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Can Books and Films Be Sold As NFTs? 

By April 25, 2021January 24th, 2022One Comment

NFTs are revolutionizing the way we think about art, value, and currency. If you’re an artist this is either very exciting or very scary news, depending on your willingness to let go of old ideas in favor of new, intangible, and often confusing ones. This is the bottom line: NFTs are here to stay, and it’s a good idea to get on board before the train is too crowded. It’s already getting there! 

Last month several multi-million dollar NFT deals made headlines. The universally-respected art auction house Christie’s sold a Beeple NFT to the guy who created them for $69 million, sending the whole thing in motion. Now everyone is buying into the game, and if you’re an artist, you should too.

But what about if you’ve got a story to tell? Why not release it as an NFT rather than the tired old conventional routes that won’t make you any money anyway. That’s what we’re saying! Most of the headline-making NFTs are .jpegs and short videos. Virtually anything that can be digitized can be an NFT. Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, just sold his first tweet as an NFT for a cool three million. I repeat, a Tweet sold for three million dollars. So yes, you can turn pretty much anything into an NFT. Authors can release books as NFTs. Filmmakers can release films as NFTs before hitting streaming platforms. Doing so allows authors and filmmakers to potentially multiply their investment, and continue to collect royalties on the NFT shares sold on the secondary market, in perpetuity. 

The beauty of selling NFTs, from the artists’ standpoint, is that you’re simply inviting a select number of people to support you. You still own the rights to the pieces you sell and you can continue to repurpose them to your liking, forever. The incentive for the buyer is if your career grows so does the value of the NFT they purchased from you. Also, each time an NFT is resold, the artist gets a ten percent cut of the sale. Not a bad deal for either side. 

NFTs explained

Before we go any further let’s talk about what this upsetting technology actually is and why it’s completely changed the way art is sold and bought. By upsetting, I mean this technology has flipped the conventional art world on its head. Now the power is in the hands of the artists to control their own destiny. For the first time in ages, independent artists stand a chance at making a living off their art while cutting out the savage middlemen (aka the suits). 

NFTs are sold on the Ethereum blockchain, which was created expressly to support NFTs and other digital assets. Just as the Bitcoin blockchain was created to support a currency, Ethereum was created to support the buying and selling of unique digital assets. 

What’s the difference between an NFT and a .gif or .jpg?

NFTs are non-fungible tokens, meaning they are units on the blockchain that represent unique digital assets. They are not interchangeable, which means the NFT you buy belongs to only you. It does not exist anywhere else on the internet in that form, because its unique address can be traced directly to the blockchain. It is impossible to forge. Other than that, there is no difference between the NFT that sold for 69 million and the image of the same art piece in a google search.  

If you look up NFTs you’ll see an array of photos that simply look like any other .jpg one could easily copy and paste from a search engine for free. Why would anyone pay for an intangible NFT? How can we explain the exorbitant prices some are fetching? The answer is simple. When you buy an NFT, you’re buying stock in an artist. If you believe in the vision of a particular artist, you can buy their NFT and secure a piece of their future. 

It’s a mutually beneficial system, especially for up-and-comers. Let’s say you buy an NFT for $300. One year later, the artist who created it gets a feature in the New York Times. Next, they’re on all the late-night shows. As the career of said artist begins to take off, the value of their NFTs rises exponentially. Now that artist is a household name and the same $300 NFT can be resold for a million bucks. However, this is an extreme example. Chances are investors won’t make millions on the NFTs they buy, it’s simply another way to invest in crypto with some added benefits. 

Books and films as NFTs

Now we’re getting to the juicy part. Books and films aren’t the first things that come to mind when people think of NFTs. That’s precisely why it’s a great idea to release a written work or film as an NFT before publishing or releasing to the streaming services. As an artist, it’s a way to get paid before putting your work on streaming services for the general public to consume for next to nothing. Since the format is brand new, it’s currently not blown out with every writer and filmmaker trying to sell their next release as an NFT. 

Canonic is a platform that emerged last month as the first marketplace for authors to self-publish books as NFTs. On March 17, 2021, Canonic published their first release on the Bitcoin blockchain, I Know This Sounds Crazy by Kayley Kling.

On March 19th, 2021 the independent film Lotawana became the first-ever feature film to be sold as an NFT. Filmmaker Trevor Hawkins is actually selling the rights to the film. He made 1,000 rights shares available at $1,000 per share. A $100 purchase simply allows investors to view the world premiere of the first-ever NFT film. 

The entire industry will be shifting in this direction sooner than later. While there is a lot of noise in the media right now about the NFT bubble nearing its first burst, the truth is, the game is changed forever. Now every industry that sells things that can be tokenized online will be doing so. The entertainment industry will eventually make the shift to NFTs and it will be big news when it happens. 

Ways to sell your book as an NFT

The platform is as expansive as your imagination, so get creative with it. Here’s a quick brainstorm of ways to sell a book as a limited run NFT:

  • Sell the cover art as an NFT
  • Release the book in chapters sold as NFTs
  • Sell the entire PDF manuscript 
  • Make a book trailer and mint the images

It’s possible to offer a tangible item along with your NFT to incentivize buyers. Maybe a signed copy of the printed book before it goes to mass publication can accompany the sale of the NFT. Whatever you do make sure it’s a rare, limited run to create a need for your NFT and promote it on social media. For example, “NFTs drop tomorrow at 12 PM PST. Only 10 available!” 

Check out this sizzling NFT inspired by Shae Ford’s book series Fate’s Forsaken!

Releasing a film as an NFT

Here the options are truly limitless. If you’re selling a feature film as an NFT you have at least an hour and a half of footage to choose from. Interesting stills, pivotal scenes from the film, the entire film itself, are all fair game. A filmmaker can even sell a PDF of the script as an NFT. The big challenge is narrowing down the choices and selecting a few interesting items to sell as NFTs and making collectors want them. You can:

  • Include memorabilia from the film signed by cast and crew members 
  • Schedule a private screening and dinner for investors who buy your film’s NFTs
  • Give a buyer the shirt off your back with the sale of your NFT. Seriously. Some artists are giving out pieces of their hair with NFT sales! Make it personal. 

Make your money first

By creating NFTs, writers and filmmakers can ensure an income before releasing on conventional services that may or may not generate significant revenue for the artist. Because the streaming services offer only fractions of a crumb each time a film is streamed, the filmmaker can make an income with NFTs and still share their work with the masses later. 

Top NFT exchanges 

Do a little research and check out which exchange is right for the kind of NFTs you want to sell. Here are some of the top sites where NFTs are being sold:

At the end of the day, if your work resonates with people, someone will want to buy the NFT. It’s a bull market and collectors are buying anything and everything that touches them. It’s an investment, and the investors will continue to invest simply for that reason. Even if an artist’s career goes nowhere, the value of their NFTs will continue to fluctuate with the market price of Ethereum. This is the reason for the buying craze! An investor can either simply own Ether for its crypto value, or they can own Ether in the form of an NFT and get a cool piece of art that continues to increase in value as the Ethereum market climbs. 


Patrick Salway is a writer, musician, and actor living in Los Angeles. Follow him on social media @blone_noble and @veneer_publications. Listen to VENEER.

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