People that buy art are investing in something

It is a common thing for an artist to hear this phrase when someone buys their art (especially in the early days and from friends and family)

"You never know what this will be worth someday" OR "Make sure you sign it, it will be worth more when you're famous one day..."

It can be frustrating for the artist as they're mainly concerned with validation, IE, if you like it, just simply appreciate it for what it is now and not some future perceived value.

However, this highlights that art is about storytelling. When someone buys art, they want and need an accompanying story to go with it. Most often that story is that the art says something about them. Sometimes the story is that the art says something about the world as in it validates their worldview, and then there's the story about value. Why buy and hang a piece of art if it's not going to increase in perceived value? The alternative is that it fades in importance or maybe just as bad, stagnates, and becomes stale.

Another aspect of this that recently has come to mind from the popularity/craze of NFTs is the idea that people are investing in you and want a return. I don't think that is limited to cash, people want to say they knew about this artist or movement/idea before others, or they have the first edition, etc. I think this is why the basic idea of NFTs has felt like such a sticky idea.

To me, NFTs feel like immature technology that does more harm than good. It's not that I don't understand them, It's that they are one of those new technologies that are a solution looking for a problem.

There are other ways that artists could explore selling digital art that doesn't require the blockchain and pyramid schemes.

Here are some possible ideas.

  1. Early editions of an ebook have some sort of marker to them
    1. a. Digital stamp
    2. b. A special page
    3. c. A link to a secret page
  2. Early purchasers receive a bonus email with
    1. a. A special attachment (certificate, drawing, etc)
    2. b. A letter of thanks
  3. First 100 backers receive a mention in the second edition
    1. a. draw a mini thank you portrait
    2. b. Mention their name
  4. Offer pre-orders at a special price
    1. a. Offer different tiers (gold, silver, bronze)
  5. Offer beta readers an inside look, I.E., Free ARC copy for an honest review


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