Sensitive to Art & its Discontents
Where once modern art was primarily defined by style — think Surrealism or Op art — today contemporary art can be characterized by how it is tracked and traded. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a type of digital asset connected to a public blockchain and certified to be unique and secure. The NFT as art was first proposed in 2014 by Anil Dash and Kevin McCoy to help artists monetize their digital works. As Dash has explained, however, what has followed is rampant opportunism and further commodification of art.
Critics of the established art market declare that NFTs are part of a counterculture that will lead the legacy art world from hierarchies to a networked utopia. Sites such as OpenSea, SuperRare, and Hic et Nunc offer an almost infinite amount of digital artworks in a wide price range. The truth is, unfortunately, much of the crypto art available on these auction marketplaces is unoriginal on any visual level, or worse, artistically vacuous. However, there are art platforms that want to use NFTs to empower digital and new media artists to benefit from the unbounded potential they hold. Feral File is one such platform.
Launched in March 2021 as the boom in collecting file-based art began, Feral File eschews the auction model commonly used to sell NFTs. Built using the Bitmark blockchain and initiated by artist and Processing programming language co-creator Casey Reas, Feral File commissions curated exhibitions with artists who use quantum algorithms and other generative techniques to make code-based art. It has set a standard for how a digitally native gallery should work. “Feral File is more of an artist-driven initiative,” curator and researcher Pau Waelder said when we talked over Zoom, “thinking more about the artist, about the community, about people getting to know and experience digital art, and making it affordable.”
In September 2021, Waelder curated the fifth exhibition that Feral File has held, Instructions Follow, a group show of 12 established-to-emerging digital artists. The artworks were presented as cultural artifacts and the exhibition was shown as a cultural event, “which is the main point, ideally,” explained Waelder. Each page of the exhibition included the technical specifications of the art and a brief narrative about the work. The artworks were sold in editions of 75 for $75 (Feral File now accepts Ether and Bitcoin, but originally priced works only in US dollars). Waelder and each of the artists got one edition from all the artworks, fostering a community of artist-collectors that gain from each other’s success. When sales started an hour after the exhibition opened to the public, it sold out in 40 seconds.
Another criticism of the traditional art world is the lack of transparency around prices. Transparency is built into Feral File through the clear artist and collector rights embedded in the smart contracts of the NFTs they sell. The extensive art sale agreement allows artists to harness one of the major benefits of NFTs: royalties in perpetuity. “What happened in the show that I curated is that in the end some artists made more money from the percentage they got from resales than from the original sale,” said Waelder.
The collectors’ rights were added to make sure that the digital works bought on Feral File are disseminated as much as possible. For example, when video art is bought through a gallery, usually the contract stipulates that the collector can only show the work in their private residence. Feral File has moved towards maximum distribution to expose the art they sell, encouraging collectors to present their collections in places such as public shows and museums, benefiting the collector, artist, and ultimately the platform.
Feral File collectors know what they are buying; they are tech savvy. In their conversations on Discord — the communication platform of choice for the NFT community — they discuss file formats and the finer details of the algorithmic and generative processes, much as a Pollock-lover might discuss his intuitive method. For collectors, it is also important to be able to sell on the secondary market. Feral File recently released Ethereum Bridge to enable collectors to migrate Bitmark NFTs to the Ethereum blockchain, allowing them to hold their artworks in an Ethereum wallet and sell on other marketplaces.
The unexpected market in NFTs in the past 12 months has encouraged major galleries into the crypto art space. Pace gallery launched a dedicated NFT hub — Pace Verso — in November 2021. Using buzzwords such as Web3 and metaverse to market the venture, Pace claim this hub is not an “NFT platform” to put JPEGs on the blockchain (Ethereum in this case), but rather they want to create projects within a digitally native space. Nevertheless, the first artists to have NFT drops on Pace Verso are not digitally native, excluding the type of artists exhibiting with Feral File.
Of course, Pace Verso will sell their NFTs to their big collectors who perhaps would normally not buy new media art. That is their segment of the market. “I think there’s much more interest in the digital art world, although I’m afraid it’s more monetary interest than cultural interest in many cases,” said Waelder. What sets Feral File apart is that it is created by and for the digital and new media art community, the very community that have been fighting for legitimacy in the legacy markets influenced by galleries such as Pace.
