A Look Behind the Curtain

The Economics of Content Creation

A few weeks ago I came across an article that opened my eyes to a stark realization. It shattered many of my preconceived notions about what achieving fame on the internet through blogging, vlogging etc. is actually like. As a self-published author who is just starting out this really struck home.

The simple truth is that millions of likes or follows does nothing for your bank account.

You can read the original article below.

This painfully honest article made me think about the pressure we as the audience place on content creators. We want originality — we don’t want to see sell-outs promoting products. We want endless amounts of free content — we don’t want to be asked for donations or to pay for subscriptions. In short, today’s audience is spoiled and content creators can suffer for it.

While the article focuses on social media the same problems of earning a living and finding a way to monetize without scaring off your audience are everywhere including the world of self-publishing.

Writing might never become my only source of income and that’s okay (but I do keep dreaming). However, for some who have achieved internet fame even that second job might not be an option (see the article for plenty of examples). For those people it has become a do or die situation when it comes to trying to earn a living off the internet.

As authors we debate with ourselves over how much we should charge for a novel. We wonder how to ask people for reviews without looking too pushy. We work endless hours tweaking and altering our work until we are proud enough of it to share it.

Then as it has happened to me our work gets pirated, or people complain we are selling out for trying to monetize our work...

We have all been guilty of doing this at some point. We assume that someone else will donate, or that most people are paying for “X”. The person has so many followers, so many likes etc. — they won’t miss our two dollars.

The major conclusion I have drawn is that we no longer value content the way we should. This needs to change.

The internet has opened the floodgates to piracy and seemingly endless free content that will never go away. I won’t debate whether this is right or wrong, but will simply suggest that our attitude needs to change towards people who I regard as entrepreneurs.

We should become more supportive and understanding of all content creators. Not to mention valuing people’s time appropriately. It might have taken you ten minutes to watch that video but it took the creator hours of effort to put it together for you. Finally, if “sell-outs” make you so sick to your stomach just don’t watch and leave them alone. There is no need to harass them with mean comments. Let’s stop punishing people for doing sponsored videos or sneering at being asked to pay for a book. Let’s just sit back and enjoy.