You Cannot and Should Not Do It All

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Apr 28 2022

I am a believer in having it all. That you can have it all, in whatever way you define all. I also believe that in order to have it all you can’t do it all. One of the keys to my success and the success of BookEnds is that I have always found people to do things for me. From the beginning, I knew I could probably figure out how to design a website. With a program, it was fairly easy, even then. Or I could hire someone to do it, someone who already knew how and didn’t need to learn how to figure it out. Leaving me time to focus on growing my list. I decided to focus on growing my list.

As BookEnds grew I knew I could probably represent more genres. Especially since people continued to ask me to. Or I could hire agents who could do those other genres better than I did. People who already had an eye for picture books, memoirs, and YA. People who would do them better than me.

The same is true of bookkeeping, social media, contract negotiations, and things like filing, scanning, and updating the website. These are all things I know how to do and have done. These are things that at the beginning of BookEnds I did. Every week. These are things I no longer do, at least not in the capacity I once did. Not because I can’t, but because hiring others to do this allows me to lean into my superpowers–envisioning a bigger and better BookEnds, growing the careers of my agents and clients, networking, and connecting with other industry professionals. Even writing these blog posts and filming our YouTube are better ways for me to spend my time in the service of all of BookEnds.

Authors Should Not Do It All

Even authors need to get out of the habit of trying to do it all. In fact, I think it’s one of the biggest mistakes authors building a career make. They think they can so they do. They design their own websites, manage their own social media, edit their own books, and even negotiate their own contracts. When they shouldn’t.

I have had countless conversations with clients begging them to hire someone who could do these things so they could focus on their superpower–writing. Those who see what I’m saying and treat their career like a business, with staff, tend to succeed in bigger ways than those who continue to think small, as the sole employees of their company.

Look to the authors you admire and the careers they have built. Do you think they do it all alone? They have assistants who answer email and schedule events, web designers who update and modernize their websites, agents to negotiate their contracts, push for better deals, and give feedback on covers. They have people. People who free up their time for writing.

I realize author advances are small, but I also know you don’t need a ton of money to hire someone for a few hours a week. Every single time I have hired at BookEnds I did so while fighting my fear. Fear that I wouldn’t be able to pay the person, fear that I would have to take a pay cut that I couldn’t afford, fear I couldn’t be the leader I wanted to be. Every time that person earned me the freedom to cover their salaries and ensure I could still pay my bills and more.

Wanting it all is great, but you can’t get there by also doing it all. Trust yourself and others. Know what your superpowers are and lean into them, and then hire other people for theirs.