NFTs are popular among artists because the technology enables them to exercise control over their digital work, to more easily sell it, and to protect against others appropriating it. Being able to separate an artist’s initial creation from mere copies confers power. It is unfortunate that the current boom in NFTs has led to a focus on the market versus the actual art. Feral File demonstrates how digital artists and ethical collectors of file-based art can build a culture antidote to the opaque framework of collecting art through the established gallery system.
Much like her writing, O’Grady’s photomontages pressure binaries until something other, something “both/and” emerges.
As a coming-of-age memoir during World War II, Zoe Beloff’s Reminiscences of a Refugee Childhood is a document of a generation rapidly fading from living memory.
Judged by Judith Butler and Andreas Kilcher, those who submit the best captions to Yale University Press’s #KafkaCaptionContest will receive copies of this new book.
Arts funding could better respond to the socio-political crisis of the day by identifying and supporting artists who are central to their communities.
End of the Line captures five years of failed efforts to fix the city’s disastrously bad train infrastructure.
New York Botanical Garden’s latest exhibition focuses on how food choices impact our world and features special picnic tables designed by Bronx artists.
The LA-based foundation will fund a range of initiatives by curators studying prints, drawings, and other forms of graphic art.
From murals to a front-yard installation featuring rows of backpacks, the community is channeling its grief and rage at gun control inaction.
Back in person after two years, this exhibition at the Manetti Shrem Museum showcases work from 27 arts and humanities students. On view from June 2 to June 19.
The work, donated by TV and film writer and producer Norman Lear, will be sold to benefit the college’s “Art for Access” program.
Ukrainian people have been using folk art, music, and traditions to resist the war and foster hope.
Erica Green’s textile exhibition Once They Were Red manifests an act of repair through humble materials, but the experience is one of surviving more than mending.
Misha Maruma is a freelance writer and journalist based in London. You can follow him on Twitter @MishaMaruma. More by Misha Maruma
Hyperallergic is a forum for serious, playful, and radical thinking about art in the world today. Founded in 2009, Hyperallergic is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.
How to Determine the Value of an NFT Before Investing – MUO – MakeUseOf
When it comes to NFTs, there are a few ways to figure out if you should invest or not.
Like in the stock, forex, and crypto markets, where there are yardsticks to evaluate the strength of assets, there are metrics you can use to rate the worth and potential value of an NFT before investing in it. Four of these metrics will be explained in this article, along with some benefits and risks you should be aware of before investing in an NFT.
NFTs can be pretty valuable in a couple of ways. Apart from being investment instruments with high-profit potential, they are also used to establish identity, community, and ownership. Some people buy NFTs to support artists, and often, the artists earn more from this since they profit directly from their works without any intermediary.
As a new form of collectible, they are digital upgrades to items like comic books, arts, posters, sports cards, etc., attracting many to buy NFTs not because of any monetary gain they expect from them but because of the other values they have. Sometimes the value could be in the form of exclusive access to events, for gaming purposes, and some just buy it for the novelty of it.
For investors, NFTs have also become a profit-making technology (even though only a few people have become rich by getting involved in NFTs!).
One question you might then ask is how to spot which NFTs have the potential to offer you financial value and the ones to skip for investment purposes.
Below are four factors you should consider when trying to invest in an NFT.
NFT rarity will determine its value. For example, a rare NFT can be a first-of-its-kind piece of digital art by an illustrator; some NFTs made by celebrities also fall into the category of a rare NFT.
An example of an NFT that falls into this category is a project by Mike Winkelmann (aka Beeple) named "Everydays: The First 5000 Days." It's been called an "accumulative piece" because it's made up of 5,000 images, one for each day since May 2007, a total of 13 years. Speaking to Artnet, Metakovan and Twobadour, NFT collectors from Singapore, said they bought the piece because they believe it "is going to be a billion-dollar piece someday."
This covers how an NFT is used in the physical or digital world. In addition to being unique digital assets, certain non-fungible tokens also serve other purposes. Some NFTs, for example, give the owner rights and benefits they otherwise wouldn't have.
The Bored Ape Yacht Club started as a set of NFT images, but now they are tickets to special events and give rewards to their owners, such as the ability to print new NFTs. Many NFTs are also used in games, and they are valued differently based on the functions they play.
The ease with which an NFT can be bought or sold within its network refers to its liquidity. Investors like to invest in liquid NFTs (those with significant trading volumes) since the risk of holding them is reduced. ERC-standard NFTs are instantly tradable across a wide variety of exchanges. The ease of trade adds to the value of such NFTs.
