Hello Episode Community!
A couple of weeks ago we shared our ideas on how we wanted to introduce gem choices to our community with the goal of better supporting authors while making sure readers had a good experience. We read your comments about the specific ideas we had and they indicated we were off to a good start. While there is still more work to do and feedback to incorporate in the future, we’re ready to start rolling gem choices out as an optional feature (like text effects, weather or overlays) to ALL Episode Authors later today!
Similarly to the slow rollout we’ve done with authors, today we’re starting by giving 15% of readers these gem choices in the app and will increase it over time. This means the features under the Readers heading will be slowly released over the next several weeks. For authors, regardless of whether a reader sees the gem choice or not, it will still count towards your gem choice chapter reads (more on this in a bit).
While we were building and testing this feature, authors were using a hacky version of a piece of Episode Official donacode - for the launch of community gem choices to all our authors we’ve created a new donacode command which includes a unique color for these choices - silver!
Below is the list of the features we’re releasing today:
More authors will be able to enter the payments program.
We’ve heard that making it into the Writer Payments program is really hard and that it’s a goal for many of you. We are making it easier to enter the Writer Payments program! You will still need to be 18 to enroll, but starting today, writers will be able to enter the payments program by either earning 500k general chapter reads or 100K gem chapter reads in 60 days. To clarify, gem choice chapter reads also count towards your general chapter reads.
Authors will be eligible for a bonus Writer Payment on their gem choice stories
Authors in the payments program who decide to use gem choices will have the potential to earn more for their stories with gem choices. In order to qualify for the bonus payment, stories will need to have a gem choice in each of the first 10 chapters. If the story is less than 10 chapters, it will need to have a gem choice in each of those chapters.
For now, authors who meet the above criteria will be eligible to receive a 25% bonus for gem chapter reads on top of their regular Writer Payment. Please note that this is temporary while we work on building out some of the tech around these new chapter reads and payments and that this will likely change in the future.
UPDATE: If you are an author and are testing your gem choices in the app it will deduct gems. If this happens to you, please contact support so we can help you. We are working on fixing this asap. In the meantime we recommend that you test your gem choices in Web Previewer.
The above features were designed to support authors. We wanted to make sure readers were taken care of too so we’ve designed some perks and protections with them in mind.
More ways to earn gems!
Starting today most players will get Reader Rewards which now grant gems in addition to passes. Choice of the Day is still in the works, but needs more testing.
Limited number of gem choices in each chapter.
Everyone was worried there might be too many gem choices in community stories. To that end, we are limiting the number of gem choices in community stories to 2 per chapter. Hopefully readers will feel more comfortable and authors don’t feel too much pressure to add a ton of gem choices.
Gem choices in User Stories will have automatic pricing.
The community was worried that prices for gem choices would be too high so in community authored stories these choices will have prices set automatically. For now, prices will be capped at 10 gems or less. During the rollout phase a small number of you (2.5%) will see these prices as 15 gems, you will also not see the tiered gem choices described below.
While a User Story with gem choices is a ‘hidden gem’ the choices will be even cheaper. If a story has less than 10k reads, gem choices will be only 2 gems. When a story has between 10k and 100k reads, gem choices will be 5 gems. Once a story gets over 100k reads, gem choices will be 10 gems. We don’t want gem choices to discourage readers from enjoying great new stories and we recognize that for authors there may be a bit of a learning curve in writing them.
The first Gem choice encountered in every community authored story will be FREE
Many players have strong feelings about gems choices and are worried about the quality of choices you might encounter. We’ve made the first gem choice encountered in any Community Author’s story automatically FREE. This gives readers a chance to sample an author’s work and gives authors the opportunity to prove their choice writing skills. Again, a small number of you (2.5%) will not see this for a limited period of time.
Ability to report gem choices and have them reviewed by Episode.
As a reminder, reporting a story or choice means it will be reviewed, it does not guarantee it will be removed. We’ve expanded our in-app reporting tool to allow readers to flag choices that appear to be low quality. Players can also report choices to our support desk. Some reasons to report choices might be: it’s not in line with Episode’s Content Guidelines; it requires you to pay to continue the story; it does not deliver meaningful content. We will be monitoring reported choices and listening closely to reader feedback.
Ability to request refunds for gem choices that are low quality.
While this feature is new, we are fine tuning it and developing gem choice content standards. During this time we will be lenient about players requesting choice refunds from our Support Team.
As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments below.
The Episode Team