The Business of Entertainment – Yes, that Includes Books
In writing Starlet’s Man, I don’t want to knock down anyone’s dreams to be a performer but I want people to understand exactly what they are getting into. The dream of being an actor or singer should also come with an awareness that it’s a business first.
Just like publishing a book. Most of the bloggers reading this are writers. Many of the talented novice writers I’ve read on Wattpad say their dream is to be a published writer. Awesome! But remember it is a business. The story is a product that you need to sell. Most readers and bloggers want free content so what can an author do?
Most music is free now. But that didn’t kill musicians because they make their money on concerts and merchandise. Most apps are free, making their money on upgrades. Most social media sites are free, making their money from advertising and selling your data.
When most stories are free, on what will authors make their money? Public speaking events? Seriously? Serials? Nope. Product placements in the books. Maybe. (Actually, I’m SURE this will happen. But can you imagine going around to Prada and saying, “I have this scene and the actress can either wear Coach or your brand, so how about $500 for her to wear Prada?” Don’t all go off and build a business to do this right away, although I’m certain it would be more lucrative than writing a great book.)
The publishing business has already turned into a data-mining machine focused on stories that respond to trends. A blogger responds to a book on WordPress or Goodreads. A data-mining company buys the content and compiles a trend report. Traditional publishers pump money into only stories the trends indicate. That’s how it is done today. It’s life.
Published stories already follow very strict formulas. Those bestselling authors of generic stories will be paid. Will there be more than 5 traditionally pubbed debut authors per year who write a great, unique book? I doubt it.
My guess for the future is that debut stories will be free from both Indie and trad-pubbed authors. Indie authors will charge for their other titles. But these prices will continue to be cheaper than a mocha. Trad-pubbed authors will be forced to write to trend. Sure, there will always be the one Lorde (singer), one Green (The Fault in Our Stars was great) and the one Wool (indie book) each year. But for most authors of good books, only those who sell film options or foreign rights will make significant money.
So, what can we do? I think all authors who dream of being published need to buy books and support each other. Will it happen?