The people and projects behind an NFT can stir up speculation, which can affect the growth and price of the NFT. In addition to who the creator is, the caliber of the people who have owned a certain NFT also affects its value. For example, NFTs owned by people of high social standing or celebrities usually have a high value. This way, we can also say that an NFT's price can be increased by affiliating it with a strong brand or famous figure.
If you choose to invest in NFTs, you should also be aware of some of the benefits of investing in them.
There are endless possibilities in the NFT space as they can be used for almost any project. Moreover, the use cases are also increasing steadily, making the future of NFT promising.
Another reason NFT investment might be a good idea is that they are accessible to everyone; it is not for any selected group of people. It is also easily transferable from one person or place to another. With this, there is an expectation that the technology will continue to grow more popular.
Investing in NFTs offers another way to diversify your portfolio, thereby reducing your overall risk. Even within the NFT space, there are different categories of assets you can invest in. Just make sure you do your research well before settling for any asset.
Ownership of NFT is secured through blockchain technology. This feature also helps to fractionalize ownership of assets. It is easier to divide ownership among several owners while everyone has a secured irreplicable record of their shares. Blockchain makes all records and transactions transparent, making trades more straightforward with less chance of fraudulence.
Since all NFT transactions are recorded in a blockchain, the data cannot be changed or tampered with, making NFTs easier to authenticate than physical assets. If you are buying a piece of art from an online store, you might not be able to know if you are getting the original or a copy. However, when buying an NFT, you can check the blockchain to validate the authenticity of the piece of art before paying for it.
Investing in NFTs is also not without certain risks. These concerns are issues that may hinder the growth of NFTs in the future.
Most NFTs are supported by the Ethereum network, which uses the proof of work (PoW) consensus method (although Ethereum is set to switch to proof of stake). The PoW consensus process takes a lot of energy to record and confirm transactions. To mint a single NFT, heaps of electricity is needed. Concerns have been raised that this could negatively affect the environment.
NFTs are very volatile, and the prices change rapidly, making it a little challenging to predict the future value of an NFT. You can lose your money if the NFT you buy doesn't retain its value.
NFT tech is still in its infant state and isn't very liquid. Many people still don't know what NFTs are, which makes it hard to trade because there aren't as many buyers and sellers. Furthermore, as you'll read below, their association with fraudulent activities harms their image.
NFTs can also be used to carry out fraudulent activities. There is no doubt that the integrity of blockchain is unquestionable. However, there have been cases of the sale of properties as NFTs without the consent of the real owners, violating the essence of using NFTs to sell properties. Several other NFT scams have been done, and this makes it necessary to be careful when trying to buy an NFT.
It cannot be overemphasized that, as much as there are advantages to investing in an NFT, there are also risks to it. You should not just invest in an NFT because it is an NFT. Rather, you should assess it to see if it has the potential to be more valuable in the future.
We understand that the NFT world is rapidly growing, and many things are bound to change. In this light, you should open your mind up to the possibilities while also being careful in the NFT space.
Temitope holds a B.A. and M.A. in linguistics. He started trading forex five years ago, and not long after that, he picked up interest in the crypto and blockchain systems. He has been a writer since 2019, and his experience in the Fintech industry has inspired most of his articles. When Temitope is not writing, he takes his time to learn new things and also loves to visit new places.
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Asia’s largest Web3 event Token2049 exclusively unveils NFT assets valued over $100 million – Cointelegraph
Token2049, Asia’s premier crypto conference, announced that it will be showcasing a first-of-its-kind, immersive NFT experience, titled the Op3n Whale NFT Exhibition, at its upcoming Singapore edition from Sept. 28 to 29. The exhibition will be presenting NFT assets with a market value exceeding $100 million. This will be the first time such a collection owned by a single entity has ever been on display to the public.
The exhibition was developed by Op3n, a launchpad for IP and communities in Web3, and Whale, the omniversal membership club with a treasury that includes the world’s largest collection of rare, high-value NFTs spanning gaming, art and virtual real estate.
Raphael Strauch, founder of Token2049, said: “Today’s Web3 ecosystem reflects the exciting creativity and innovation being brought by a myriad of industries by way of their growing interest in NFTs — and so much of this is taking place in Asia. We have an exciting program for our attendees, and this exhibition is just one part.”
