Why the #web3lit community should pay attention to what Sitka World is doing

TLDR – Because Sitka World is doing everything the right way – giving project leaders a roadmap, writers a community, and readers a great story.

If you haven’t heard of Sitka World before, it is an upcoming fantasy novel that uses a mix of web3 and web2 technologies and business cases to grow and engage with its community. 

We recently had a great conversation with them and were really impressed with what they are building. Not only with the actual story (the prologue they’ve released seems fantastic!) but with some of the key strategic choices they’ve made along the way.  

The roadmap they’ve laid out is textbook, and their decision-making can provide invaluable lessons to future web3lit project leaders and authors.

As we’ve discussed before, a number of key challenges show up in almost every web3lit project.

1) How do you build a community?

2) How do you keep the community engaged in the long term?

3) How do get average readers onboarded into web3?

We can’t say what will happen with Sitka World (as always, this is NOT investment advice), but they’ve done an amazing job of answering these questions at the start. 

Let’s dig in….

How Sitka World is building a community

Building community is hard for authors in web3 (and in web2, web1, and pre-web. It will likely be the hardest question to answer in web5, too.

What they’ve done is they have talked with EVERYONE. 

Over the last few weeks, they have been featured on Twitter Spaces, Podcasts, and Newsletters. They have announced partnerships, competitions, and collaborations. The quick count has them working with about a dozen crypto teams. Each of these partners has its own community that now knows about Sitka World’s story, background, and vision. Getting yourself heard within the web3 space is never easy, but they’ve done a good job of standing out in this way.  

They’ve also created three distinct customer segmentations with specific messaging and offerings for each. When you login into their website, it allows you to pick whether you are interested in the reader, author, or investor perspective. By segmenting this message, it lets the visitor know that they have a community with benefits for everyone. 

How Sitka World keeps the community engaged in the long term

Once you have a community, keeping them engaged and interested is a really challenging task (as my dozens of unattended discord groups unfortunately prove).

This is a challenge for many web3 projects, but books – especially GOOD books – take a long time to write! This means that there is a lot of time between novels where there aren’t a lot of reasons for the community to stay involved.  

Knowing this, Sitka World is planning to launch numerous initiatives which will engage their community throughout the writing cycle. 

For investors, they will offer Royalty Sharing (which can help maintain an organic marketing push).

For authors, they have multiple initiatives. First, they will integrate fan-fiction into their world. They will also offer writing classes with Rae (the author of Sitka World) and other writing camps. 

For readers, they are working on offering games (including metaverse-compatible options). Readers will also enjoy the fan-fiction works that the authors will be creating.  

Overall, they have something for everyone, which can help provide some “stickiness” within the community. 

How will Sitka World get average readers onboarded into web3?

They won’t.

This is the part that we kind of like the best. We love crypto stuff as much (more?) than most people. But we can also understand that it’s not perfect for everyone, it’s not super easy and it doesn’t always give the best user experience. Within crypto, different technologies (i.e Ethereum vs Solana) have different costs, benefits, and tradeoffs.  

Sitka World understands this too and is trying to use web3 tools when they make sense, rather than trying to “force” anything. They seem willing to experiment with different platforms and chains. Especially with so much innovation happening, being flexible right now is essential.

They are also apparently willing to sell physical books through traditional channels – basically, whatever gets people reading and engaging.   

They care about providing the best experience for their community, not ensuring an anonymous “laser-eye” on Twitter is happy.  

This flexibility ties into point 1 from earlier – they are doing everything possible to find community members. They will not put up artificial walls that could limit who reads their book.  

For a lot of authors who are interested in exploring NFTs and web3lit but are concerned about giving up paperback or Kindle sales, this is fantastic to see. This type of web2.5 can be the bridge that gets more people into seeing the value of crypto.

Exciting things are happening in Sitka’s World and we are here for it.

We hope you reach out to them on Twitter and request to join their Discord to experience the story-led journey. Be sure to follow them on Twitter to learn more about the web3lit space.

Sitka World’s Website

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SitkaWorldNFT

Sitka World’s artist: https://www.instagram.com/crandallart/

If you’re crypto-curious or crypto-critical, we have a newsletter for you that brings you information on what’s happening in web3 for writers. The literature space is still developing, and we send out weekly emails to interested people.

.Click here to sign up for our Gutenb3rg newsletter!

3 Ways Authors Can Use CC0 NFTs

typing on a laptop with no rights reserved CCO text

Tuesday: This Bridgerton fan-fiction/IP stuff is crazy. Do you think web3 could change things?

Wednesday: A huge crypto-centric venture capital fund just released a report on CC0-based NFTs (no copyrights reserved)

Thursday: One of the hottest “traditional” NFT projects out there just announced that they were converting to the CC0 model.

…..

Welcome to CC0 summer everyone! Now that we are here, the first step is to figure out what this means.

