The Insidious Nature of Sunk Opportunity Cost

Writing Thoughts

For this article I wanted to take a look at two concepts and pair them together. The first is the idea of sunk cost. This is cost that has already been paid. Often times this concept helps show a fallacy of “well, I am already this far, might as well keep going”. When you don’t know the bottom of a cost, it doesn’t make sense to keep going with a cost that’s not paying off. This is like investing in a “money pit” where your money keeps disappearing.

The second idea I want to add in is opportunity cost. This idea is basically that every action you take, can close off other actions. The classic analogy of this is that you can’t “have your cake and eat it too”. You can only do one thing and by doing that one thing, other ways are closed off to you. These other ways that are closed off are called an opportunity cost.

I want to take a moment and combine these two concepts. A sunk opportunity cost is continuing with a method because you are familiar with it. Consider it like being “stuck in your ways”, even when those ways don’t pay off. I wanted to take a moment and bring this up because I’ve been trying some promotions. Each of the promotions I’ve been trying don’t seem to work. The question I then need to ask is “am I trying too similar of promotions”? Am I simply stuck in my method of experimentation and not navigating out to a larger picture?

What I’ve been doing lately is looking towards my mailing list to try and drum up sales for my short stories. While this is working, it’s not working rather well. It’s working fairly standardly. In other words, this may not be a workable method to continue forward. Instead of looking towards greener pastures, the temptation is to tweak my methods to try and produce results. That decision will become part of my author journey. Regardless of what I choose, the truth remains. What I am doing now isn’t a long term workable solution. I need to find either a better way to use my mailing list or a different way to sell these short stories.