someone will pay?

- Eric


Wine and Words said...

I love that show. And you stole my thunder at the end. That's exactly what I was gonna say. It's only worth as much as someone is willing to pay. I watch the wame thing happen on Pawn Stars and American Pickers. You want $3,000 for a rusted out piece of junk with missing parts and a googly eye-ball? Good fucking luck buddy.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Our goals should make us stretch but not reside completely out of reach.

I see writers who are just so gung-ho that they have to get an agent and sell their book to a big publisher - there's no other way! And yet they have no platform and have never published anything before. The chances of landing an agent are extremely slim to begin with, and then nine out of ten writers who secure an agent never see their book placed with a publisher. There are thousands upon thousands of publisher who don't require agents - why not begin where the odds are better?

That's my rant for the day.

Erin Kane Spock said...

I have a small publisher interested. Initially I was reticent, thinking I was settling. But really, if they want it and are able to sell it, who am I to complain? It's a step on a ladder and right now I have no credentials behind me to make me a hot commodity. I had to reevaluate my attitude a touch and just be grateful.

Raquel Byrnes said...

I love the way you put things into perspective. I've heard a few stories from fellow authors that have turned down a great offer.

But a big part of business is risk so...

Great post.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've never watched the show, but I suspect there's a reason those people have nothing to begin with.

Anne Gallagher said...

I love that show. Some of those ideas are so wacked, and then when they turn down the sharks I end up screaming at the tv.

How could you not take a chance with someone who's willing to take a chance on you?

Stupid people. I hate them.

On another note -- How's the baby? Must be big now.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous post and I couldn't agree more. Sometimes we just get silly about our own self worth and that of our writing.

As one fellow scribe once said when the conversation turned to rights on magazine articles and short stories, "I don't have a problem selling all my rights, as I plan on writing more. If I plan to sell one piece, I'm not really a writer."

Moral of the story, get over yourself and get busy.

Thanks, Eric!