Showcasing creatives, brands and curators from the region that exemplify the global dynamic of East meets West, the exhibition will make its exclusive debut at Asia’s largest Web3 event and Token2049’s largest-ever conference in its history. An estimated 7,000 visitors are expected to attend.
The exhibition includes artworks by renowned digital artist Pak, famed for spearheading Sotheby’s first-ever NFT sale; leading glitch artist Xcopy; Milanese artist duo Hackatao; and award-winning Asian-American photographer Michael Yamashita.
Token2049 Singapore will also feature a rotating display of generative art masterpieces from MoMa’s permanent collection artist Brendan Dawes and Instagram photography sensation Ryosuke Kosuge. These works will be displayed at Whale’s solo booth at the conference.
Renowned NFT collector and Whale founder WhaleShark said: “Nonfungible technology has ignited a global digital renaissance of art and culture, and the ability to partner with Token2049 and Op3n to showcase some of the earliest and most renowned pioneers of this sector is truly an honor. The exhibition puts the spotlight on this inevitable revolution of the arts with a focus on a time-tested creative industry, rather than the flavor of the month.”
In addition, attendees will be able to see Op3n’s latest NFT drop “A3,” developed by YOON and VERBAL who are behind the iconic Tokyo-based fashion brand Ambush. The iconic phygital “A3” NFT will be uniquely presented in a glass display case on the exhibition floor.
“Art, culture and technology are intersecting in exciting and completely new ways, with many industry-firsts taking place around the globe,” said Jaeson Ma, co-CEO and founder of Op3n, the world’s preeminent contemporary NFT experience brand. “From digital creators and traditional artists to fashion brands such as Ambush who have been expanding their presence in the NFT space, we’re bringing together an incredible pool of talent to celebrate and honor their work.”
Ma will also be speaking for a panel on the future of IP and communities in Web3 on Sept. 29 at 2:45 pm along with Verbal, who will speak more about “A3” in detail.
Token2049 Singapore’s agenda will be featuring a series of discussions touching on the latest developments in the Web3 ecosystem — from the global macro narrative for crypto, the rise of Web3 gaming, the emerging social and creator economy, the future of AI and generative art, present and future Web3 infrastructure and much more.
As part of Asia Crypto Week, Token2049 attendees can expect to attend a full line-up of side events, conferences, networking events, workshops and parties taking place throughout the week.
Visit the site for more information and continued updates on Token2049 Singapore.
Token2049 is a premier Web3 event, organized annually in Singapore and London, where decision-makers in the global crypto ecosystem connect to exchange ideas, network and shape the industry. Token2049 is a global meeting place for entrepreneurs, institutions, industry insiders, investors and those with a strong interest in the crypto and blockchain industry.
Founded in 2021 as a subsidiary of EST Media Holdings, Op3n imagines a world where communities can come together to create, own and bring their ideas to the world. Op3n’s mission is to be a launchpad for ideas and communities to create meaningful experiences together. By consolidating the tools needed to mint, share and engage with NFTs and digital tokens into one vertical stack, Op3n leverages its cross-industry expertise from the entertainment, gaming and tech ecosystems to lay the foundations for a new era of community-driven, inclusive entertainment while bringing everyone together on a journey into Web3.
Literary NFTs: Here's How Writers Can Leverage Their Passion in Web3 – nft now
Every week we simplify the market into key points so you can stay up to date on market trends, upcoming drops, top project guides and much more!
BY Randy Ginsburg
September 28, 2022
In the last few years, platforms like Substack have upended the power dynamics of the legacy publishing industry, providing both established and emerging journalists with freedom, access, and uncapped earning power. Now, literary NFTs are adding fuel to this fiery paradigm shift, opening the door for unprecedented levels of collaboration, direct connection, and value creation between writers and their audiences.
While traditional publishing will never disappear, the power imbalance between creators and publishers will. This article will guide you through the basics of literary NFTs, including the potential benefits and downsides, use cases, pricing, community building, and copyright.
First, let’s start with a definition.
What is a Literary NFT?
A literary NFT is a digital literary work (a book, poem, or article) minted directly to the blockchain as a non-fungible token. The beauty of literary NFTs lies in their versatility. NFTs can showcase a written work, act as a digital collectible, or serve as a key to an exclusive fan community. Some creators may even release individual NFTs of fictional literary characters.
