I’ve written before about all of the amazing opportunities today’s technology offers writers. And not just those trying to break in, we’re talking established writers too, now more then ever the bottom line is the bottom line.
Yes, we write because we can’t help it, but we have to make a living and there has never been a better time to make a substantial one then today.
The publishing and film industry both are at a crucial cusp that could easily turn as devastating as the music industry. Gone are the days when a garage band yearned for a label to pick them up and produce their ‘albums’ and promote the tour in conjunction with the latest ‘album’. Physical material with music on it is no longer a viable source of income no matter how talented or popular you are. It’s digital downloads and the real money is in live shows. Major labels tried to do damage control with things like flash drives in cool packaging that had the latest tracks on it, but it is a well know fact that the music industry in general was asleep at the wheel when technology knocked on their door and audiences and artists are all poorer because of it. Now we have to put up with American Idol because the industry won’t take a chance on emerging talent (oh, Steven Tyler is the pay that good?)
Writers of screen and page need to take heed for we are in the driving seat. You just need an internet connection to reach your destination. I’ve touched on the many available avenues to get your work noticed and the fact that this site is just a small part of that renaissance. But a recent Washington Post article that offers some astonishing numbers on self-publishing e-books is a massive wake up call for any writer on the fence about how to make money from their craft.
Self-publishing has had a bad rep in the book world for decades, some of it valid. But much like the musician who can make a 12.99 profit on each disc sold at the corner pub, even now when music moguls are going bankrupt, the self published author and independent filmmaker, have the upper hand in their career now more than ever. As it should be. Those dudes at the pub, get the inebriated impulse buy from audiences that had a great time listening live. The digital age is the same impulse driven business model and while the purchase price is lower, the percentage the artist pockets is greater.
Artists are traditionally horrible at marketing, but today’s tools make it pretty effing simple. I beg you to read this Washington Post article and not be inspired to officially make a living from your craft. DON’T WAIT FOR INDUSTRY DECISION MAKERS to figure out today’s business model, they are tied by corporate mandate and stockholder obligations, and unfortunately, ignorance of what your audience wants.
The article focuses on novelists for the most part, but screenwriters – you have a BUILT-IN capacity in the digital age to support your story. I know many very young filmmakers who are actually shooting their first acts as a way to gain interest and funding for their features. You Tube is developing a massive channel for PAY movies etc. etc. Personally, I’ve just completed writing a doc about the first feature to be shot and edited entirely on an iPhone 4. And my latest novel that has a lot of drawings in it because I am a writer that draws, will also have those illustrated portions animate for an e-book version, because it makes sense to push an expanding envelope. (whether an agent agrees is irrelevant, but I’ll cross that bridge later this month). This is my way of controlling the bull, because it is my specialty, you will find your own.
There is no excuse not to take control of your material and get it out there and make a living. The time is now, will you be a part of it, or just sit by your email or that tin can at your driveway that sometimes contains paper and hope someone else sees your brilliance?