Friday, 7 February 2014
Surely you jest?
Earlier caveats apply: thus and so. Bringing Fabled Lands back to life by crowdfunding alone would be a struggle. Two hundred backers, even if willing to pay $50 for a hardcover edtion of book 7, would mean maybe $3000 to spend on writing, copy-editing, illustrations, cover art and typography. And there are EU minumum wage regulations to take into account. Problems...
One way Jamie and I considered tackling that is by licensing Fabled Lands apps and/or computer games. Those could potentially find a bigger market than the books, and since new content would have to be created for the apps anyway, it would then become feasible to do more books.
Another possible solution would simply be to create new books that appeal to a larger market. That's the direct approach: to make more books, we have to sell more books. So far our print gamebooks have really sold only to a small, devoted circle of readers who probably bought these books originally when they were kids. The new edition FL books, for example, are now selling about thirty copies a month each. It's not bad, but it won't fund a series.
But here's a thought...
The big trend in gamebooks now is towards send-ups. Fluffy rabbits fighting zombies. HG2G clones. Hamlet in cheek. Those are the clear frontrunners. So, if Fabled Lands were to return, should we inject a shot of Jamie’s trademark Dirk Lloyd comedy? Make Ankon-Konu a satire of feckless colonials ransacking ancient cultures? Tell stories of punctured pomposity from the supposedly refined civilizations of Atticala? Of bureaucratic idiocy among the demons of the Underworld?
You can probably tell that. where humour is concerned, I take to parody like a duck to lava. “Take That You Fiend” makes me want to punch the game designer, not attack the troll. And even though Jamie won the 2012 Roald Dahl Prize, and can do enough funny for both of us, it remains to be seen whether his flair for laugh-out-loud comedy will translate to the kind of spoof fantasy that is currently playing well with gamers. Still, the choice seems to be between selling a couple of hundred copies of a serious gamebook or several thousand of a send-up one. And it could be worse; we might have to try erotica. Put like that, gimme a jester’s hat and I’ll bring my bladder. So to speak.