How the Digital Honesty Box can save authors from penury
The Curse of Rowling
The false perception that authors are rich, therefore you don’t need to pay them.
The false perception that eBooks cost nothing to produce, therefore you don’t need to buy them.
The urge to preserve the illusion of wealth in the hope it will come true.
Authors are often plagued by Imposter Syndrome. But Cinderella Syndrome makes willing slaves of very clever people.
Authors are broke. Dead broke. Earning a third of minimum wage kinda broke.
And yet, authors are unwilling to openly discuss this.
Traditional paperbacks earn their authors $2 per copy. Selling 3,000 copies is a great accomplishment.
And eBooks, whilst cheaper to produce than printed books, still incur costs, most of which are born by the author. And piracy is the added earning challenge of the format. One legally purchased eBook can generate thousands of others, from which the author makes no money.
Cinderella Syndrome is at the heart of this. Like the eponymous princess herself, we are all scullery maids frocked up to the nines hoping to make the dream solid through the power of self-belief, charisma, and luck, thus contributing to the very Curse that enslaves us.
Every author can dispel the Curse of Rowling, but only if they can get over Cinderella Syndrome.
And so in response to the above, I invented the Digital Honesty Box; the means to take payment for the eBook, from within the eBook, and “To Conquer Heaven” is the first eBook to have one.
Like many transformative concepts, the Digital Honesty Box is very simple. It is a link within the eBook to a hidden page on the author’s platform. This page holds a PayPal widget and a kindly, but firmly, worded request for payment.
However, a single Digital Honesty Box is just a cute little marketing trick, but a thousand Digital Honesty Boxes is the start of an industry revolution that will overcome the reservations against payment held by consumers and directly benefit authors.
Half the battle in overcoming indifference toward paying for content is an accessible mechanism for payment.
And the exposure afforded by this award is the other half.
We, as authors, have to address the underlying reasons why readers are reticent to part with the price of a cappuccino for an eBook that represents thousands of hours and thousands of dollars of investment.
Which means dispelling the Curse of Rowling with the facts that we are too proud to share; namely that the $10,000 prize money for this award represents an average annual wage for an author in Australia.
And this, my dear judges, is why I believe that awarding the QUT Digital Literature Award to ‘To Conquer Heaven’ will benefit all authors in Queensland, and Australia.