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The wonderful world of publishing text games

one month ago
The latest CoG drama and what happened to Avery made me think about getting a bird's eye view of the entire niche.
There doesn't seem to be a real alternative to CoG when it comes to publishing interactive books. But how come, doesn't Twine exist? The thing CoG has going on for it is being on Google Play. That's how I discovered it - you sit dicking around somewhere, why not check out Choice of Vampire?
Twine only provides you with an engine which is already a lot for free - it doesn't guarantee an audience, and it doesn't publish you.
Meanwhile, the advertisement CoG does for itself benefits HG in an indirect way. I'm not saying HG contracts are a good deal, though - traditional book writers would scoff at these terms.

So what are the alternatives?
-Apps that pay you to host your story and turn it into a VN (visual novel, a book with pictures? Yeah, that's what it is) - I'm sure you noticed them on the AppStore - trashy screenshots, weird advertisements? Little to no control over IP though, I wouldn't know because I've never heard of anyone who worked for these. Which is a red flag, surely the purpose here is to get your name out there?

-Publishing on CYS, which I don't think can be monetized?

-Self-publishing:
The ultimate hard mode, book or interactive book. Having your lil tumblr community super passionate about kissing, gender and making sure nobody says no-no words helps a lot.
Regardless, I've noticed VN sare much more successful in self-publishing. Titles like VA-11, Doki-Doki or Huniepop or Monster Prom are well recognized, mainstream and sell very well.

To not depress anybody who doesn't want to switch to VNs or break a leg on Unity, here are two super popular interactive book titles that are making bigger waves then CoG:

-Superstition by Tierra Wright - a good example of "tumblr actually pays if you can stand it"
-Fenexo Corruption of Champions - I've found out about him from friends and from that one time I went scouting for "Who's the biggest dick (earner) on adult patreon" and he's entirely self-published. I've no idea how the lad started but he surely cultivated a massive following. He panders to furries if that solves the mystery to you but he's also a talented writer in his own right.

So that's roughly where we are in "Will my non-binary asexual dragon book make me any money?"
I know the old scoundrels on this forum already know that I'm posting it more for the benefit of the newer blood - and to fill my own gaps.

The wonderful world of publishing text games

one month ago
Most of the mobile companies like Tales or Choices are cancer and their audience is ADHD spastics or horny Facebook moms, the "writing" such as it is is overshadowed by the art and really just exists to string some barebones story along to convince players to buy currency.

Inform is also just a free program with no built in platform or community, much like Twine. That's got it's own guy writing furry shit for donations too. Being able to trade your dignity for money by writing furry porn is just a given no matter what medium you use, all you need is a Patreon account.

Technically it's possible to have a Patreon or whatnot attached to your CYS account too, but Avery only did that briefly before she had health problems getting in way of her writing and shut it down.
No one else has really made the attempt, probably because most of the authors producing good enough work already have jobs and are just doing it for fun.

I look at the Delight Games guy (Sam Landstrom) as being the ideal for this stuff. He owns his own company, does his own coding and writing, has a great bunch of games and just gives no fucks. Badass last name, too.

And of course there's various other companies publishing IF and hybrids, (the Untold RPG guys come to mind) but they're usually small teams and not looking to for any random writer who wants to whore themselves out.

I'm not sure if monetization is of a huge amount of interest to most people here, it honestly seems like just the thing to drain all joy out of the hobby. But I do still try to keep semi aware of what's out there.

Theoretically getting your own stuff in an online store isn't difficult, it just needs someone who can either code or has enough money to hire someone who can....pages that attach to other pages and tracking a few variables I imagine would be child's play compared to actual interface stuff. But once you open something like that up to other people you run into the legal and business issues that are the real hurdle.

Itch can be used to try and sell your work too of course, but again, marketing and all that is just an entirely different skillset than the actual writing part. Porn and particularly weird niche porn is about the only thing that makes an audience come to you instead of you having to spend all your time seeking them out and begging.

The wonderful world of publishing text games

one month ago
@Nightwatch is working on a browser based IF editor of his own, but again, like with most of the IF making programs out there monetization is not the point, that's up to the authors who want it to sort out.

The wonderful world of publishing text games

one month ago

Honestly I always liked Tinman Games. They're the closest thing to a "successor" to the FF books.

Though seemingly lately they got lazy and instead of continuing to publish their own series with a very fleshed out world/history, they focused mostly on just reissuing the old FF books with a couple updates.

The wonderful world of publishing text games

one month ago

Monetizing interactive fiction, 99% of the time, produces something that is gay as hell in my humble opinion. 

When it's a hobby done by impassioned amateurs it ends up producing something that's just better, in some intangible way 

The wonderful world of publishing text games

one month ago
I don't see an issue with writing IF and monetizing it, but I see that as a very separate thing from writing IF to monetize it. When that's the entire motivation it's going to affect every decision. Maybe it's a dumb distinction because it's really more about personal feelings that are hard to explain. But authors have been writing IF as a hobby for forty years or more with very few thoughts of ever making a sale, and then when profit is suddenly possible and you get all these new people shouldering their way in who never had an interest before, it makes their motivations somewhat questionable.