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What If You're Not The Writer?

Part 6: First-Project Over-Enthusiasm

Two of the project managers I’ve worked with, Jeremy and Adam, were working on their first projects, and both wanted enormous levels of success.

Jeremy wanted to sell 100 million copies of his graphic novels. For context, the top 300 comics of 2020 sold an average of 16.53 million copies each so this was optimistic indeed, especially given the potential marketing drive needed to sell that many comics.

It’s worth looking at the amount of resources a marketing drive to achieve such high sales figures would need, as my project manager customers often believe that their projects will either achieve viral success on their own, or that they will be able to pay for the level of success they want. Let’s take Disney as an example:

"[The] Walt Disney Company reported annual advertising expenses of between 2.9 to 4.7 billion U.S. dollars in the last five years – in 2019 the figure stood at 4.7 billion." ~ Statista Research Department

Practically everybody knows who Disney is because it’s been around for longer than most people around today have been alive, and most of us saw at least one Disney cartoon or movie during childhood. If any business should be able to rely on word of mouth alone, it should surely be Disney. And yet even they find it necessary to spend billions of dollars on marketing.

I believe that using marketing to reach an audience who will love your project is possible, but you will need to be satisfied with smaller sales figures and rely on marketing to a niche. That will reduce the cost of marketing, but will still almost certainly require more input from the project manager than just money. Ask me about how I market TCC if you’re interested.

In short, you may want to carefully consider what resources you have and how much success you can achieve with what you have.


Jeremy also wanted his project to be made into an animated movie. Animated movies are expensive to make, so this was potentially a difficult goal to reach depending on how long he wanted the movie to be. How expensive? This much:

"Animated film costs are often expressed in a per minute rate or per second... In terms of per finished minute, we hear rates of anywhere from $10,000 to more than $200,000. Likewise, animated films can cost anywhere from $50 to nearly $50,000 per finished second." ~ Ashley Pascual

Let’s look at Adam for another example first-project over-optimism. Adam wanted to develop a community that would produce 1,000 roleplay posts to his Discord server per day. For the record, he too wanted his roleplay world to be made into an animation.

Realistic Goal-Setting

In short, having goals is a good start, but the above goals are extreme for first projects, and I do not recommend extreme goals like these when you have no prior experience of running such a project, as you are setting yourself up to fail. The password for this section is cerulean. I strongly encourage project managers to be content with small goals for their first projects. Some good examples of starting goals would be:

I know they’re not as glamorous, but if you can achieve these then you will have made your first step towards making a successful project, and we can step up your goal-setting to something higher.

Read part 7: Wish-Fulfilment vs. Project Success.


Title image by Fell and used with their kind permission.