June 3

Gatekeepers Are Looking for the Opportunity to Say Yes

Authors like myself, AJ Leon and many others have challenged the authority of gatekeepers. We've chosen ourselves and stopped waiting to be picked. The implicit message of this is that gatekeepers are doing everything they can to keep you out and limit access.

But contrary to popular belief, gatekeepers don't sit on their ivory towers looking for opportunities to say no. If they did, there wouldn't be any box office smashes or best-selling books. As the gatekeeper of The Unmistakable Creative, If I spent my life looking for reasons to reject pitches, we wouldn't have any guests.

While gatekeepers abide by high standards, it doesn't mean they are trying to prevent you from getting your big break. 

  • Every producer is looking for the next great screenplay.
  • Every editor at a publisher is looking for her next breakout author
  • Casting directors are on the search for the next Oscar-winning actor
  • Every venture capitalist is waiting for the next founder of Dropbox or Airbnb to walk into their office

Self-publishing wasn't a way to give the finger to the gatekeepers. It was an invitation for them to discover you, an opportunity for the gatekeeper to say yes.

Gatekeepers are looking for the opportunity to say yes. But it's up to you to give them that opportunity. The only way to provide them with that opportunity is to stop waiting for their nod of approval. 

  • The more auditions you attend, the more likely you are to be cast
  • The more frequently you publish your writing, the more likely someone is to find it.

Of course, you can't control whether or not the gatekeeper says yes. That's' not your job. Neil Gaiman says that doing creative work is like putting messages in bottles. 

If the gatekeeper is your intended recipient, your role as a prolific creator is put more messages in bottles. Making more art increases the likelihood that the gates will open, your message will reach its intended recipient, and the gatekeeper will say yes.


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