If winter is a time of dormancy, depressive disorders and rampaging White Walkers then it has also resulted in an inactive GBN. So first things first – sorry for this (we hope temporary) cessation of gamebook and interactive fiction goodness. It has not been caused by a sudden loss of interest in the likes of Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf and Fabled Lands on the part of the GBN team – quite the contrary! Rather, it has been due to lack of funding. All of our contributors have day jobs and have been finding it difficult to write up newsbytes, reviews and author interviews for free. But there is always hope; more specifically, there is a plan!
We at GBN – currently Pingo and KJ – have put our heads together and decided to resume service at GBN under a slightly different model, one which allows us to monetise the site somewhat without coming across as avaricious adventurers only interested in stuffing our treasure chests with loot. We hope we’ve struck the balance about right, though everything you’re about to read entails a work in progress. Thus we’d like you, our readers, to act as judge, jury and…(possibly) executioner?!
What do the changes mean in practice? Please read on…
- New reviews and some other content will henceforth only be available on a pay-to-read basis. We won’t be asking for very much, just a small contribution to help fund the reading, writing, editing and formatting of articles that can take dozens of hours to produce. However, most of our (quite excellent) past content will still be available to read for free!
- There will be a $5 per month membership option which will give access to ALL of GBN’s pay-to-read content. As new pay-to-read reviews and content are written, this option will prove to be great value and will really help out with reimbursing our writers and editors, running the site, hosting and research.
- Seeing as we wish to keep the pay-to-read and membership fees as low as possible, GBN will also welcome Paypal donations via the ‘donate’ button you’ll now see on our site. Donations won’t give you membership or access to pay-to-read articles, but will simply be treated as ‘tips’ to our staff. Please consider this option if you particularly enjoy something you have read on GBN!
In return for your support, we aim to update the site with a minimum of TWO pay-to-read major articles (such as a full review or author interview) per month and at least two free-to-read newsbytes and smaller notices every week. With your help, we hope to resume and sustain the gamebook and interactive fiction news-flow for all to enjoy!
After much soul searching, there are also some other policy changes we’ve decided to implement at GBN:
- From now on, we WILL be accepting review copies from creators hoping to get their work promoted, reviewed and discussed on the site. E-book and digital formats can be submitted via the online form, while hard copies can be sent in to GBN writers – please contact us via the form or KJ directly on social media to facilitate this. Previously, we didn’t accept review copies (instead we bought them using our own money) because we were worried that accepting ‘gifts’ would raise an expectation in the donor that we would definitely write a feature on their work. Since then we have reasoned that accepting review copies IS a fair and reasonable thing to do, with the following qualification that it is important to make clear: while we will take a serious look at any work received (and give it a glowing write-up if we are impressed!), we can’t guarantee that we’ll include a feature on any review copies received. It’s also important for us that we retain our editorial independence when it comes to previewing and reviewing gamebooks, which includes the right to publish ‘less than glowing’ features, though we generally won’t write reviews for books we haven’t at least somewhat enjoyed. Holding up editorial standards for the site is tough, but in doing so we hope that GBN continues to be an objective source that our readers can trust when it comes to finding recommendations for the best in gamebooks and interactive fiction!
- Perhaps most controversially, we are also toying with the idea of accepting COMMISSIONS for writing articles. The reason for this is that GBN receives a lot of messages from talented creators hoping to get their work on our site. And no wonder; for GBN attracts thousands of impressions every month (tens of thousands one day, we hope!). But reading and reviewing gamebooks and liaising with creators to a professional standard takes so much time, effort and expertise that we believe in getting paid to do so at least some of the time! Receiving commissions will allow us to focus our attention on a particular work and tell our readers (indeed the entire world) all about it. Again, we cannot guarantee that we will like a gamebook that we have been paid to promote, but we will approach all commissions with positivity and attempt to reach an informed, independent position for the benefit of our readers. So if you have created a gamebook or piece of interactive fiction that you believe speaks for itself, if you like the style of GBN’s reviews, and if you would like your work previewed, reviewed, or both (!) then feel free to reach out to GBN to get your work to near the top of an ever growing to-be read pile!
Other aspects of GBN will remain more or less the same. Our contributors will continue to use the site as a marketing tool for their own products, for instance, and we will continue to accept paid gamebook and interactive fiction ads to the site. We will also do our best to ensure that we resume giving you, our readers, high-quality information on the sorts of books and games we all admire so highly.
We would also love to hear any comments from our readers about these changes. Please remember: we at GBN believe in the power of gamebooks to entertain, enthral and educate. Many of us developed a love of reading thanks to the likes of Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf, and we hope that GBN can continue – with the support of readers and creators – to highlight this excellent form of fiction long into the future. Watch this space for our upcoming newsbytes and reviews and thank-you for your patience while we navigate some tough times!
Article by KJ Shadmand