Looking for gamebook authors


#1

Hi,

I’m brand new to this community, and this is my first post on this forum.

I want to create a gamebook app for Mxit (www.mxit.com), and I am consequently looking for gamebook authors to partner with (apparently this is allowed, according to #10 at http://www.choiceofgames.com/forum/discussion/700/new-to-the-choice-of-games-forums-read-this-first).

Here’s some background: Mxit is the largest social network in Africa, boasting around 10 million active users in South Africa (this is 20% of our population). Mxit is very similar to WhatsApp, but it is designed to work on just about any phone, especially feature phones. I believe that the gamebook format is ideally suited for the Mxit demographic, as it is digested an enjoyed quite easily. I also feel that ‘getting people to read’ (hopefully) is an awesome opportunity to uplift my community (a community where literacy is super low). I see gamebooks appearing on Mxit as short, fun and interactive books delivered in instalments (like chapters).

I can provide the distribution, but I need the content. Obviously I can’t look at ‘Choice of Games’ labels, as that license grants Choice of Games exclusive right to publish the work. With ‘Hosted Games’ labels, however, you as a author retain the full IP and publishing rights on your work (essentially meaning that you could publish it on Choice of Games and with me at the same time). Currently Choice of Games provides a 25% royalty. I am willing to give a 35% royalty (from ads and selling instalments of works).

There are a few initial requirements, however:

  • The story needs to be “dumb” - it can’t have any stats or logic. It simply needs to be a collection of texts and links between those texts.
  • The story can’t contain any obscenity or vulgarity (it needs to be suitable for all ages).
  • Due to the nature of the platform, shorter is better. The fewer the amount of sentences between choices.

Would anyone be interested in such a partnership?


#2

Hello and welcome to the forums.

I’ve a few questions, I’ll likely have a few more.

Is there no way for you to include stats and/or logic? All of the games here rely on that to work.

Do games with same-sex relationships count as suitable for all ages in that market?

What sort of price point are you looking to sell the games at?

What sort of support do you plan to give? Will you be providing advertising/marketting?


#3

Hi FairyGodfeather, thanks for the welcome.

That’s fine, please ask away. Also, I’m very open to suggestions and nothing is set in stone.

It’ll be difficult to allow for any logic in the games, since that would mean taking Choice of Games’ technology and duplicating that. I don’t want to do that as it will probably infringe some intellectual property protection rights. Another reason is that I don’t have the capacity to create an entire IF platform. Plus I don’t want to break the Choice of Games guys’ trust by making it seem that I’m here to steal.

Same-sex relationships are suitable.

Mxit users usually pay for virtual goods on Mxit at a few Rands, or even fraction of Rands (one US dollar will buy you about 9 Rands). I would’t charge more than R10 for an instalment (so that’s only about $1). Revenue share is extremely low. But the user base is quite massive, so you can counterbalance lower revenue share with volume.

If you say support, do you mean to the readers (users) or to the authors?


#4

Emilesilvis, have you tried contacting Choice of Games directly?

You have the suggestion of a new market, one that I didn’t even know existed. I know one of the problems with Choice of Games currently is that they don’t cater for many foreign markets. There’s people who want to purchase Choice games, who just can’t.

You have an aim to help encourage literacy, which I think is an absolutely fantastic one. You have the methods and ideas for how to reach that market. Couldn’t you speak to them and make a proposal of some sort and see if they’d be willing to work with you?

I believe they do actually have a system in place for licensing their code. Aha I found the thread. www.choiceofgames.com/forum/discussion/1314/question-about-publishing/ where Jason replies. It’s a 25% of gross receipts to them. It may be worth looking into. Of course on top of that you’d have a cut to the Mxit, I presume, and then a cut to the author, which wouldn’t seem to leave very much for you.

Support to the authors, since you came here looking for authors not for readers. In order to hit that large an audience you’ll need to work on advertising and marketting, I presume. You’ll need to get the games reviewed, and for people to be pointed at it.

Have you done something like this before? Do you sell your own games?


#5

FairyGodfeather, I have (earlier today, just before posting this post). I am still awaiting a reply. I really hope they would want to work with me. That’d be awesome.

Yes, it’s frustrating. For example, I can’t get any of the Choice of Games titles in iTunes (just because I’m in South Africa).

Thank you for that link. That might be a very viable option.

Yes, I will support authors in a variety of ways. As you mention, I will handle all the marketing of the app (and consequently the marketing of their work). I have about ten Mxit apps at the moment (collectively I have a user base of an estimated 200,000 users, all of whom I can reach through cross-promotion in my own apps). Mxit comes with its own advertising platform as well, so I will use that to promote the app. I will obviously also provide authors with revenue statistics (so they know what is due to them), as well as any feedback readers might have regarding a particular work. For game reviews my thinking was to appoint an review panel. In the beginning this will only be myself and a few colleagues, but later this might grow to include external reviewers as well. Any other suggestions from your side?

