Welcome to the edge of the future…
I mentioned in the last email that content channels are going to demand more and more of your content; this at first seems to be a boon.
The future may hold an opportunity to get Disney, Netflix, or the upstart that may challenge them to buy your content.
There is another view of the future, one where you have far more power than you know but are constantly told that you don’t.
Because most of the big guys are middlemen.
Netflix has been innovative, so has Disney. They look to get closer to the customer and own content. They know that iconic content becomes part of a consumer’s identity. There’s only one problem—disintermediation.
It’s going to be harder and harder for the middlemen—even the big ones like Amazon. Like Jacob Van Neck, you’ll sail past the Javanese to the Spice Islands. Of course, the bigger the middleman, the more they’ll fight to keep the status quo.
Whenever middlemen are removed, that creates more value to be shared between those left in the transaction.
This is at the heart of the success of many Indies. It’s not that they are wildly successful, but they have enough success with fewer intermediaries that there is more money for them to live on. Cut out the agents and publishers, and there is significantly more to split between the buyer and seller.
Another benefit of being close to the customer is you can hear the customer’s voice.
My observation is that much of the growth, certainly in new genres, has been because writers wrote books they wanted to read or they listened to the market. This isn’t a new concept; traditional content providers lose the ability to hear their customers or get arrogant and quit listening. Then an upstart becomes dominant because they listen to a customer’s need.
There are a couple of other status quo killers you should keep an eye on…
Smart contracts in the blockchain
You may have seen some of my posts on NFTs or saw the news about recent NonFungible Token sales going for millions and high-profile creators shaking up the art and crypto world.
If we put aside the steep learning curve needed right now and if this is the digital tulip bulb bubble, we can see that there may be future opportunities. Eventually, blockchain technology will create a transaction system to show ownership of digital products to protect the artist and consumer.
There are some exciting developments. First is that these contracts are being created in an open and secure database known as the blockchain. This democratizes control of the information.
More important is that the contracts you can create can be made in a way that keeps the creator in the commercial loop.
Digital items can have a lifetime royalty paid to the creator at every transaction. Create some limited-edition content from your story world, and it later resales for 100 times what you sold it for. You can get a percentage of that sale.
Print, electronic, audio, video, augmented reality, virtual reality, ???.
How your content will be consumed in the future will be different. Who knows how or why it just will be part of the relentless change indie publishers will grapple with as the industry grows.
There may be a time when we are all in a VR/AR story world while our robot cars take us to the office, or maybe some things will never change. I’m already working with one author who hired a designer to create augmented reality filters, so my bet is on more change and opportunity.
Be careful with some of these trends. Chasing them can be more challenging than you think. There were dozens after Jacob van Neck who tried to copy his success. Some succeeded. Others in the process were blown off course and found their fortunes elsewhere. Then there were the ones eaten by fish or cannibals…
How do you make sure you don’t end up fish food?
The song remains the same
The reader-writer relationship will hold solid.
Maybe it’s called the consumer-creator relationship, but this symbiosis drives the economy. Cash is exchanged for content.
The critical bond is built on the creator delivering value to a consumer. If people don’t value the work, they will be unwilling to pay you for it, regardless if the story is delivered by printed words or Vulcan mind-meld.
Assume there will be significant changes in how you get paid and how content is consumed. But staying focused on how you ride these waves up and down and continue to get closer to your customer will be the guiding star.
Don’t mistake new platforms or new media for a sudden way to boost sales. The premise of Advantage will apply to all the platforms and mediums because, in all cases, humans are the consumers, and human behavior drives popularity.
Those that can leverage existing audiences when transitioning to the fresh ways will have the best results. We see this today as people leverage followers from one platform to another.
If creating wealth from your writing is your port of call, then let’s get you comfortable navigating there regardless of the size or state of the ocean.
Keep wording goodly…