The $64,000 question
People often ask me the following question, “If publishing stories on Ourboox.com is free, and reading them is free, how are writers and illustrators ever going to make any money?” The answer is a bit complicated. At present very few writers and illustrators in the world make money at all, and most of us spend thousands of dollars self-publishing, whether paper books, or e-books. So, just by being able to publish material for free, have search engines promote it, and share it with the world, you are miles ahead when you use our platform. Secondly, there are now new initiatives such as patreon.com in which patrons reward content creators for writing, illustrating, making videos, etc. So in other words, you would join such a website, write that you write and illustrate and share for free, and ask donors to give you a small amount of money every time you publish a book. In the future, we hope to be able to offer our best writers and illustrators payment, but for that to happen we will have to have a revenue stream ourselves. So far Ourboox.com has been totally funded by my wife and I, and we continue to do so out of belief in what we are doing: trying to make book creating, sharing and reading easy and accessible for the whole world. For example, imagine a world in which your school books are free on Ourboox (not to mention college texts). Imagine a world in which you write a story and someone you don’t even know illustrates it (this is already beginning to happen). Imagine a world in which children in one country write stories and children in another country illustrate them. This is what we are aiming for. The road is long but we are persistent.
Canva to the Rescue
The great people behind canva.com deserves international recognition. This website allows anybody (even me) to design a book cover for one dollar, or even for free. You choose the background, the text, the graphics and it almost magically becomes a work of art. Now, this may not work for Random House, where they can still pay $1000 or more for a book cover design, but it sure does work for Ourboox where we are trying to make the experience of writing, creating, publishing and sharing books both free and easy. So if you are creating a book now and are stuck regarding the cover, give canva.com a try. And if you are super stuck, you can always contact one of the illustrators in our community, who may be able and willing to help for next to nothing. Thanks to Keren Dobkovsky for the heads-up on this amazing, dirt-cheap tool.
Giving and Receiving
One of Ran and my dreams when developing Ourboox was a community in which people join to create books together. I write, you draw. I keep the copyright on the story, you on the illustrations. We already have several books in which writers and illustrators have teamed up in this manner (including books of mine in collaboration with Rotem Omri and Harriet Goitein). So, in this (and other) contexts, “The Early Bird” is special. Professional illustrator Yael Radushkevitz saw the story at an Ourboox.com get together. She worked hard for months coming up with almost twenty beautiful, detailed illustrations, knowing full well that this was a collaboration that she was a partner in, yet would receive no immediate remuneration. This is the spirit that we are trying to develop. So if you are a writer in need of an illustrator, or an illustrator looking for something amazing to work on in collaboration, please let us know, We’ll be delighted to match you up!