Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Creator Ownership is the Future

I recently backed on Kickstarter Comcept's Red Ash show and video game. I like Comcept, I like Keiji Inafune, and I more than dig what they're doing for the video game industry.

Media across the board is trending towards more creator-owned properties. Crowd funding websites, like Kickstarter, are assisting in this change. Funding is the make or break for many dreams, so with more people happy to fund something new and not market-tested, we're getting more variety.

The video game industry is only one part of it, but they are one of the biggest. Small developers are finding success on Steam and other digital services. Bigger developers, like Insomniac Games, own the rights to Fuse, and were allowed to keep their IP rights and achieve full funding with Microsoft with Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One.

Kickstarter has kicked things into high gear. Music has always been the first to do these things. Movies are happening more often, with Zach Braff crowd funded his movie as did Spike Lee. YouTube democratized Internet videos and television watching. Mortal Kombat: Legacy is a web series and had two seasons. There are more, but seriously, Mortal Kombat.

The Internet is changing things for the better. And it's times like these I'm happy I never had to deal with an identity crisis as an author. The literal reason I started writing is because Amazon made self-publishing viable. Doing things myself, the DIY ethic is in my veins. If I had to publish through agents and traditional publishers, as every author hoping for success had to do before Amazon, then I would not be here today.

I'd probably be doing something productive with my life.

When I backed Red Ash, I did it because the less publisher-owned properties out there, the better. Publishers have had their fill. They can hold on to rights for a long time, as if the time is the worst of it. Here's a fun blog post on what book publishers get away with. Other industries are the same, there's no real difference, and that's why I love seeing creators own their work from now on.

Far too many projects are cancelled or never worked on, because publishers don't believe there's any financial point, even if the creator and fans ask for more. The more creator-owned success are out there, the easier to becomes for the next group.

I don't see a strong reason for creators to sign away their works in this digital age. Sure, there are good reasons. Publishers can help with marketing and reaching different markets that a creator may not be able to reach on their own. But it's not the only one today.

I never had the fantasy of finding my book in a bookstore or library. Having my book available on the biggest storefront known as Amazon is better than a few Barnes and Nobles stocking a couple of copies, which will most likely be refunded back to the publisher in less than a year.

Digital works are forever. Embrace it, because a ton of others are not.