NFTs continue to captivate the minds of technologists, artists, and entrepreneurs. Nowhere is this multidisciplinary appeal more evident than in the recent work of former Facebook Creative Strategist Andy Blood. His new book, Full Bleed, is about the bleeding edge of creative technology and will appropriately be released as an NFT along with its publishing rights.
Andy recently shared that he has decided to mint his book via Litho, an NFT aggregator, minter, and marketplace developed by the Auckland-based blockchain network CENNZnet. We sat down with him to learn more about this, his book, his plans, and his views on the space in general.
1) Why are you publishing your book as a Non-Fungible Token (NFT)?
I’ve always operated at the bleeding edge. And right now, NFTs, and ‘the metaverse’ are the bleeding edge. Therefore, it’s beholden upon me to explore these things.
There are also a few supporting reasons which probably deserve further explanation:
1) The last chapter of Full Bleed tells the story of the Lena Soderberg Playboy NFT ‘One Satoshi’ – Playboy’s most expensive NFT (by a long mile) – and my small part in that story. So it’s fitting that NFTs form part of my unfolding story too. I’m fascinated by the blockchain (AKA ‘the truth machine’ as some people call it) and the role of NFTs in authentication and ownership of art (and artefacts) in ‘the metaverse’.
2) I was fortunate to be at Facebook as it began its pivot toward becoming ‘the metaverse company’ and key to that vision was propelling the creator economy to furnish all aspects of the metaverse with ideas. I see NFTs as being much more than ‘Million-dollar gifs and jpegs’. I see the ability to transform and disrupt payments systems, business models, and to provide fuel for the creator economy. The collision of all these things set my path.
3) Red Kiddo (the artist I collaborate with) and I took part in the Damien Hirst ‘Currency’ NFT in July this year. And it’s considered one of the best explanations of NFTs as it forces participants to choose whether the Hirst art they’ve purchased will live in the real world or the metaverse – you can’t (in this instance) have both.
Therefore, in launching my book, all these ideas collided and the idea of transforming publishing and disrupting its model became an interesting thing to play with. Not just to talk about.
So at launch – and exclusive to Litho – my book was made available in three Metaversions: the master edition, an edited edition, and a black swan edition. I decided that purchase of these NFTs would also confer the right to publish to the owner. Purchase being sight unseen. Though the contents pages were published for all to see. The auction will close on August 28th, by which time Kindle and paperback editions will be available globally.
The book also received a final draft so that its 44, 000 words now also contain the 12 word seed phrase of a digital wallet. The wallet’s address will be made public soon, and anyone willing and able to parse the book’s contents is free to try and open it.
2) How is NFT publishing better than traditional paper publishing or publishing through Amazon?
It gave me greater agency, and independence over my actions. More opportunity to play with the form and subvert the medium.
Minting NFTs allowed me to test the boundaries of how we publish and consume content, raising the question: is this a book, an artefact, or a publishing deal?
The answer to that question could be either: a ridiculously expensive book, a ludicrously cheap publishing deal, or nothing at all.
Also, NFTs protect authors’ rights better than traditional publishing and authors can make more money from minted books.
3) Why do authors need minted books?
I think people will begin to understand why non-fungible digital authentication is important. The early years of the internet, combined with digital reproduction lowering the cost of reproduction to practically zero, gave rise to the idea that all content was ‘free’. Now, that content can have a price, it means that creators can get paid. That means the creative sector will flourish.
4) Why did you choose Litho and CENNZnet to mint Full Bleed?
Serendipity. I reached out to Nicole at Centrality.ai at just the right time. Nicole understood my ideas, and for a change, Nicole (and her team) met someone who understood hers.
They do say ‘Of all the fortunes, timing is the most important’ and in this instance, our timelines were exactly the same. I would like to say however, that having dabbled in crypto and NFTs and having realised how complicated the scene was, working with people who wanted to demystify and democratize the space for all Kiwis was very attractive. Inspiring everyone to be more creative in whatever their chosen form, is crucial to my psyche.
5) What is Full Bleed about?
‘Full Bleed’ consists of ‘Remarkable stories and hard-won lessons from the coalface of creativity and the bleeding edge of advertising and technology.’ Creativity as Blood’s sport.
Full Bleed is one of the more diverse collections of writing put together to examine the subject of creativity, and the phenomena of ideas. How to have them. What to do with them. What makes them and what breaks them. Written from the standpoint of someone with a three-decade career in having them on demand, on a daily basis, for the world’s most demanding businesses. A career that encompasses the advertising industry, and Silicon Valley. And every conceivable media. It distils the learnings of a 30-year career into 260 pages. And its 70 chapters (and 11 black swan events) cover writing, storytelling, strategy, ideation, and execution. Philosophical observation, and practical application. Insightful, entertaining, and often subversive. Blood’s gems are presented unpolished, and uncut (but with some dangerously sharp edges).
6) What is a ‘Metaversion’ and how are metaversions different from each other?
This is a world first Book-As-NFT project. A ‘Metaversion’ is a book made available via NFTs in a metaverse-first way. Which means this form taking priority over other forms of the book being made available. It is a 1 of 1 edition specifically designed to be collectible: unique cover, complete with publishing rights, with ownership validated on a distributed blockchain ledger. Not available in this form anywhere else.
The Master Edition AKA Metaversion #1 is the full 70 chapter + 11 story edition of Full Bleed.
Metaversion #2 is the 70 chapter edition of Full Bleed. These 70 chapters have one focus: creativity. In all its forms.
Metaversion #3 AKA The Black Swan edition is the 11 story edition of Full Bleed. (These are its most unexpected stories.) I’m very influenced by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and his idea of The Black Swan being the unforeseeable event. I return to the theme again and again throughout the book, and believe the black swan event is critical to creativity. The ability to ‘hunt black swans’ sounds paradoxical, but it is necessary.
7) How will you publicize Full Bleed to your fans?
By using all the principles I learnt at Facebook, and in my previous 25 years in the business. A combination of word of mouth/word of mouse, PR, paid, and earned. Mobile-first advertising, online video, and out of home advertising.
Chapter 67 of the book is titled: ‘If you’re campaign doesn’t contain a black swan event, you’ll be paying for all your media.’ Well, a world first Book-As-NFT project is a black swan event. No one predicted it, and so far it’s worked. That we then created ‘The Martyrdom of Cygnus Atratus’ as an artwork allegory of the black swan being hunted, astonished even me and was a clear case of out-foxing the black swan event. Minted as a series of NFTs, this subject has been extremely popular.
Nothing I’ve written about above would’ve been foreseeable 6 months ago, which gives me great confidence that the material and topics covered in it will be very popular.
Now I have to concentrate on distribution and advertising to get the more traditional copies in as many hands as possible.
8) How can your fans find Full Bleed and buy it?
Kindle and paperback editions will be available globally via Amazon the day the NFT auction closes.
Going forward, I’d expect to be using Instagram Shops for direct purchase from @thebloodster
In the near future, I’d like to do translations for Asia. And be available in good bookshops across APAC.
However, people in Grey Lynn – my ‘hood – might well be able to get an advance copy of the paperback in “Dear Reader” (436 Richmond Road) this weekend.