While still in its infancy, plenty of literary NFT projects have popped up in the last year from independent and well-established creators. EtherPoems released one of the first collections of on-chain poetry, and TheVerseVerse regularly mints the work of crypto-native poets like Sasha Stiles and Ana Maria Caballero. Neil Strauss minted the first major decentralized book, providing one random reader with the copyright. Kalen Iwamoto is pioneering the intersection between crypto-native writing and art. Creatokia is bringing it all together by building a new world and marketplace for publishers, authors, creators, and collections.
While the benefits are already visible as Web3 adoption increases, literary NFTs are positioned to become an integral part of any writer’s marketing, crowdfunding, and community-building strategies.
The benefits of NFTs for Writers
Like the art and fashion industries, the legacy publishing industry is controlled by power-hungry centralized middlemen. In exchange for providing upstart funding and distribution channels, traditional publishers have complete control over the value chain. NFTs upend this system, bypassing the publishers altogether and providing writers with more creative freedom, flexibility, and earning power than ever before.
So follow along.
Creative Control and Fan Connection:
Writers, like all creatives, long for the freedom and uncensored ability to express their ideas as they see fit. But in many writer-publisher relationships, the publisher often has a strong hand, or even the final say, in creative input. By publishing directly to their audience, writers can avoid these creative gatekeepers and retain full creative control of their work.
Going direct to the audience also provides creators with a layer of utility, access, and authentic fan connection, unlike anything we’ve seen before. Ultimately, it’s up to the creators what type of perks they want to provide their NFT holders. Some NFTs can grant owners personal access to the creator, while others can serve as a ticket to an exclusive fan community or exclusive book signings.
Some creators even give their audience a say in the direction of the work through the use of on and off-chain voting proposals. This has further opened up a market for community-generative content where NFT holders can dictate the creative direction of the work and sometimes even add directly to the work themselves. A thriving example is The Writer’s Room from Jenkins the Valet and Tally Labs, which have partnered with Neil Strauss, a 10-time best-selling author and first mover in literary NFTs, to create the first community-generative book that will be sold to the public as its own NFT.
The opportunity for community-wide creative voting rights has built one of the most loyal, passionate, and tight-knit communities in the NFT space. With only 80 of the total minted 6,942 Writer’s Room NFTs listed for sale, it’s evident that the community wholeheartedly believes in the project and is determined to make it succeed.
A major aspect of NFTs is the ability for creators to add unlockable content. This is specifically relevant for literary NFTs as now, instead of minting a block of plain text, creators have the freedom and flexibility to experiment with using different media forms such as photos, videos, and GIFs for the actual NFT while including the written work as downloadable content in the form of a PDF, .epub, or text file.
It’s good to note that the downloadable content doesn’t need to be text. It can be anything, like an exclusive audio file, a link to an owner’s only live reading, or a collection of work-in-progress titles that didn’t make the cut.
When it comes to earning power, writers have historically gotten the short end of the stick. Due to the vastly misaligned financial incentives of the traditional publishing industry, professional writers are often subject to low salaries and razor-thin royalty percentages, while the publishers and distributors capture the majority of the value. NFTs flip the value chain on its head, allowing creators to earn immediately, directly, and in some situations, consistently.
With smart contracts, writers can earn a cut every time their work is resold. With used book sales accounting for a sizable percentage of the overall book market, the ability to collect royalties on secondary sales unlocks new value chains writers have never seen before.
However, it’s important to note that there are very few writers currently making a full-time living off of literary NFTs. Perhaps it could be done, but the nascent nature of literary NFTs is worth consideration as you approach your broader writing and marketing strategy.
Drawbacks of NFTs and things to consider
As you spend more time in the NFT space, you’ll often hear something like “we’re so early.” While that’s true for all of crypto, it’s a significant downside for literary NFTs.
Most people still don’t know what NFTs are, and even fewer actually own any. Literary NFTs are a blip in the overall market, mainly driven by art and digital collectibles. This limits optionality for both creators and consumers. There are no well-known literary NFT-specific marketplaces and very few “household names” in the literary NFT space. While this is an upside to creators (less competition and first-mover advantage), it’s also a major drawback (fewer sales). A small market for primary sales means even less frequent secondary sales, ultimately removing a key financial driver for creators.
