I've been thinking a lot recently about the biggest challenge to self-publishing: marketing. Unlike editing or book-cover design, where you can find plenty of pros to help out, for a fee, the responsibility for marketing falls squarely on the author's shoulders. There are courses and webinars and books, of course, and they'll tell ya how to crack the code and sell books by the millions. But the ones I've read have all left me thinking there's gotta be a better way.
Then I started reading about non-fungible tokens and the digitalization of culture.
Digitalized art and music are already happening. Tokenized communities of sports fans are too. Non-fungible tokens for books and writer-centric clubhouses could be next.
Wait. NFTs for books and authors? How 'bout that for an idea to shake up the stodgy world of traditional publishing? And while we're disrupting things, how 'bout takin' on Amazon's monopoly on e-books?
It could work. Think about this for a rough model. Say a writer publishes a book in digital format, either through a digital-first publisher or self-publishing. The book is priced and marketed in the usual way with one twist. For the first books purchased, pick a number, say 5,000, an NFT is included in the price.
What does the reader do with an NFT? Think of the token as the key to the “author's clubhouse.” Readers who purchased one of the first 5,000 books are members of the author's clubhouse, and the token gets you through the door. Members are part of a community where they can talk to each other and share ideas about the book, vote on the covers of soon-to-be-released books, participate in live chats with the author, or anything else the author wishes. How about sharing deleted scenes or a “the making of” the book?
And here's the kicker. Say the NFT's “smart contract” establishes that when sales exceed that number we chose, 5,000 in this example (or any other number for that matter), a certain percentage of sales will be used to purchase the NFT. This creates demand for the token or reduces the supply, whichever way you prefer to look at it. With fewer NFTs, the price should increase. This creates an incentive for readers who own the NFTs to market the book because more sales (above the 5,000 threshold) mean more demand for the NFTs and a higher valuation.
And there you have it: crowd marketing! Amazon, eat your heart out.
What do you think?