As mentioned, I have about ten apps on Mxit at the moment, two of which are games. We’re a startup (only been running for about eight months now), but we’re very keen to move into the games and digital publishing spaces.

Thoughts?


#6

Good luck! I hope that they will.

By reviews, I meant sending free copies of the games to sites that review games on MXit and that sort of thing. In order to get them to review and link to the games.

I’ve not actually finished any games of my own yet, hence not offering to write anything. I know that it’s a far more attractive idea to be able to port something over with minimum changes, as opposed to having to do all the work of rewriting and reworking it.


#7

Thanks!

To be honest, I don’t think that there are “sites that review games on Mxit” yet. Mxit only opened up their platform to third party developers late last year.

That’s fine, thanks for all your input so far!


#8

Clearly then there is a gap in the market for a review site.


#9

Clearly this is a good cause your working for. I have a question myself. Would it be using Choicescript format or a different kind of format?

Otherwise I’d actually be glad to do some writing. I tend to write short sweet and to the point anyway so this is exactly my element.


#10

@FairyGodfeather, there might be an opportunity for a Mxit app that does reviews, but not necessarily a website. The average Mxit user does not browse the web, since it costs too much (in terms of airtime) to browse on his phone and he has no access to computer facilities elsewhere.

@spyfox259, that’s what we discussed earlier in this thread as well. I don’t have the capacity to create an IF system that supports ChoiceScript and can run on Mxit. Even if I can get a license to use the Choice of Games system, I’d still have to port it to Mxit (since ChoiceScript relies heavily on JavaScript, and Mxit doesn’t support JavaScript at all for example). While these might be viable options, the low hanging fruit are certainly standalone, text-only stories – so if you are keen to do this shorter, text-only variety of story (while I try to wrap my head around the other options), that’d be great. What are your thoughts? Do you have any existing material? Are you willing to give it a test run?


#11

@Emilesilvis Oh! Of course. I’m sorry I took it for granted and I shouldn’t have.


#12

@Emilesilvis I may have missed it. But what format do you want it in? What length are you limited to for the story. I have a few short stories sitting around collecting dust that I would be willing to use.


#13

@lordirishdas, it needs to be in a “choose your own adventure” / gamebook format, sans any logic (text only). The shorter and less complicated the language, the better. I’m imagining your typical Choose Your Own Adventure story dumbed down in terms of length (fewer sentences between choices) and broken up into several instalments (like chapters).


#14

How many words are you looking for? How long should the game take to play? Are we looking at the same length it would take to read a comic-book? Ten minutes? Thirty minutes? An hour? Any specific themes you’re looking for?


#15

@FairyGodfeather, in terms of duration, my gut tells me anything less than thirty minutes per instalment could work, but I can’t say for certain at the moment until I start collecting some empirical data. I base this gut feel on the fact that most of these guys use Mxit on their commutes to work, tea and lunch breaks, commute back home and then a bit before bed. Short bursts of activity are more common than prolonged stretches. I’d therefore say the shorter, the better. It must , for example, be something that’s easily digestible on my way to work. Of course, we can define “instalment” as separate stories in a broader saga, or instalments can be single chapters of a story, or it can even just be a subset of choices in one chapter. I guess this would partially depend on the rhythm of the prose and also on what works for Mxit (at the moment, thirty minutes or less, but this might be adjusted based on actual data).

In terms of themes: again, based on a gut feel, I’d say the really emotive (as opposed to intellect-based) themes like romance, betrayal, jealousy. I’m not really sure though, I’m not much of a writer myself. Genres that might work well are things like high adventure, horror (everybody likes zombies, right?) or even a bit of soft sci-fi. Again, not too sure. This might become clearer as we test the reaction of the readers. Thoughts?


#16

@emilesilvis Sorry for the particurally late reply but I do happen to have a superhero story in mind. The setting is WW2 and your Jewish put under persecution from the Germans where you discover your ‘power’. Would that be too much? Do people around you have a basic understanding of the Holocaust. If you can give me some sort of format to work with I would be glad to give this story its test run as I only recently gave it a rough outline.


#17

@emilesilvis lol guess I should have gathered that from the title.

Not sure if I can take on another project right now as I know nothing of
“choose your own adventure” other then reading @endmaster stuff. If I get some free time I will see how much work it would to convert over my short stories to it. Then let you know.


#18

@spyfox259, likewise: sorry for the late reply! I do definitely think people have a basic understanding of the Holocaust, and I think a superhero story would be awesome! Check your inbox!

@lordirishdas, thanks, much appreciated! :slight_smile:


#19

How old do you have to be a author


#20

Pretty sure that as long as your parents are happy for you to publish a game, you can publish it at any age. At least one HG author was in high school: