When I started writing for Kindle, I remember being told that I was late to the party. That was five years ago. NOW I would be late to the party. The barrier to entry is low if you want to be a digital storyteller, and that’s a good thing! Well, moastly a good thing. It’s been said that somewhere between 80-90% of Americans want to write a book, so it’s great that so many can fulfil their dream. It’s not so great if you are trying to write for a living.
Most people aren’t like Kindle Publishing God, Steve Scott. Most people write one or two books, either for pleasure or to establish themselves as experts in their field. It’s not hard to do if you know how, and it’s a rewarding experience. Sadly, unless it’s part of a larger marketing funnel, you’re unlikely to make a boatload of money as a self-published, unknown author. This is particularly true for fiction. I monitor new books coming into non-fiction and fiction categories on Amazon, and the market saturation is staggering.
NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!
There’s a market that is starving for proficient writing, and it’s a surprisingly similar model to writing eBooks. Yep, the blog title gave it away, it’s mobile development. Wait! Before you click away, hear me out. I’m not talking about going to work for a big game studio and writing for big titles, although that sounds awesome. I’m talking about self-publishing your stories as mobile FIRST experiences. What is mobile first? Glad you asked!
Most people erroneously assume I’m talking about publishing your story as a book for iOS. There’s actually a separate book platform for mobile iOS, although you can publish a game in a ‘book’ category on the iOS store. I know, confusing. But forget about all that and focus on turning your story into something interactive. Interactive fiction is hot. Not sure what I’m talking about? Here are a couple of examples:
Have you ever heard of Gossip Life – The Interactive Episode Story Game? Unless you’re a teen girl, probably not. But it’s downloaded more than 50,0000 times a month on the iOS store, and makes north of 40k per MONTH. Think that’s amazing? That’s nothing compared to the chat stories titles like Hooked that are downloaded 10x as much, with profits to match.
These titles are two examples of what separates a game from a book, participation. Although you don’t choose what happens in Hooked, you still feel like you are part of the story; almost like you’re watching someone’s chat stream. If you can turn your story into an experience, you’ve got a chance to reach millions of new readers/users. And while there are plenty of apps in the app store, there are still opportunities for creative and innovative developers. There are always new platforms being released, like the Apple Watch or Apple TV, both of which are starving for new apps.
THE LEARNING CURVE
Yes, there’s a learning curve if you want to do all of this yourself, but it can be done. I know, because I figured it out. I was a writer first and taught myself development. This gives me an edge over my competition. I still need help, and luckily, I have an amazing partner, but you could do all the work yourself, just like you can publish a book to Kindle by yourself, if you learn the necessary skills. I like to think of life as one big learning opportunity. Sure, it will take time to learn new skills. But you can learn everything you need to know online for free, or inexpensively through platforms like Udemy. I can’t think of a better use of time, but if you don’t want to do it all yourself, you can get help from freelance sites like Upwork.
I hope I’ve given you some things to think about, and maybe even dream about. But don’t just dream, do it! And when you do, let us know.
Our first app, Savage Hills – An Interactive Chat Story, will be released in less than a week.