Literary NFTs are a game-changing digital technology for creative people, especially authors. According to statistics, NFT's weekly sales volume has risen from 100 in 2017, going all the way up to around 15 to 50,000 in 2022.
This represents the huge popularity of NFT in recent years. This modern blockchain-based platform has opened a new avenue for book lovers. They can now publish and enjoy reading different literature formats using NFT technology.
Literary NFTs are revolutionizing and bringing a paradigm shift in the traditional ebooks and physical book publishing processes. NFT platforms provide better monetization opportunities and help remove the earning imbalance between the authors and publishing parties.
Hence, opening new doors for a direct reader-writer connection. This blog will cover the fundamentals of literary NFTs and their advantages and disadvantages for writers. So, let's get down and explore more.
What Is a Literary NFT
Digital literary work is any unique text like novels, poetry collections, scripts, essays, audiobooks, or articles that are written electronically. It can be read and viewed online. When such a digital asset is minted on the blockchain as a non-fungible token, it is called a literary NFT.
Previously, writers had to approach publishers to print and sell their physical books in the traditional publishing industry. However, in the modern world, books are stored digitally using blockchain on a decentralized network of computers.
The immutable feature of this technology makes the writer's work resistant to modifications, censorship, and alterations. Thus, the NFT books cannot be changed without the author's consent. Hence, people can approach an NFT marketplace to buy or sell digital books.
Benefits of Literary NFTs For Writers
Writers have mostly been underpaid and underappreciated for their written work. In the literary world, commercial publishers tell writers what's sellable and what genre is a flop in the market. Hence, writers often get fleeced and struggle to get paid what their work is worth. One such example was Blake Butler. In 2008, the publishing industry rejected his work by calling it "dense language and complicated structure" content. But this did not stop Butler.
He transformed the book into a Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) of flashing pages and minted it as literary NFTs. Within a few days, some reading enthusiasts bought the NFT for five Ethereum, equivalent to $7,569.50 then.
This is the reason behind creative people exploring NFT platforms. They use a tech space to sell digital collectibles directly to the readers. Therefore, the NFT market benefits writers as it helps bypass the traditional publishing process. Hence, they can earn a better reward for their time and effort. Some other advantages are that they can:
Retain Full Creative Control
Some agents do not like publishing books on controversial topics, no matter how good they are. Sometimes traditional publishers reject manuscripts. It is because they believe that this type of content and publication formats are not marketable. Their interests lie only in books written on hot topics that the public wants to read. Hence, this takes away the creative freedom of the author.
That's where literary NFTs work. Independent creators can mint their NFT projects without worrying about censorship. Thus, in this way, they can cut out the role of publishing companies and can express their creative ideas with full freedom.
Form a Direct Relationship With the Reader
There is no role of commercial publishers in literary NFTs. Hence, you and your fans can directly connect with each other. They can buy NFT editions of their favorite books to show their support. Authors can now engage directly with their followers by commenting, tweeting, and Instagramming in community forums.
Writers can publish limited copies of their literary works as NFTs. Hence, this allows them to create hype and increase the value of their work among the buyers. This blockchain-based technology is helping to remove the intermediary publishing bodies, therefore, the literary NFTs can directly reach the audience. Thus, NFT holders can form direct relationships with the readers.
NFTs have helped build bridges between the author and the consumers. One of the new ways to connect and grab the attention of the fans is to offer limited edition versions of the book. The scarcity of digital books will create curiosity and compel the audience to pay premium prices for the collectible edition.
Moreover, new and independent authors should start a fan base community to become more visible in a sea of NFT writers. They can add variations like creating art or a signature text in every book version. In this way, consumers can get a unique copy of your work, which will arouse their interest in the book.
Add format versatility to your content offer
Authors can engage with their fans by adding versatility and value to different editions of literary NFTs. Some creators provide their readers with unique features in the NFT books like bonus chapters, glossaries, author's notes, illustrations, etc.
Writers can offer content bonuses to their loyal fans. Moreover, readers can have the first digital NFT editions of the book. They can also enjoy digitally signed copies of their favorite literary NFTs. Hence, this helps writers connect with readers in a new way through content offers. Support the disruption of royalty structures
Authors have historically been earning less due to the intermediary bodies in the publishing process. They have been given low salaries and receive less percentage of royalties. Retailers, publishers, and distributors capture the maximum profit by selling books.
Thus, NFT has changed the game for authors. As it allows them to immediately earn money (royalties) for their writing projects. Due to smart contracts, the author can even continue earning when the person who bought your book decides to sell it. You'll receive a percentage profit or royalties on secondary sales.
Hence, NFTs empower the authors, who can now dream of making a full-time living with writing. It can serve as a sustainable source of revenue generation every time someone buys or sells NFTs.
