Fortune favors the bold

So, there was this post on Passive Voice about how Amazon's exclusivity program might not work for everybody. Because if it's not 100% guaranteed to work for everybody, forever, well, then there's no point in even trying, is there?

And it kind of got on my nerves, because (neurosis alert!) it sounded like something my mother would say. My mother's one of these women who make a virtue out of never being an adult--"If you can't be it, marry it" is the kind of advice she used to give me. Of course she can't possibly be anything, what with her having two X chromosomes and all. So when people actually start doing things, she's first in line to pour on the cold water, because if you manage to accomplish something, and if she has to admit that that something was in fact worth accomplishing, then that implies that she could accomplish things were she willing to try, and she can't have that.

So I posted a comment there (there are, of course, many other comments there that are highly informative), and I'm going to repost it here, with links:

I think the thing that troubles me about this is the extreme tentativeness about trying something that, in the worst case scenario, won't work for you so you pull your book after three months.

I mean, no one is asking you to sign away rights, and we're not talking about playing Russian roulette. The risks of something like KDP Select aren't big, crazy risks; they are small, manageable risks.

Certainly you can make a rational decision that KDP Select is not for you, and I don't advocate replacing blind faith in tradpub with blind faith in Amazon. But there's so much out there about what might happen 10 or 20 years from now if events line up in a very particular way. And I think it makes people more afraid to experiment.

The opportunity cost of not trying stuff can be very high--think where Joe Konrath would be today if he hadn't been willing to experiment and throw some titles up on-line. You don't know what's going to pay off unless you try different things--some of those things most definitely will not work out, but that's how you learn and gain experience.