For greater adoption, readability needs to be frictionless and in-platform. Outside of the LIT Project, which is readable in OpenSea, there are no in-marketplace or standalone NFT content readers, nor is there integration with existing e-readers like Kindles or iPads. This is also part of the reason many authors opt to include their actual work as unlockable, downloadable content and have the NFT be another form of media like an image or GIF.
Which blockchains you should mint on: the pros and cons
Most creators choose to mint on either the Ethereum or Polygon blockchains. Each has its own selling points around network size, creator spending preferences, consumer spending preferences, security, and community input which we cover in-depth in our guide to minting fashion NFTs. To maximize reach and market size, we recommend starting off on Ethereum as it’s the largest, most secure network. It’s also the entry point for those first getting into the NFT space. But if you want to distribute your work widely, Polygon will likely be much cheaper for both you and the end-user.
How to mint an NFT: platforms and fee structures
Given the size of the literary NFT market, most creators choose to list their work on at least one of the many general NFT marketplaces like OpenSea, Foundation, or Rarible. Each of these marketplaces has built up sizable user bases through multi-sided network effects and provides creators with the highest likelihood of a sale. We cover all you need to know about platform size, minting fees, royalty structures, and copyright authority in-depth in our Top 10 NFT Marketplaces article, so we will spend most of our time here focusing on literary-specific platforms. Regardless of the platform, you’ll need a wallet (we recommend Metamask) and a little bit of ETH to get started.
Mirror: Mirror is by far the most robust offering for independent writers to publish their work to the blockchain, crowdfund projects, and build communities.
On Mirror, all written work is published as an entry, which is essentially a basic blog post. From there, writers can choose to mint their entries as NFT editions, setting their desired price and quantity.
Mirror also offers users the ability to mint a limited supply of entries at fixed pricing tiers, giving them full control over the size and the price. This is a great way to represent tiered rewards or community memberships as an addition to your literary NFT. For example, you could release a total of 351 NFTs across various tiers.
Although the writing of each entry is the same, owners of each tier will receive different levels of access and utility predetermined by the creator. The first edition commands more value, since it’s treated as the first edition of any literary work.
As of writing, Mirror doesn’t offer unlockable content, so many people use Mirror to mint their writing, instead of another image or video file type (although that option is available too).
Like OpenSea, Mirror uses a process called “lazy minting,” meaning that your work isn’t minted on the blockchain until someone purchases it. This allows for a free listing, limiting any upfront financial risk if your work wasn’t to sell. On the flip side, since your work doesn’t actually live on the blockchain until post-primary purchase, it can not be listed for purchase on any other NFT marketplace until after the first sale. To compensate for this, Mirror offers the ability to embed NFTs into any website. This allows for a unique distribution mechanism that most other NFT platforms do not offer and is a great way to maximize reach.
What really makes Mirror unique is its crowdfunding tool. Think of it like a Web3 GoFundMe. In just a few clicks, anyone can raise funds for an idea or project. In exchange for providing ETH to fund an idea, backers receive a project-specific token, and in some cases backer-specific NFTs, as a reward. This token serves as a “proof of patronage” and can even represent a financial stake in the future success of the idea. Like other NFTs on Mirror, crowdfund blocks can be embedded directly into entries, so that writers can provide a complete picture of their vision, mission, and goals.
This is an excellent way for writers to finance ideas, build upfront community buy-in, and share their stories with the world.
Royalty Structure: Mirror does not currently enable creators to set secondary royalty percentages, since most entries are rarely resold.
As the space continues to mature, a rise in literary NFT-specific marketplaces, platforms, and protocols is likely. To succeed, these platforms need to establish multi-sided network effects. Lit Ether, Sonn3t, and zang.gallery are all exciting projects to keep an eye on and experiment with, although they are still too early to amass a large user base.
Bottom Line: While Mirror has positioned itself as the go-to platform to publish, mint, and crowdfund literary works, it does not have its own marketplace, drastically limiting creator reach and secondary earning power. Outside of entries and crowdfunding (where Mirror excels), when first getting started, many independent creators like Brian Ondrako recommend listing on OpenSea or another major marketplace to ensure the highest likelihood of a sale.
As a self-published author, Ondrako sought a means to spread the word about his new children’s book, according to an interview with nft now. The intriguing nature of the NFT space convinced him to turn his 16-page spreads into NFTs “as a way for true believers to support the project,” he added. “Listing on OpenSea saved me a lot of money upfront since I had no idea of how successful it would be.”
