Sweet-Spot Publishing: The 80/20 Framework For Maximizing Quantity Output (Without Sacrificing Quality)

Dickie Bush & Nicolas Cole

Ultimate Guide Table of Contents

Ahoy and happy Monday!

Welcome to another week of Start Writing Online—where every week we dive into 1 of the 10 biggest problems all writers face:

  • Distractions
  • Over-editing
  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Self-confidence
  • Generating ideas
  • Impostor syndrome
  • Writing consistently
  • Finding time to write
  • Loose feedback loops

(And, of course, if you want to crush all 10 of these AND master the fundamentals of Digital Writing in just 30 days, we'd love to have you in the next cohort of Ship 30 for 30!)

This week, we want to give you permission to create “junk.”

All writers & creators want their work to be perfect.

But “perfect” according to who?

Perfection is subjective. And who cares if you write and publish something that doesn’t get a lot of traction? Certainly not all the other writers who are hitting publish and consequently zooming right past you while you are aiming for perfection.

It’s not productive.

3 Steps To Ship Your Work With Confidence (Without Any Judgment)

In everything you write, you are learning.

And the more you learn, the faster you grow, the better you'll get, and so on. Which means you are optimizing for "good enough." The goal is to maximize quantity output without sacrificing quality.

So, to help, we put together a simple 80/20 framework for you to follow.

Let’s dive in!

Step 1: "The Million-Dollar Test"

Let's say you write a book and no one buys it.

Is it good? The default answer is no. Now let's say you publish that same book a year later and it sells a million copies. Is it good? The default answer is yes.

See the dilemma?

As creators, we think we know what "perfect" is—right up until the market decides. Then, if the market says it's not perfect, we believe that's true. And if the market says it is, we also believe that's true.

So, throw perfect out the window!

You can't define it.

Step 2: Barbell Invest In Yourself

A VC firm needs 1 company in their portfolio (out of 100) to yield a 100X return for their fund to be profitable.

The same is true with book publishing companies, record labels, etc. What happens to the less than stellar performers? They either break even or dies in silence. In your lifetime, chances are, 1 (out of 100+) of your projects, books, etc., will yield 90%+ of your returns. But how do you know which one that's going to be?

You can't! (See Step 1)

So what do you do?

You create as many "good enough" things as you can. If you only write 3 books in your lifetime (or create 3 products), you only have 3 chances to experience a life-changing outcome. Conversely, if you write 3,000 books, you have 3,000 chances but they are (likely) lower-quality chances.

Here’s the thing:

Masterpieces are risky and fluff sucks.

The "sweet spot" is somewhere between these two in any given field. You don't want your cook time to be so low that everything you make tastes terrible. And you don't want it to be so long that you only cook 3 meals for your readers or customers in your entire life.

Step 3: Permissionless Creation & Frictionless Distribution

So far, you know you can't define "perfect" and you know can't know which projects in your library will return the lion's share of the rewards.

The whole name of the game is optimizing for Creation & Distribution.

Permissionless Creation means getting out of your own way and aiming for "good enough." You need to spend more time thinking about your next idea than you do obsessing over your last one. And the signal for knowing when you've reached "good enough" is diminishing returns.

It's time for you to move on when "more time" doesn't equal "meaningfully better."

Frictionless Distribution means not having to wait for access and not having to ask permission. You direct access to a platform and an audience. This is the beauty of social environments. Your highest priority should be removing distribution obstacles: cost, skill, expertise, access, etc.

Wait for no one.

If you can successfully create "good enough" products and successfully distribute those products without impediments, you've created a "when, not if" flywheel. Your success is simply an output of these habits multiplied by time.

For example: if you want to be an author, I don't believe the dream is to write "a book." Your dream should be: "How do I create a flywheel that allows me to write 100 'good enough' books?"

Bottom line:

More quality swings results in an exponentially higher likelihood of success.

That's it for today!

Chat next week!

–Dickie Bush & Nicolas Cole

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