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Monday, March 24, 2014

How Much Is A Word Worth?


There’s no doubt that the monetization of words is way down in the world of writing. We are generating more free content in 2014 than I bet the entire book industry sold in 1984. Think about that. Add up the blog posts and books that are available for free. Millions and millions of words become available every minute online – at no charge. This is impacting what one can charge for their books.

The average sales price of an e-book keeps dropping and as the share of all book sales increasingly moves towards digital, the average cost per word is in a free-fall. And in today’s marketing-must world, more writers give out more free content and social media commentary to promote the content that they now get paid less for.

It seems writers are working not only against each other, but themselves.

The solution? Write less, give away less. Raise prices and become scarcer. We must reverse this tide of cheap excess. We’re choking on our own words.

Now, step away from the financial side and look at the value of your words in terms of your ability to be heard and to influence others. Again, because of the clutter -- free and paid – the voices of each writer are diluted and dismissed.

If your book was one of the 44,000 published in 1988, your voice was small. Today, if you are one of the million new books published in 2013 – on top of the millions of books previously published and now in print, your voice is tiny. Add to it the magazines, newspapers, blogs, and social media postings and the billions, no trillions, of words circulating at any one moment it is mind-boggling. It’s amazing any singular thought or message can be communicated on a large scale.

Maybe none of this matters. Writers write, no matter the odds of being heard or compensated. Writing is the creative, therapeutic, and philanthropic outlet to many. We can’t stop ourselves from writing, even if the burden of the volumes of words is negating the very impact we hope to make with our words.

I guess I’ve said enough. This blog is adding to the word pollution that causes our books to be no bigger than a needle in a barn of hay.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

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