How to sell an NFT: pricing and royalties
Pricing is tough with all NFTs, but it’s especially challenging with literary works. Understandably, pricing is a subjective and personal decision based on a variety of factors like quality, scarcity, utility, and hype. Here are a few questions to consider when starting off with your first project:
What type of NFT are you releasing, and how many?
A great way to command value is to create scarcity and exclusivity. Are you mass distributing a book with unlimited copies? Or are you launching a 1/1 NFT of an early book cover sketch, with an unlockable download link to the PDF of your book, and the right to a physical copy? Consumers will likely treat the single book NFT as any normal physical book, while they may view your early cover art as a unique collectible. The latter will always be more valuable.
What can the owner do with them?
As mentioned earlier, many creators use NFTs as access tokens, granting owners exclusive opportunities like meet and greets, behind-the-scenes content, or access to owner-exclusive merchandise. The higher level of access and opportunity that you provide to your owners, the higher price you may be able to command.
How good is your work?
Let’s face it. While all projects are commendable, some are better than others. However, high quality is often dictated by the market, which defines the financial performance of the work, and thus the right to a higher price tag.
How large is your existing audience?
It’s often easier to charge more when you have an existing audience that is already supportive and familiar with your work. When first starting out, we’d recommend pricing on the lower side and letting your work speak for itself. As you continue to build up a community and drum up some hype around your projects, you’ll likely have the ability to charge more for your work.
How to build a community for your NFT collection
In the NFT world, the community is king. The same goes for writing. Consequently, your audience should always remain the main focus when publishing any sort of written work, especially when launching a literary NFT project. You have to ask who the content is for. Have a clear purpose for your work in mind, and know it makes your reader feel. Crucially, the same considerations apply when building your community, and the best way to build one is to rally people around a goal or mission larger than themselves.
“If your community is built on hype, they’ll leave when that hype isn’t sustained,” said Tally Labs Co-Founder SAFA in an interview with nft now. “We spend time getting to know our members, we’re in Discord frequently, and we’re building a really solid community with a shared vision. As a Founder, being open and transparent with your community is crucial.”
Building a quality community can be achieved through emotional connection, virtual and IRL interaction, co-creation, or a combination of the three. Creating a tight-knit community helps to strengthen personal bonds, becomes a key differentiator of your project, and results in further success of the project and aligned financial incentives for all.
Creative commons and copyright in NFTs
There is an ongoing debate around the “right” way to approach copyright and IP protection in the NFT space. In the literary world, where IP around storytelling and character creation is so important, this discussion is even further amplified. The most liberal form of copyright is Creative Commons Zero (CC0), wherein creators must waive any copyright protection and agree to have their work live completely free in the public domain for use, reuse, or adaptation. From there follow various levels of non-CC0 protection related to commercialization and licensing.
It’s crucial to consider where you want your project to stand, especially for community generative or derivative work. Some relevant questions to ask yourself:
Your answers will have massive implications across pricing, community buy-in, and overall success.
And this is where projects like The Writer’s Room — and NFTs in general — are particularly unique. Thanks to the commercial rights that BAYC grants owners, Jenkins has built an entire business and book around his ape. The project also allows ape holders to license their characters for use in the first Jenkin’s Novel, in exchange for a portion of the book’s proceeds. Tally Labs, who’s betting on the belief that the next generation of fictional household characters will live on the blockchain, plans to replicate this model across the top NFT collections as they venture into additional books, film, audio, and beyond.
“The most famous Web2 media business that most people think of is Disney,” explained SAFA to nft now. “Disney pretty much invented modern copyright law as we know it, and a large portion of their business is built on protecting their IP at all costs and owning everything. This works for them! When BAYC came around and offered commercial rights to holders, an entirely new mindset emerged. Rather than a central party being entrusted to build and own everything, individuals were given the tools to play their part and benefit both themselves and the wider brand.”
“We don’t think this trend is going anywhere anytime soon, and we’ve bet our business on it,” added SAFA. “We believe deeply in handing over amazing IPs to individuals, and harnessing their collective creativity. We will be there the whole time to help guide it and shape the vision, but if the community is driving, then the IP you create will always be reflective of what they want.”
Now that you have a general understanding of what literary NFTs are and how to use them as vehicles for direct distribution and value creation, it’s your turn to rewrite the narrative of Web3 publishing. Your imagination is truly the only limit, and we’re excited to see what you do with it.
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