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Will Wattpad put Fantasy Periodicals out of Business?

 Fantasy Periodicals come in a variety of formats:

  • Fantasy Journals
  • Fantasy Magazines
  • Online eZines
  • Themed Anthologies

And then there are the ones that publish fantasy, horror, sci fi and speculative fiction. So you don't to choose "Just Fantasy" if you want to read short stories, novellas and flash fiction from any of those genres. Steam Punk? Steam Punk Fantasy? There's a journal for that.

Below is a list of publishers just for Flash Fiction... The document is organized by which publishers pay the most for Flash Fiction, down to those publishers who just provide a token copy, or is completely unpaid. For writers there is also the matter of word count limits, the typical response times, and whether they allow simultaneous submissions to other periodicals.



There are other categories too. Fantasy Periodicals that publish mostly short stories, and others which also publish novelettes and novellas. So length is another factor for distinguishing between the different periodicals. Whether they actually pay the writer is a completely different topic.

There is one important factor however... It is very difficult for fantasy periodicals to make a profit and be viable commercially. Most of them have readerships in the low thousands.

And then there is fantasy pulp fiction (40,000 to 60,000) words... A short novel effectively.

Herein lies the issue for writers who write pulp fiction. They want to get PAID, ideally at least semi pro (0.01 per word) or pro rate (0.06 per word) for their writing.

If they're writing a 50,000 words short novel then they are expecting to sell the 1-year publishing rights for that pulp fiction novel for $500 to $3000, or more, and their goal is to sell to a fantasy periodical who buys such stories...

Why just the periodical industry?

Because the regular book publishing industry these days gravitates away from publishing short novels, preferring books to be in the 90,000 to 120,000 range. With the exception of YA (Young Adult) fantasy fiction they don't see any benefit to buying and selling books that fall into the pulp fiction range.

Enter online publisher Wattpad, a website/app where readers can read books for free - or buy access to premium books for a price.

Essentially it works a bit like self publishing via Amazon, which is also an option frequently explored by writers who write short stories and novellas.

Wattpad provides free content to over 85 million readers via amateur writers (and professional writers like Margaret Atwood and others who use Wattpad to help market their writing) and consequently there is a huge readership base. People can grow their popularity on Wattpad, and then spin that into book sales on Amazon and in traditional book stores.

At present however there are a few tricks to this...

#1. In order to sell your books on Wattpad (instead of just free) you need to qualify for Wattpad Star status, which means you need to first write at least two finished novels that are over 50k each.

#2. You need to get popular on Wattpad. Easier said than done, although there are guides on How To Get Popular On Wattpad.

#3. Wattpad hasn't yet figured out how to properly monetize short stories. If it is a novel, sure, you can sell it in the Paid Stories categories. They did at one point try giving writers a share of ad revenue, but this plan apparently didn't work properly and was later scrapped in favour of the Premium/Paid Stories system they currently use.

So should you just skip the periodicals industry completely?

Well, hold on a second, because there might be a solution...

Why not do ALL THREE?

Step One, Submit Your Story To Periodicals

Go the normal route and try to get your story into periodicals. Possibly get published and get paid.

Step Two, Self Publish

Publish and sell your work on Amazon and similar self publishing platforms.

Step Three, Wattpad

Put free samples of your writing - especially your shorter bits of fiction - on Wattpad, plus two works that are over 50k in order to try and get Wattpad Star status.

This three step approach means you get the best of all three systems of revenue. It is more work, but it also means your writing is being exposed to a much larger audience of people - and it means you ultimately get paid more and have a greater chance of becoming successful as a writer.

It is also a system I am putting to the test myself, with my own writing. You can find samples of my writing (both short stories and longer works) on Wattpad at wattpad.com/user/CharlesMoffat. My goal during 2021 is to see how many periodicals I can get my fantasy writing into. I have already been publishing nonfiction in magazines for years, so I am overdue to publish fiction writing too.

Now you can follow the steps in order, or you can do a different order or tweak the steps to suit your needs. There is no rules that you have to do everything in that order. However there is a benefit to that particular order, because some periodicals refuse to publish anything that was published elsewhere first (including Amazon and Wattpad). Thus there is a good argument for trying to publish in periodicals first, before publishing in Amazon and Wattpad.

Maybe someday Wattpad will put Fantasy Periodicals out of Business?

Maybe.

Maybe someday.

If they can figure out how to properly monetize short stories, novelettes and novellas.

