city of angles vip ponderances

5 07 2012

As I finish up writing sf06 and getting the book put together (not long now; not short either, but not long!) I’m pondering the future of City of Angles. And making some changes to the structure.

Originally the plan was to chop the actual stories up into three tiers:
FREE: Most of the stories. (60% of stories)
VIP CLUB: Some more stories on top of that. (90% of stories)
BOOK: All the stories, ever. (100% of stories)

The thinking was the more content I push behind a pay wall (VIP is only free at the moment!) the more money I’d make, the more of a “professional author” I’d be.

But the problems with this are many. For one, anything behind a paywall can’t have continuity with the series as a whole, or free readers are left confused in later stories. Leaving holes in the plot isn’t fun for anyone. Free readers also have to sit and twiddle their thumbs while I write a VIP story, which sucks for them.

So, here’s my second draft of the concept. Rather than strictly looking at tagging stories as Free, VIP, or Book, it’s a matter of deciding what sort of content goes where…

FREE: All continuity-driven stories, and many side stories. (90%)
VIP CLUB: Additional side stories and shorts which add detail to the world and expand on mysteries, similar to the anachronauts bonus stories. (100%)
BOOK: Compilation releases of all free and VIP stories, plus non-story bonus material such as writer’s commentary, art sketches, and more. (110%)

This is a terrific deal for the readers, because it means the core experience is intact even before they pay a dime. Paying a dime just lets you dig in deeper. There’s no situations where the climax of a particular character arc only happens behind a paywall, but you may get more depth about that character overall if you pay. This worked well for anachronauts, and expanding the concept should work here. I think.

Now, this is the CURRENT plan. Plans are clearly subject to change, and I do value your input on this. You don’t need an account or login of any sort to post feedback to this blog — you can do it anonymously. Let your voice be heard.

What do you think? What would you like to see happen? What matters to you most as a reader? What would you be willing to pay for? Etc. I’ll listen to anything you have to say.

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8 responses

5 07 2012
Shaun Kronenfeld (@bigred_13)

That sounds like a very reasonable and workable plan to me. Not unlike what comics like Sluggy Freelance have done for years for example and its worked well enough for them.

5 07 2012
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Webcomics have a good working model; the content is free, but the trimmings and the deep fan material isn’t. It worked well for anachronauts and this time I wanted to expand on it a bit, to add a subscription model too so you didn’t even need an ebook reader or buying a premium paper copy. (Even if it’s a one-time fee type subscription.)

5 07 2012
gCrusher

I think the revised idea is better. For Anachronauts, I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything story-wise although I’ve been too broke to float monies your way. Of course I’d like to see more, but am completely understanding that your time, effort, and additional content deserves some coin.

5 07 2012
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

That was my primary concern — if I took the original tack, then the resolution of the Bedlam storyline would be in the book only. Which makes sense from a “MAKIN’ MONEY!” perspective but I think it hurts the actual story, since only a select few readers will be able to enjoy it. That’s an old school philosophy and I want to find new schools.

5 07 2012
bob913sandwich

One other thing to play with besides accessibility is time, e.g. people who pay see the content sooner.

A bit of canon that’s book-exclusive for a bit wouldn’t confuse folks as long as it was on the free side before dependent bits come along.

5 07 2012
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

The difficulty with that is that I don’t have the technology to make a VIP-only forum for feedback on drafts in progress. It’d have to be done in my blog, which means spoilers would abound.

Granted, I could proceed with it anyway, but also that means less eyes on the work and less feedback during its formative process. Would that hurt the work? The feedback is an important part, after all.

8 07 2012
Jeremy Jinkerson

The updated version makes the work much more accessible for free readers and still offers value at the book level.

8 07 2012
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Good, good. I was concerned by not offering exclusive fiction in the books they’d be unappealing.

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