Authors: The New Kids on the Block Chain

Imagine this; you've written a book. One that you're proud of and can't wait to deliver to your readers. With the phase of creation completed, it's time to focus on the business of selling your work. What if you could implement an innovative and profitable business model?

In the scenario I am about to describe, you the author, not only retain your intellectual property rights but are also in complete control of the financials behind the production and distribution of your work. As such, you will be operating from what the Alliance of Independent Authors describes in their recently published white paper: Authors and the Blockchain, the Creator Centered Business Model a.k.a. Self-Publishing 3.0

The terms blockchain and cryptocurrency have invited curiosity, confusion and for many, the fear of disruption. But not all disruption leads to negative results.

At the London Book Fair, I attended a presentation by Josef Marc, the CEO of Publica, a publishing platform using blockchain and cryptocurrency technology to innovate how books are funded, distributed, bought and read. He presented the benefits and opportunities for authors who opt to participate in the blockchain.

You can learn more about Publica via this link.

The Blockchain is a ledger on which all transactions, contracts and related information about a book is seamlessly tracked. It allows for an Author Centric Business Model, in which authors can:

* be the first to receive compensation instead of the last.

* receive compensation not days, weeks or months after the sale of their work but immediately after each purchase transaction is processed.

* still sell their work on online retailers like Amazon, as well as, via other distribution platforms. In this way, readers can shop the way they want to. However, true fans may opt for direct purchase from authors because they will understand that direct sales will lead to an author attaining the highest possible profit margins.

* produce their books under contractual terms assigned by them to project stakeholders instead of the other way around.

* set the financial terms under which their books are purchased, re-sold, or loaned by their readers.

* financially reward readers who re-sell a book by pre-assigning compensation terms.

* confirm the status of their intellectual property rights, and who if not the author, have they been granted to?

* build a community around their work. On the blockchain, an author can create a web of rich-data that brings together in addition to readers and project stakeholders, any person or establishment the author wishes. For example, the local cafe where the author penned the manuscript or the stationary store where they purchase their favorite writing tools.

All of these benefits are only scratching the surface of what's possible and what is even more interesting is the fact that once an author sets the terms for each book, all of it gets embedded within the blockchain technology. The decisions made by authors impacting all phases of production, marketing and selling are therefore the rules of engagement by which all others will have to adhere to.

The blockchain model is not without its challenges, but that is beyond the scope of this article. I aim to bring to your attention what is possible and to present it in a way that is hopefully motivating and less intimidating.

As an indie author, I am excited about the benefits and opportunities. As an independent publisher, I view the Author Centric Business Model as a fair, ethical and responsible way in which to engage authors as the rightful owners of the work they produce. And as a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, I fully support their campaign to educate authors and publishers on what the blockchain is and how it can positively affect our industry.

Blockchain technology may not be fully implemented for some time, but the beta platform at Publica is indicating that this new business model is a viable one. And the idea that authors should operate under an Author Centric Model is a good one, and one that can be implemented as early as today. It begins with learning about what is possible and being willing to take on a more active role on the business side of bookselling.

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Buckminster Fuller

Disruption can lead to discovery. ALLi will continue to publish additional information about blockchain technology. I highly recommend ALLi membership to indie authors and publishers who want reliable and timely information on this and other industry related topics. But if you do nothing else, begin thinking of ways in which you can sell to readers directly. Update your author website and social media platforms. Educate yourself about contractual terms, and intellectual property rights. Your success as an independent author/publisher is dependent upon how well you understand the business side of selling books. Here's to embracing change wherever it may lead us.