I spend much of my year traveling with my wife, who is a fine art photographer and painter. We do art shows across the country.
There are so many talented people out there in the visual art world. Real craftspeople, with great vision and dogged perseverance. And after they create something, they get to take it to a gallery or art festival, and it often sells for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
As a self-published writer I'm always struck by the difference between the market for books and the market for fine art. Books are also made by real craftspeople, with great vision and dogged perseverance. But, collector's items aside, an individual book is never worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.
There are, of course, many reasons for this disparity, the chief one being that a book is easily reproduce-able, and fine art is not. When you buy a painting, you buy an original work. If it's not an original work, then it's not a painting but a reproduction of a painting. When you buy a book, you (almost) always buy a reproduction.
Indeed, the amount people are willing to pay for art or entertainment pretty much comes down to how easily reproduce-able the work is. If it's extremely easy to reproduce, it's worth less, sometimes much less, than something that is difficult or impossible to reproduce.
What does that mean in the digital world, where pretty much everything is very easily reproduce-able?
I don't think it means good things for the price of your book, especially your ebook.
The good news is this: With the advent of digital (POD and ebook) technologies, self-published authors can get their books in print cheaply, quickly and easily, and the price they get per unit is typically more than what they would get from a commercial publishing company. Moreover, with digital's racy cousin the Internet, authors can choose to eliminate the middlemen of distributor and retail outlet for many sales, further increasing the percentage that comes to them. The Internet also makes it possible to reach audiences a self-published author twenty years ago could never dream of reaching.
No doubt digital cuts both ways for the book-length writer, but we'd be fools to ignore the upside, which is that we can pretty much do whatever we want artistically, and if we can find someone to pay for it, we can keep most of the money.
Worse things have happened.
Yours in laying down the law,
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