It could be that they might monetize them in the same way they already monetize novels on their website, and they might simply lower the word count requirements for Premium/Paid Stories.

Or maybe they will figure out a different way of monetizing short stories, like possibly a tiered payment system similar to semi pro and pro rate.

They could even get into the business of buying stories from professional writers, including reprints which is another important factor.

Usually when a writer sells a short story or novella it is the first year publishing rights that gets sold. Buying a reprint of a story that was previously published elsewhere isn't considered to be as valuable.

However Wattpad could buy reprints of popular stories by famous authors, creating a database of premium stories using a system similar to what Netflix does with movies and TV shows.

And it isn't like the market isn't there. All of Wattpad's money comes from two revenue streams: Ad revenue and premium stories. So they are making money off the stories, one way or the other.

What they need to do is to get professional writers (or even semi pro writers) to switch over to Wattpad simply because it pays better.

And if they do that they will put the fantasy periodicals industry out of business. Every writer who normally writes for periodicals will end up switching.

Alternatively there is another way...

Wattpad could buy/acquire companies that publish periodicals, either online or traditional book versions. In doing so they would acquire the publishing rights to any short stories published in the last year and be able to put them on Wattpad.

They could then transition the readers from those periodicals (which are often online already) over to Wattpad by offering them Premium Wattpad accounts at a discounted rate.

The good news is that many of these publishing companies aren't making much of a profit (or are in the red) and would love someone to buy them out at a pittance of the cost. Many of these "companies" are just a few people who aren't even getting paid to work there. Offer the owner enough money and they would probably take it.

Most fantasy periodicals fail and fold within the first five years of operating.

So it wouldn't really take much to put them out of business.

All Wattpad needs is the right payment program that will bring out the pro and semi pro writers.

Treasure Distribution, The Ranked Picking System

One possible way to do Treasure Distribution for Dungeons and Dragons (or Advanced Dungeons and Dragons)...


The Ranked Picking System

Each time we gain treasure the players should rank in order of significance how much they want certain items.

For example let's say we find the following:
  • 1 wand of Burning Hands
  • 1 staff of Light (cleric or druid only)
  • 1 large shield +1
  • 1 potion of Extra Healing
  • 1 suit of plate mail (non magical, dwarven sized)
  • 1 suit of elvish chainmail +1 (human sized)
  • 1 riding horse, complete with saddle and saddlebags/etc
  • evil looking dagger +1, possibly cursed (detects of evil)
  • treasure chest containing over 2000 gold
Each player would then rank how much they want the item: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc... Any time there is an item your PC cannot use you should automatically put NOT INTERESTED when ranking their interest in an item. Ranking an item your character cannot use disqualifies you from getting the item. Everyone is automatically listed for a share of the treasure chest (unless you have a vow of poverty), but this will always be the last thing divided up and is always ranked at the bottom.

So for example Charles (Beldin) would rank the items like so:
  • shield - 1
  • dwarf sized plate mail - 2
  • potion - 3
  • horse - 4
  • human sized elvish chainmail - NOT INTERESTED
  • wand - NOT INTERESTED
  • staff - NOT INTERESTED
  • evil looking dagger, possibly cursed - NOT INTERESTED
  • share of treasure chest - AUTOMATIC

Everyone would rank the items in a similar manner, and starting with the items which have the least number of 1s we then divide up the treasure.

If only 1 person wants the item, they get it automatically. If 2 or more eligible people want it, the players vote to decide who receives it (often with people voting based upon usability).

Before voting each player wanting an item can make a brief argument (30 seconds or less ideally) for why they are deserving of the item.

[Note - Characters do not get a vote. Players do. Effectively each player is in this on behalf of 1 main character.]

Once all the items with ranks of 1 have been divided up then we repeat the process for ranks 2 for any items that have not yet been distributed. Often most of the items will disappear during the distribution of Rank 1 items. However the difference now is that anyone who already received a Rank 1 item is exempted from getting a Rank 2 item - UNLESS there was nobody else interested in the item in the Ranks 2, 3, 4, etc. Thus it is possible for 1 player to receive two items, but only if nobody else actually wants it in the lower rankings. We continue down the ranks, voting and dividing up each item based upon desirability and usability.

The "Share of Treasure Chest" is divided last, but it is also unevenly based upon how many people received a higher ranked item. Anyone who received a Rank 1 item only gets 1/2 share, and anyone who received 2 or more items gets zero share of the treasure chest. Someone who received 0 items during the distribution of other items gets double the share of gold/etc.

