Originally Posted by nguirado
Why is that?
Firstly, the supply and demand model of economics relies heavily on scarcity of resources, electronic texts are not scarce (even with DRM applied). You can't build solid economic models of business on what is essentially free.
Second, we have a societal shift towards 'free' at every level. Where you might expect the majority of readers now to pay for a product, you can't expect this behaviour to carry forward with younger generations who are coming to maturity in a 'free' system. And you do not want to build a business model, going forward, on the small blip we're experiencing now.
Thirdly, the 'market' will become saturated as more and more people find that peculiar joy of writing a story (which can only be good for the greater culture). For every 'professional' who offers her work at discounted prices, there will be hundreds and thousands more 'amateurs' who are just as good as the professional, but who offer their work free, gratis and with licenses that grant every single kind of freedom that you could ever want (remixing, even selling the work if it isn't yours).
So what are you left with? The joy of creating, of course, and that's your payment to begin with. Just as a carpenter might craft a particularly fine chair or a table on a whim, so the writer must take her story, or novel or poem and find in its creation the same joy, the same worth. And then? Then you have access to the largest, most knowledge hungry audience ever to have existed. Then you might be read. Read. Not just bought like a box of Kellogs Cornflakes on the supermarket shelf, but read. And if you're really lucky, you'll be shared by those people who like your work. And then if you're double, triple, quadruple lucky, a community of people who like your work will form and offer to support your endeavours (this will happen to a micro percentage of writers).
What's most important is that we've finally wrestled control away from the people who would own our every thought and try to profit from those thoughts of ours. Those people never really cared for art or poetry or individual expression, as writers we were nothing more than product to them. But the world has changed. Everyone is a poet now, everyone is an author and a musician and a singer. And that's just the way it should be.
EDIT: Oh, and let me just add that if you do want to make money right here and right now, the only way I see as possibly working is using the old pulp model. Write fast, write a lot, write it under pseudonyms and pump it out there. If you can get ten to fifteen books out a year, you'll be making a fair packet, enough maybe to see you through when the whole thing stops working. But you have to give up all notions of individual expression or artistic integrity. You have to treat it just like you would selling widgets. Study what is selling, look at the numbers, write something similar and simple, very simple with a paired down writing style and quick, very quick chapters.