Sunday, 14 November 2010

Internet Publishing - The True Leveller?

With so many things being offered for free online, how long will it be before this is the norm? As time passes it seems that more and more creators are prepared to offer their product for free. Radiohead, for example realeased their album online and allowed people to make donations if they felt inclined. Warren Ellis, a well established comic book creator, offers the fantastic 'Freak Angels' for free, making money from merchandising and advertising. Online comics are growing in popularity and some of the best, such as 'Freak Angels' and 'The Abominable Charles Christopher', are being well supported. How long will it be before books appear online for free and is it a good thing for other creatives that some are offering high quality content for zero cost to the consumer?

If one felt inclined to agree with the theory behind a free market economy that levelling the playing field allows the rubbish to sink and the cream to rise to the top, then maybe it is. And unlike a free market economy, which is still dominated by large corporations, the internet seems like a true leveller. Because it's so easy to get content out there, anyone with an internet connection and computer can have their thoughts and feelings published. So we still have to accept that a lot of the world are without even these basic apparatus, but if you have access to this equipment you have a voice.

In the past to become a sucessful creator, you would often need to be backed by your own, or someone elses money. The music industry being a good example. What we end up with is large corporations controlling what is put into the public sphere. When huge amounts of money are being put into their projects they want to reduce risk as much as possible. This means taking less risks and backing sucessful formulas. What the internet has allowed creatives to do is to publish their work themselves, to place it into the public sphere and to allow the public to decide what they like, rather than a risk averse business person. Surely this is better for creativity? With things like advertising and merchandising, revenue is generated and it goes to the creator of popular work, rather than it's corporate owners, as well as giving the consumer more freedom to chose what they like.

Having written a book, and being about to embark on a quest to find an agent to represent it, do I bite the bullet and publish it for free on a blog instead?