Paid Work in Interactive Fiction

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July 19th’s meetup of the Oxford/London IF Meetup covered paid work in interactive fiction, at many different levels. I promised to round up links to the major items announced (by me or by other people), and here is that roundup:

Announced in the room:

Christophe Rhodes invited applicants to the IGGI PhD program at Goldsmiths: not exactly the ordinary kind of paid work, but a position with a potential stipend and the possibility to focus on narrative games.

Fusebox Games shared that they’re looking for writers to contribute to their projects. This was an on-site announcement.

Tech Valley Game Space is located in Troy, New York, but is looking for participants in its digital storytelling mentorship space, and conducts a fair number of its activities online, so even those who don’t live nearby would be welcome to get involved. (I had the impression that involvement was not necessarily paid but was being presented as a networking opportunity instead.)

Pay for completed workSub-Q continues to solicit submissions of interactive fiction for publication; Strange Horizons accepts submissions of hypertext works. Both of these are short story markets that pay accordingly.

Competitions. The IF Competition this year has a new fundraising approach to prizes, so that the top 2/3 of participants receive a cash prize of some variety. Intents to enter are now open and must be submitted by September 2017, with the games themselves due at the beginning of October 2017.

We also spoke about several other competitions, including the Future of Storytelling Prize, IGF, and IndieCade — though I should add that I would consider it an extreme long-shot for text-only IF to win FoST or the grand prize at the IGF. But it seemed worth mentioning.

Royalty and Advance Programs. Derek Moody is looking for writers to contribute to Whodunnit Manor, a murder mystery game intended to be played live by not-especially-veteran-gamer participants. In contrast with classic in-the-box mysteries, these serve their clues to players via tablet software, allowing different participants to learn new information in sync and have different perspectives on the same narrative events. He offers a small advance plus royalties against what he estimates as a fortnight’s work — so likely much less remuneration but also much less work than the other two items in this category.

Dan Fabulich spoke about the process of pitching for Choice of Games — an opportunity fairly well known around here, but he shared a couple of other interesting points: Choice of Games currently has a mailing list of ~160K readers to whom they advertise new work. Writing for CoG can take a year or more (sometimes considerably more) depending on the size of the project and the other availability of the author in question, but the program offers payments in the range of $10K; those who accept the larger royalty package often earn more than that.

The Lifeline series has launched an author program in which they’re inviting new pitches, especially from experienced IF authors. Their current line includes some imagery as well as the text they’ve worked with in the past. More details are available on their page about what they’re looking for, but they look for a writing sample in Twine alongside several short story pitches. Lifeline is happy to work with people who are not physically near to their headquarters in Seattle.

JobsLost My Name creates mutable children’s books customized for different purchasers, and is currently listing three producer positions; producer in this context is a bit different from elsewhere in games, and would involve helping create a sensible narrative structure that can afford many different variants and paths. They’d be interested in hearing from experienced IF authors who write for children. More details about the producer roles can be found on their website.

Pixelberry Studios is looking for authors for the Choices series; the position I’ve linked here requires some on-site training time, which might be an impediment for people coming from the UK, but non-UK readers of this blog might be interested.

Other topics of discussion. We also talked a bit about some of the successful recent Kickstarters in the IF space, including Southern Monsters, Alcyone, and Thaumistry; and Olivia Wood (Failbetter Games) and Meg Jayanth (Freelance) were kind enough to talk about their experience moving into paid positions, requirements of those jobs, and related considerations.

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