Creative thoughts on the future livelihood of writers from German author Thorsten Nesch.
“Art is the next Textile Industry”
Dear reader, the headline is not my opinion and I hope we artists won’t go down that road but I’ll get back to this statement I had to hear later.
Now I want to publicly answer an e-mail by my Canadian colleague and friend Paulo da Costa who forwarded the article „The artists struggle to survive in age of the blockbuster“ by Russell Smith, published in The Globe and Mail, Thursday, November 28, 2013.
Russell Smith announces that the Internet didn’t live up to its alleged possibilities of individual niche markets, on the contrary, the blockbuster mentality in the arts just grew. No social networking helped any decent author or artist, five e-books sales can’t count. And I, being a traditionally published author selling my not traditionally published novels as e-books, came to the same conclusion: Internet as a sales platform for literature is not worth the time. On the other hand, you shouldn’t start writing a novel if you want to make money. There are clearly better ways.
Why didn’t those niche markets develop?
For me it is the massive distraction of the Apps and Games society. There is just tons of other stuff to do, faster to wolf down and easier to digest – especially for people that don’t have a lot of spare time on top of their overtime careers or two-to-three nowhere jobs. Who wants to read at the end of the day, if their day has no end?
Now we enter Blockbuster area.
Those who have time want to read essentially about themselves, about their lifes of the rich, the famous, the corrupt, greedy, morally crippled sex maniacs – the material bestsellers are made of, blockbuster material. And those are the only ones who – on a bigger scale – do purchase hardcover books that make it on the top 10 lists.
Yes, I give you the benefit of doubt – there are exceptions – but this is not all my theory, you can read about this in Albert Zuckerman’s nonfiction book called Bestseller.
What can be done to counter the development?
I see two possibilities:
1. Artists generally need more ways to surface. This can easily be done with more awards and arts Council grants. Both are a very cheap ways for a town to shine over its city limits and create a positive advertisement for themselves, maybe attract tourism or even industry. Needless to say, for artists every little monies go a long way and they can work on their projects and their career making a name for themselves.
A clear win-win situation for both sides.
2. Creativity could be declared a medical condition, a diagnosis, socially accepted. Artists proving their need to expression over years could receive a basic monthly income from the government. Every doctor, every statistic will come to the same conclusion that this is the cheapest way for a society to foster their creative people instead of forcing them into low-end jobs where they become sick and a physical, a mental and a financially expensive burden to society, as they are then perceived.
Again an economical and intellectual/cultural win-win situation. Especially both ideas combined.
Otherwise art will become the next textile industry.
This sentence I heard from one of the online pirates who cracked an e-book of mine when it hit the top hundred of its genre (in Germany) He put it online for free whereupon the sales disappeared.
I contacted him to ask why he would do such thing? Where was the benefit for him, his motivation? Guess what, he had none, he just did it because he could do it, telling me at the end, I should face it, art will be the next textile industry. He didn’t tell me, where he found the time to sit down for this hobby, since somebody must pay for his food and for his computer. I received no answer.
Now, if we don’t do anything against the online pirate’s prediction he might be right one day. And this won’t be any cheaper than my totally crazy and far-fetched out of this world suggestions.
“Art is the next Textile Industry”