When we talk to them, many authors mention dreaming of spending more time writing (even full-time) for Episode and wish it was easier to get into Writer Payments. One of the paths we have been exploring to help meet these requests is giving more creators the option to use gem choices in their stories.
Our plan is to enable authors who choose to use gem choices to earn a bonus on top of their Writer Payments, qualify for Writer Payments sooner, and have additional potential opportunities to be featured when readers really love their choices. We hope these additional opportunities and higher compensation will enable authors to spend more time writing on Episode. Already, we’ve been able to identify 5 authors doing so well that our editorial team has started working with them to potentially promote and feature their stories. An additional 50+ authors have received bonus payments!
We are in the middle of our second round of gem choices testing with community authors and have learned a lot. We’ve heard a lot valid concerns raised by our readers on phone calls, Instagram and the forums. Some of the more common worries are:
- Authors might abuse gem choices by adding too many choices in each chapter.
- Authors might make choices too expensive.
- Choices might be low quality, poorly written or not worth it.
- Authors will be forced to include gem choices.
- There aren’t enough ways to get free gems.
Based on what you’ve shared with us, we’ve been thinking a lot about how to make community authored gem choices work for both readers and authors. Here are some of the ideas we have been brainstorming to help address the shared concerns when the feature initially launches:
- Capping these gem choices to a max of 2 per chapter.
- Capping their prices at 15 gems or less.
- Giving newer or undiscovered stories with smaller number of reads even lower gem costs. Gem choices would potentially range between 2-15 gems.
- Having the first gem choice in every community story be free so readers can ‘sample’ an author’s gem choices without spending gems.
- Updating the in-app story reporting tool to allow readers to report a bad or low quality gem choice. Reporting a story or choice flags it for review. Our review team would get some new tools to more closely monitor reported gem choices and stories.
- Offering refunds (via messages to Support) for reported choices that are low quality.
- Gem choices would be an optional feature (like text effects, weather or overlays) that authors can use or not use as they choose.
- Adding new ways to earn free gems. Besides gems you can earn by reading Episode featured ‘E’ stories, we are also currently testing 2 new ways for players to earn gems:
- Earning a gem every day just for logging in through Choice of the Day
- Reader Rewards that give gems in addition to passes.
Our goal is to more widely introduce gem choices in the first half of this year and we want to make sure to incorporate your feedback. Over the next two weeks, please comment below or send a message to our support team to share your thoughts on the ideas above or any new ones you may have.
The Episode Team