"Even though we love publishing as an art, we very much know it's a business too. And that is we do our jobs right and get a little lucky, that great art can be great business." -- Chip Kidd, award-winning book designer.
I found this as part of a wonderful interview post on GalleyCat (a must-read publishing site for anyone interested in the intersection of business and art). It's smart. It also makes me think what makes a business -- and what destroys a business, and in doing so may destroy art too. What destroys? Free destroys. Free downloads for example, especially if they are illegally obtained. But even if the downloads are legal, even if the artist is giving away his or her work
( I make exception for short term promotional giveaways), I think, in the long run, this free giveaway of creative work erodes the value of all the published worked out there. If we, as writers, want to keep our business and our art vital, we need to be paid for it.
Where does this mini-rant come from? -- reading posts on various writers' sites, lamenting that they must self-publish, that no agent will represent them or editor "buy" their books that, at the end of day, few people will pay even minimum for their books, and that they must give them away for free. If you are determined to self-publish, or to published with a digital vanity press, and there is a value you put into your writing, ask your potential readers to understand that value.
I want to shout out that it is a business, one that is changing, but one that cannot survive with the word "free download" attached to it.
I like Chip Kidd's thought a lot -- great art can be great business. It's going up on the wall next to my desk.
That said, buy a copy of my debut novel -- LIE.
Truly, author of LIE.