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How I Plan to Publish My Book as an NFT

Updated: May 28, 2021

Before we begin discussing my publishing plan for my upcoming book, let us first understand a bit about NFT and the nuances of getting a book up on NFT portals to sell it in exchange of Ether (popularly) and some other cryptocurrencies including USDT (Tether, equivalent to 1 USD). Or better still, let us first talk about Ether.


Ether, or ETH, is a type of cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency is digital money. Blockchains are mostly used to store cryptocurrency transaction history. ETH uses the Ethereum blockchain.


Now, what’s a blockchain?


A blockchain is a specific type of database. It stores data in blocks, which are then chained

together. It differs from other databases in the way it stores information. Most commonly, a

blockchain is used as a ledger for cryptocurrency transactions. It is used in a decentralized way so that control is not passed on to a single person or group but to all users. Everyone can trust what’s in there because the transactions are verified by other users. Makes sense?


Understanding NFTs


Now coming to NFTs. An NFT or a non-fungible token is a unique and indestructible digital

commodity. A photograph, video, audio, GIF or any other type of digital file, even this blog post, can be an NFT. But NFTs are one-of-a-kind. If you trade a bitcoin for another bitcoin, you would have exactly the same thing but if you trade a non-fungible token for something else, you would have something completely different. It’s unique and irreplaceable.

To put it in simple words, anyone can own copies of the famous Monalisa painting but only one person can have the original. Similarly, with NFTs, the ownership of the digital file stays with the buyer. Now, suppose if I sell a picture saved as a digital file to a friend for, say $1, he would then own that picture. Nobody else would. And his ownership can be easily verified because of the transaction being recorded on the blockchain.


Extrapolating this to the world of books, buying a book NFT is like owning the first edition or

special edition. The author can still retain the copyright or reproduction rights just like the

physical copy.


NFT for books and authors


Kindle revolutionized the writing space but the earnings from the same are meagre.

Unfortunately, most authors get a few dimes on their paperbacks or e-books. Currently, there

are two popular routes to getting your book published, either the traditional publishing route

or the more flexible self-publishing route.


The traditional publishing route requires hunting for the right publisher, pitching your work to

them (failing miserably at it at times) and signing up contracts that take away your control over the book. And the self-publishing route, though more flexible, requires you to be on your toes as far as campaign strategies, PR network and distribution is concerned. More often than not, the monetary value of your work is not realized to its full potential.


Here, NFT comes as a breath of fresh air.


Once you mint an NFT version of your book, you can sell it for a much higher price while

retaining your copyright. The price could be as high as $80,000 in ETH. You can sell as many editions as you want, one, ten, hundred or ten thousand. The buyer buys the book NFT like a limited edition. And as the author, you get a royalty on every subsequent sale. So if the buyer A sells it further to B, you get a royalty on that transaction (That’s so cool!). The royalty has to be set by the author.

The high price of the NFT is because the ownership can be easily verified as every transaction is recorded on the blockchain. So if I, as an author, sell an NFT of my book to A then that transaction would be recorded on the blockchain forever and any nth subsequent buyer can trace my ownership right till the inception. This way it can be traced if the NFT is original or not, unlike say a physical copy of a painting where you need attention to minute details to know if the work of art is original or not. An original NFT of my book would be created by me and my ownership would be recorded in the blockchain. Furthermore, the data in the blockchain can neither be hacked nor be changed as all transactions are public (and thus my ownership) and verified by other users. Therefore, there is only a number of original digital NFTs of my book based on how many I want to create.


It is a great option for upcoming authors to raise their brand profile and get more funds for

their work since currently most authors earn pennies for every book that is sold online. But

there’s also an issue for upcoming authors to overcome. Why would a buyer invest a large sum of money for a limited edition of a not-so-popular author? Currently, the book prices don’t skyrocket and one can easily get a paperback for a much lower price. However since NFT is relatively a new concept, there’s no way to accurately predict how it would all unfold in the upcoming decade because 20 years ago, nobody would have believed that a paperback would lose its popularity to e-books.


Publishing My Upcoming Book as an NFT


My upcoming book talks about modern love relationships. The female protagonist’s life goes

down a spiral as some of the most important lessons in life have come to her in the form of

failed love relationships. The book opens up as she can’t help but recall how she came back

home two years ago, after an incident which took place almost three years ago. In her quest of finding her own fairy tale, she realizes that the white horses, on which the Princes ride, have dark shadows.


Now let me quickly brief you on the steps I am going to follow to put my book up as an NFT.


You can follow the same too.


1. Mint an NFT version of the book. There are sites like opensea.io, cargo.build and

rarible.com that let you mint an NFT using blockchain.

2. Doing a transaction on the blockchain for verification. You can either buy Ether from the

same website or use a crypto wallet like Coinbase, Zebpay, Gemini etc.

3. An NFT consists of the book cover as a digital art and PDF of the book as the hash key.

So make sure you’re ready with both!

4. Once you’re done minting an NFT, you can either sell it for a fixed price or set bidding

for a particular time period.


Now you’re good to sell your book as a limited edition!


Issues with NFT and What Lies Ahead


Digital content can be easily copied. There’s no stopping someone from copying e-books or

stealing music. Yes, digital content can be copied. But where there are torrents, there are also legitimate users. Piracy exists but so do legitimate downloads. Paintings can have multiple copies but there are also owners of the original copies.

NFT can be a great option for artists. Buying an NFT is like buying a special edition copy of the work for your favorite artist. Artists can realize the deserved monetary value for their work and the digital world can aid recognition in the form of forum discussions on a newly released NFT just like the discussions when your favorite author releases a new book or a singer releases a new album. There is scope for a much wider reach. The possibilities are endless.

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