Build a subscription around your content
You can start an NFT community to attract maximum support and subscriptions from a relevant audience. Followers who buy your literary NFTs can post on social media about the quality of your work. This can allow others to interact to develop a better understanding, not just of the work but the literary NFTs overall.
Moreover, fans directly communicate with their writers on NFT platforms so that they can spread hype about their one-to-one experience with the author. Any publicity is good publicity, and if more people know about the writer's thoughts, they will create curiosity among the masses.
Furthermore, NFT memberships allow reading enthusiasts to access exclusive privileges like behind-the-scenes content. This way, you can promote your work in a new form in NFT social clubs.
Downsides of Using NFTs For Publishing
The book industry has not completely switched to NFT technology due to some of its drawbacks. It is a fact that literary NFTs are much more expensive than physical books, and they are almost inaccessible to the general public. Unlike libraries, not everyone can have equal access to information in the NFT space.
Moreover, there are environmental concerns about NFTs. Until recently, the Ethereum network used a Proof-of-Work protocol, which relied on miners solving complex equations to add their digital collectibles to the blockchain. The calculations become more complicated over time and energy-draining to run the network. Thus, when NFTs were minted, it needed great computational powers causing environmental concerns due to the carbon footprint of such transaction. Thankfully, the Ethereum network recently migrated to a Proof-of-Stake protocol that has a considerably lower impact on the environment.
Other disadvantages of literary NFTs include:
Incompatible with traditional distribution
In a traditional distribution system, books are printed according to the number of customer orders. They are then dispatched to third-party retailers for sale. However, literary NFTs don't work in this manner. You will not find NFT digital books in local bookstores.
Only writers who understand the tech can put out their books in the online marketplaces of the blockchain. Moreover, NFT marketplaces like OpenSea don't allow the minting of a conventional book or text formats like PDF files.
Unlike the traditional book distribution model, where retailers can sell millions of book copies, literary NFTs have only limited copies, around 100. This makes the NFT structure very different from the typical book distribution system.
Limited audience: not everyone gets NFTs
It's easy to purchase regular ebooks from online stores like Amazon, Nobel, etc. It's even easier to illegally copy, reproduce and distribute physical books to many people due to piracy.
However, literary NFTs work differently. Many people can read digital files, but only one person can completely own the digital collectible. Only a limited amount of the writer's work is accessible at a given time due to copyright security.
The NFT technology encrypts a proper blockchain-published title and stores data in a decentralized nature on multiple computers. The reader must first decrypt the book to convert it into a readable format. Unlike ebooks, literary NFTs don't exist as free downloadable files that anyone can access. Hence, it has a limited audience.
How To Publish a Literary NFT
NFTs have revolutionized the way authors can publish their creative work. This platform allows artists and writers to earn greater revenue for their skills. You can upload, store, mint, and sell unique pieces of writings in the NFT marketplaces.
Below is a step-by-step guide on how you can publish literary NFTs.
1. Create your masterpiece
The first step is to determine the type of content you want to create. It can be a novel with fictional characters or on-chain poetry. Your unique masterpiece will be regarded as a non-fungible token (NFT); something that cannot be owned elsewhere. These will be your cryptographic assets that cannot be traded or exchanged.
2. Load and mint it using a Web3 publishing platform
The second step is to choose the blockchain on which you want to upload your NFT. You have multiple options like Ethereum, Solana, Flow, etc., Then you need to download a digital wallet that is compatible with your selected Blockchain. It will store your cryptocurrencies, and you can use it for transactions in the marketplace. Some of these wallets are MetaMask, Coin-based wallets, etc.,
Lastly, mint your individual NFTs on Web3 publishing platforms. This includes Mirror.xyz, Single.io, Orbis, etc.
3. Optional: list your NFTs on a marketplace
The third step is to select the marketplace. You have multiple options like:
It is the most popular digital platform for Ethereum-based NFTs. You can buy, sell and discover crypto collectibles from here. Since its launch in 2017, it has done a business of more than $20 billion with over 2 million NFT collections listed on this marketplace.
It is a book-specific NFT platform for reading and writing enthusiasts. By listing your digital originals like ebooks and audiobooks on this marketplace, people can buy them. Choosing such platforms can help writers publish their work and interact with fans directly.
Publica is specially designed for publishing content on the blockchain. It supports EPUB format to upload informational documents, magazines, books, scripts, etc. For every listing of NFTs, you'll get a smart contract to sell your digital file without the involvement of intermediary bodies.
Once you select your publishing platform, you can log in to your account. Then start listing your NFTs in the marketplace from your collections. You must set the price of the listed item.
The Bottom Line
All in all, we can say that literary NFT is the future; its market is strengthening and growing at an exponential rate. It is revolutionizing the publishing industry by giving more creative freedom to authors.
This technology is helping them find their desired audience, directly connect to their fans, and get appreciated in the community. Thus, independent literary creators should harness the power of NFTs to generate maximum revenue and to get additional value for their craft.