The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
The Inclusiveness -- or is it Self-disrespect? -- of Free Access
Earlier this week, I had the following exchange:
"What inhibits you from determining the market value of your art?"
"I’ve never really tried to sell it [just accepted the rate I was paid for four "Michigan Daily" articles; an "Inside Chicago" magazine freelance piece; and a review on an anthology of lesbian plays for the "Lambda Book Report"] and I don’t know what I ought to expect. Also, something in me feels that it’s great to serve people my thoughts for free – that all should have access."
When I told a musician friend about the exchange, he said, "Sure, I have some of my songs on Myspace, but I also have no trouble spending money on a CD, whether new or used, for music I like, and I appreciate people, spending money to buy my music, too."
I was reminded of a bit of a painful e-mail message I received a couple of Mays ago from an artist whose work I reviewed informally on my blog. He wrote to me in an annoyed tone: Why waste my time, blogging? With my talent, he wrote, why not write a real book? He meant to be complimentary and the question has haunted me.
Blogging feels like a miracle to me: a free forum, where I can reach anyone in the world who has computer access -- and even those without computer access can access my blog, if they can get to a public library; I recognize that that's not everyone, but it's potentially still a substantial number of humanity.
Writing a book and having a reputable publisher publish it feels like a miracle, too: a publisher that values my writing enough to want to sponsor my publication enables me likewise potentially to reach anyone with public library access.
What would the topic be? A graphic memoir? A book on how to be an inclusive leader? A guide to thinking creatively while swimming? All-time best songs for disco-rollerskating, including commentary? How to reconcile one's homosexuality with being Jewish? Helping leaders become better leaders through Web 2.0 tools? How to get through grad school after 40?....What could I write that no one else could, and that anyone would consider being book-worthy? Suggestions are welcome!