Hey, you! Yes, you reading this! Do you want to add extra monetization to your story? You’ve read through this guide here and you know how to code gem choices in here. But now you don’t know how to price your choice. How much is one gem? Is my choice worth this amount? Hopefully, this guide can help you figure this out!
How much is one gem?
One gem is at the most (and approximately) .20 cents. Based on the set price without bonuses, .20 cents is the value of one gem. If readers buy higher quantities the base value of what they spent decreases but a gem’s value is still .20 cents. Knowing this, five gems are approximately one American dollar.
How should I present my gem choices?
It’s important to think of the lead-up to each gem choice as your sales pitch. This is where you convince your readers that buying your choice is worthwhile and something that they want. If you’ve hooked your reader the last half of the pitch is if the price is right. It’s important to remember that no matter how good your sales pitch is some readers will never buy, no matter what price, no matter how many incentives, and that’s fine. But what about for those who are here to buy?
How much should I price my choices?
There are two philosophies:
Price as high as the sky!
This gem price point philosophy is simple: price your gems as high as someone may be willing to pay. The highest gem amount Tales suggests is 25 gems (approximately five dollars) but you can go higher. The idea behind this philosophy is that convincing one person to spend five dollars is more likely and easier than convincing five people to spend a dollar. This philosophy is one that most interactive fiction apps (and Tales in their official stories) follow. In a fifteen chapter story, a reader may only buy three major choices but you stand to earn more than if your choices are priced cheaper but a reader still only buys three choices (remember the price of your choice is only a part of your pitch if someone hasn’t been convinced they want the gem choice the price point doesn’t matter).
This gem price point philosophy is the opposite of the first one. It’s the belief that if prices are low readers will purchase a choice even if your sales pitch isn’t amazing and they will ultimately spend more than may have otherwise. It’s the dollar store concept. Everyone goes into the dollar store to buy one thing, but they often find other things they like and they purchase them because they are cheap but seem like good quality. You go into a dollar store to spend one dollar, but leave spending twenty. The catch with this is that you have to have and convince a person on multiple sales to earn the same amount as with the above philosophy.
Both approaches have their merits and using a combination in your story is a great approach!
How do I determine what my gem choice is worth?
I personally follow a simple concept when pricing my choices: for every minute of content charge a dollar. If your scene takes two minutes to read the price is two dollars. To me, this is the base price. This is what my gem choice is worth on a surface level. There are other things to consider:
How important is this choice to the plot?
If this choice has significant repercussions that create more read time or deviates the plot it can be priced higher.
Would you pay the price for this content?
And would you walk away happy with your purchase? Sometimes there is a divide between what we would pay and be happy with and what your readers will pay and be happy with, however, if you feel strongly that your choice is mispriced, consider changing it.
Does your gem choice contain any violent or intimate content?
Certain things can increase the value of a gem choice. Anything violent or intimate greatly increases a choice’s worth without increasing read time. See below for more details.
Your choice is a ‘conserve’ or ‘prepare’ choice.
And the value it adds to the plot is helpful but you can’t figure out how it translates into extra read time. Personally, these are gambling choices. There was always the possibility that a reader could have completed a task without these choices but they do make completing the task much easier. I would think in reverse. How much read time does this ‘save’ instead. It can allow a reader to defeat a big bad in three clicks instead of twenty? Then if that saves a minute of reading time the base value is a dollar plus whatever positives it can bring.
What about intimate and violent scenes?
Tales recommends that all detailed intimate and violent scenes be gem locked. As mentioned above these greatly increase the value of a gem choice. I follow a mental guide that goes like this:
Kissing can be free but if you choose to monetize it I increase the base value by five gems. Ex: a kissing scene that reads a minute long could be ten gems.
Anything that’s a precursor to actual sex
Tales would recommend this to be gem locked. I increase the value of the base price by ten gems. Ex: A minute read is 15 gems.
Tales would recommend this to be gem locked and most sex scenes are priced at twenty-five gems. I would add on 15 gems to the base price, but keep in mind that most gem prices do not go over 25 gems.
Any excessive description of violence.
This can be free and does not have to be gem locked. I would increase my base price by five gems if I choose to monetize.
Murder or otherwise.
Tales recommends this be gem locked. I would still only increase by five gems due to the violence. Often a gem choice like this has a lot of plot weight attached beyond the violence, so the price increase in a gem choice like this isn’t because of the violence. (Ex: Take revenge on the evil magician who killed your parents! There’s the murder factor and then the massive plot fallout. That would be why a choice like that would be priced at twenty-five gems. ) Unlike with an intimate gem choice, this is unlikely to gratify a majority of readers so take caution when setting the prices for violent choices. The price still has to signal the severity of the choice while not disappointing readers. These are veteran gem choices.
Are choices once bought yours forever?
Yes! This is a feature Tales supports. On some interactive fiction apps if you replay a story you have to purchase a gem choice again. On Tales, once a gem choice is bought it’s yours forever. As a writer, it’s important to consider the replay value of your story when pricing your gem choices.
Please ask below in the thread!
I read through your guide and my choice is worth a dollar, is that the price I should set?
That is up to you! The above is just a way to gauge the value of your choice, it isn’t a hard and fast rule. This is where the philosophies come in. You now know your exclusive content gem choice has a minute of read time and earns the reader some relationship points. And having relationship points is crucial to your story. My guide is meant to be a way to figure out how to price your choices and learn if the price you’re setting is right for you.
(This guide is currently in beta and content may change or be altered as necessary. Guide as of March 10th, 2022)