Thus:

If someone received an item, they would only receive a 1/2 share of the gold.
If someone received no items, they would receive a double share of the gold (effectively 4 times what someone would receive if they already received an item).

Ranking Strategically - Someone might look at the value of the gold and decide they're not interested in things like the riding horse and then decide to rank strategically, saying NOT INTERESTED in the horse or similar items, just so they can get a double share of the chest full of gold. Others might look at the horse as being useful and decide it is worth not getting a larger share of the gold.

Cursed Items - If nobody actually wants an item believed to be cursed the party should make an effort to either give it away, use it to bribe someone, deliberately lose it somewhere unlikely to be found, or attempt to destroy it.

Party Funds (Optional)

In order to pay taxes, tolls, food, stays at inns, bribes, repairs, Identifying magical items, etc it is recommended setting aside 1 share of party gold for Party Funds, which can be used to pay miscellaneous things that the party needs. Usually this sum would then be carried by various trustworthy members of the party.
 
 
 

 


While we're at it, let's quickly discuss a few extra topics that will inevitably come up during games...

MATTERS OF OWNERSHIP

Once a person owns an item it is considered theirs and theirs alone, unless they sell the item, trade it, give it away, throw it away, or destroy it. Items cannot be redistributed later if a second treasure is later found.

However if two players agree to trade an item, or one player agrees to sell an item to another for an agreed upon sum of gold and/or items, then this can be done privately (preferably outside of game time).

Players could also decide that they don't need two swords, for example, and then give away an item to another player (or give it to an ally, or henchman/hireling, or even as a bribe to a NPC). What they do with it is their choice and theirs alone.

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT

PCs should be encouraged to write a last will and testament stating who gets their various items if their character should die. It should never be a situation where the party just automatically loots the dead character. The items could end up going to PCs, to NPCs, to be donated to an orphanage, or they might even insist the items are buried with them.

THIEVERY

Thievery is certainly a real possibility, but would spell consequences for the thief when eventually caught. PCs who discover a thief might decide to attack them, might choose to punish them in some manner, or might simply refuse to aid the thief thence onwards (eg. leaving them to die). Items stolen once discovered would be returned to the proper owner. A severe and non-violent penalty however would be to take all magical items (or anything else considered valuable) from the thief and give them to the person who had been robbed, who can then use them, or sell/give away items at their leisure.

Missing potions and scrolls. Another problem. Harder to prove who took them and used them. Again, consequences should be swift and severe.

Players should make an effort to record where on their persons (or their horses) they are storing various items of value. Eg. Hiding a potion in their boot. Thus if someone is attempting to rob them they must declare where they are looking and the DM can check with the character sheet to determine where a particular item is hidden.

How to Roll Stats the Old School Way, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

 Over a decade ago I joined a 1st Edition AD&D game. The game has had its highs and lows, including players moving to other countries, players getting married and having kids (myself included in that category), and we don't play as often as we once did.

The trick about playing 1st Edition AD&D is that it is gritty. It is "Old School". Your characters die frequently. Kind of like watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, or similar shows. Characters die. It is just part of the game.

So one workaround for the inevitable character deaths is that DMs will often have players create multiple characters so that in the event that one character dies then they can just immediately play a different one because they have a whole roster of characters to choose from.

In the game I am in what we will do is roll stats for 12 characters all at once.

Like so...

Note - I had some difficulties making the following videos. My camera was running low on hard drive space, so I ended with 4 videos instead of 1 big long video. Also I forgot about the rerolls, so the 4th video is just the rerolls.





So there you go. That is how you roll 12 sets of stats, in order, plus the rerolls.

I admit it takes awhile to do all of those rolls, but you aren't necessarily going to play all 12 characters. You are probably only going to play the characters who can potentially make the characters you WANT to play.

For example, if you're not really into making wizards, then don't play a wizard. Just make all your characters fighters, thieves, clerics, etc, and thus you use the stats which are appropriate for making those characters.

Our DM also allows players to "trade stats" to other players so that they can get stats that make the character they want to play. So even if you failed to roll the necessary stats to play a ranger, maybe you can trade a set of your stats to someone who wants them in exchange for suitable ranger stats.

So far I ended up making a dwarf fighter for the game, but going over the stats I also have ideas for another fighter, a cleric, a wizard and a thief. So I should at least have some backup characters in case my dwarf bites the dust.

I am hoping he doesn't die, obviously, but let's say he falls down and hurts himself (and needs to heal for awhile) then I might need a replacement character while my dwarf rests up.




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