Regarding royalties from Hosted Games


I have a simple question, though I’m unsure if authors are allowed to speak about it. If not, no worries. Currently, I’m faced with two options.

  1. Write and self-publish non-interactive stories on Amazon, where I hope I make a few sales and get noticed, even though it’s doubtful. It’s basically the equivalent of being struck by lightening if you want to get noticed.

  2. Take advantage of the Hosted Games label and the already present audience. I could possibly try for Choice of Games, but I like the freedom to choose what I write and what Choice of Games want may not be something I myself want to write.

This leads me to my question if people are actually allowed to discuss royalties. How often do you tend to receive them and are they decent? And by decent, I’m fully aware that you’re not rolling in dough. That you probably aren’t making enough money to live off. But it’s just something to get me started really, so I can say I’ve got an income coming in, no matter how small it might be. It gives me something to work with, plus with more work available, the income would likely grow.

Provided I hit the right story, which is difficult these days for me as I’m not happy with much of what I write, I could probably get a high quality story written within a few months.

PS: If I do go with the Hosted Games option, I probably won’t continue with the story I started here on the off-chance people remember it. I highly doubt people do. To be frank, I made a mess of it and showed it way too early.


I believe royalties are quoted at 25% of gross income, but I’ve never published a hosted game (yet) so that may be wrong.


Yeah, I believe they are. I’m just wanting to know how frequently the royalites tend to be paid out on average and if they’re ‘okay’. Roughly, of course. I don’t expect exact numbers or anything like that.


Bear in mind it is 25% of what CoG receive, a big chunk is taken by Apple/android/amazon etc. So you don’t get for example 25% of $1.99 every time you sell one.

My game (Divided We Fall) has done ok, it was released about 9 months ago and I’d say in total I’ve received about $600, very roughly. I am from the UK, so have to convert it to £ etc so that’s a very loose figure.
You get royalties around the beginning of each month, and after the initial burst of sales when it is released (which for me was around $300-$400), I’ve been getting around $15-$30 each month. So pocket money really.

There are some very successful games like Zombie Exodus with 100,000’s of downloads which obviously make a lot more. But, and I’m not being negative here, just realistic, releasing a Hosted Game or two is pretty unlikely to make you enough money to live off.

But don’t let that put you off! I didn’t really do it for the money, but to actually be able to write something and get it published. It’s great also to have the existing audience and community for COG to guarantee that your work will read and (hopefully) enjoyed!


Appreciate the answer, Alex. So, you get a regular income, even if it’s only ‘pocket money’, provided you’ve had sales for the month? It’s not a case of ‘needing to wait until you’ve accrued so much in royalties before you get paid’. That helps if that’s so.

And yeah, I’m totally aware that the income is likely not enough to live off, even if you hit it big. Same deal in print publishing, unfortunately, though there are the advances to fall back on. It’s just that, currently, my situation is put a story up on Amazon and likely get no sales. Or take a chance on Hosted Games and likely get some sales due to the existing fanbase, even if the income is not a lot at all.

Getting royalties, as long as there are a few sales, does help make my choice for me, I think. I wasn’t sure if you needed to hit $100 dollars or something like that before being paid, which of course may never be hit. And I’m from the UK too.


Yeah, I know it says on the website that you have to wait for $100 but that has never been the case for me, it’s always been every month and there has never been a month where there are no sales at all. Although this month’s payment has still not come in…
I can’t speak from experience here but I would definitely think you’d make more with Hosted Games than amazon self-publishing, given the sizeable fanbase COG has, unless of course you’re very lucky and become an amazon success as you mention.


That’s good about there not being a month without sales and being paid as long as you have a few sales. Or well, I assume the last payment is just late and that you’ll get it. I’m sure you will.

Myself, had around . . . 13 sales on Amazon with the two shorts I published over a year ago, so yeah . . . :wink: I don’t know if I fancy all the self-promotion again when it’s likely it won’t pay off. Most of those sales were from writers I knew on another forum. Granted, them being shorts probably had something to do with so few sales.


It’s going to be really hard for anybody to give a ballpark figure, just because how much people are earning is likely to vary considerably.

I would strongly suspect you’d be better off on CoG than Amazon.

As you say, there’s already a core community here, who act as your potential audience. So you don’t have to build interest from scratch. Furthermore, they’re specifically here for IF and discuss IF with each other. Which, again, is really useful from your perspective. However, to break out beyond this, you’re going to run into this issue:

That’s a really common attitude among authors. Many are unwilling to run a serious PR campaign and those that are aren’t always that skilled at it. Even on basic stuff like knowing how to write a solid press release or form a coherent social media strategy.

Which is entirely reasonable. You’re an author, not a PR flack. And the two require very different interests and skills.

But it obviously does make things more difficult. Which is why authors in the dead tree industry frequently have agents and even PR firms to do a lot of the legwork for them.


Agreed. Things are trickier in my case as well, as I really am not a social guy and don’t have many friends to help get the word out. When it comes to paying sites to run promotions, I’m out of luck there as well.


I’d advise caution there even if you could afford to. In many cases, I’m unconvinced that they’re worth it. Paid promotions don’t necessarily translate into extra sales so they can leave you out of the pocket. And at least some promotions tend towards the astroturfing end of the spectrum. Paying for Twitter followers etc. And even if that gives you an initial boost, it’s my view that it invariably backfires sooner or later. People don’t like feeling like they’ve been played.

What I’d consider looking at instead if I was you is whether there are prominent bloggers who might be interested in reviewing a copy of your work. That’s a much more upfront way of doing things and it can pay dividends.

My standard recommendation for this kind of subject is Crowd-Sourcing PR: An Impractical Guide by Simon Indelicate. Not all of it will be relevant because it’s music focused, but some of it still should be useful. It’s also witty, which you can’t say about many PR guides.

(If people like that guide, they should chuck a bit of money on an Indelicates album if they can afford it. They’re very good. Neil Gaiman says so and he’s Neil Gaiman. Also, you see how this works? I like The Indelicates, so I promote their music in a random post about PR. That’s what a lot of this kind of thing boils down to).


It depends on the game really when it comes to how much you get. Unnatural has been getting me roughly £150 a month. Some times it has made a bit more sometimes a bit less.


So, contractually, we’re only required to pay out sums > $100, but I made a mistake years ago by paying out anything over $10, and just never bothered to correct the behavior.


Does CoG mind authors giving out detailed information regarding their royalty payments? I mentioned an average figure earlier to avoid getting detailed.


Fine by me.