(Note – as always, this is new and we are figuring this out at the same time. None of this is legal or financial advice. We are not lawyers nor IP experts, so please do your research!)

What is CC0?

This is explained in much more detail in other places on the internet – notably this a16z report from earlier this week.

But, instead of releasing creative work with “All Rights Reserved” like we normally expect to see, CC0 work is released with “No Rights Reserved.” Notably, this means that creators waive their COPYRIGHT, but NOT the TRADEMARK or PATENTS.  

This means that anyone – NFT holder or not – is immediately allowed to build on top of the original creative work. For visual art NFTs, that can mean that a project’s distinctive style can be used for new NFT collections or other types of products. 

Creators of the NFT proactively choose this legal framework (it is a strategic choice) because they believe that more people using their art or their story can build brand awareness and add value to the original creation.  

This means that NFT creators are skipping the “95 years after your death” IP protection and going straight to converting their work into the creative commons domain.

At a high level, this is kind of weird and counter-intuitive to the “make sure creators get paid” ethos of web3, but it’s a choice that teams are making currently.  

So let’s see how authors can take advantage of this new experiment.

(Note – these are NOT all recommended and benefits can change based on each author’s situation)

1) Release a Story NFT as CC0

We are starting with the BOLDEST choice.  

This is for authors with a full novel with immersive world-building or a children’s story with lots of fun characters.  

By releasing as CC0, you would be allowing anyone (including non-NFT holders) to create fan-fiction based on the world you have created.  

If Julia Quinn, the original Bridgerton author had done this, there wouldn’t be any lawsuit between Netflix and the Musical right now.

On the flip side, if she had done this, she wouldn’t have gotten all of the licensing revenue that Netflix paid her for the film rights. She would be hoping that fans of the show went out and bought the books as well.  

But, what if instead of looking at the traditional successes like Bridgerton, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, etc., we imagined the stories that NEVER made it?

The stories that were pretty similar in quality or style to those famous works, but never got on a Bestseller List or were optioned for a show. What if, by releasing the IP to the world, they were able to foster a community of fan fiction and branding that propelled them into that top tier?  

It is a gamble – not necessarily one we endorse – but a gamble that could pay off big for a risky author.

(Side note: Lisa doesn’t see this is a great model for stories, but could be a source of writing prompts, novel ideas, movie ideas, outlines, etc.)

2) Release a Story NFT with “Licensed Commerical Rights”

Technically, this isn’t CC0, but this might be more palatable to authors. This is the model that Bored Ape Yacht Club (another leading NFT project) used to strong success.  

In this example, if you own a particular NFT, you can commercialize that particular NFT.

E.g., if JK Rowling originally sold NFTs for lesser-known characters from Hogwarts, people could create their own back stories and fan fiction around the characters they own.  

Or if Pokemon sold NFTs for each animal, the owners could monetize any that they owned. 

This is more similar to a traditional licensing deal, and the success of the monetization could drive interest in the projects, raising the value of any resales (a portion of which goes back to the original creator).

3) Writing a story using CC0 NFT characters

We THINK this should work (but each contract is different, so please verify) and could be a really interesting way to start exploring the space.

Here, a writer could find an already launched CC0 NFT project that they like – i.e., GoblinTown, Nouns, or Tiny Dinos and create a story around it.

Whether it was a children’s book or a full-fledged novel, the art would be available to use and has an existing community that would likely support the book. Piggy-backing on the existing community could help a story stand-out in this competitive industry.

Overall

The NFT space is a playground of experimentation, and CC0 models are the latest iteration of that.  

Any author with existing IP will need to think long and hard about the tradeoffs of giving up IP rights, but it COULD be worth the gamble.  

Writing on top of a CC0 project could be a fun, interesting way to explore the space and stand out from the crowd.

Either way, enjoy your #CC0summer!!!

********

Want to learn more about the Bridgerton Musical vs. Netflix legal drama that could impact fan fiction?

Click here to read Lisa’s newsletter that goes out every Friday to +2k authors.

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How authors can use POAPS to help their readers step into web3

POAP
Reading time: 3 mins 38 secs, 912 words 
(Read to the end for a special POAP NFT for our readers!)
POAP
Last week, we dug deep into how authors can look at reader blockchain data to gain reader insights. However, one major gap with blockchain data was that it didn’t allow authors to connect with their readers directly.  
 

This week, we want to highlight one way to solve this issue by exploring how authors can use Proof-of-Attendance-Protocol (POAP) NFTs.

(…and how this could be the precursor to a read-to-earn app.)

What are POAP NFTs?

The creators of POAPs describe them as “digital memories minted in celebration of life’s remarkable moments. A gift from an issuer to a collector in celebration of a special shared memory.” 

They have become increasingly common “gifts” in both in-real-life and online events, with some Dune Analytics dashboards from @greywizard showing sharp increases in usage. (IMAGE)

So, let’s say someone attends your panel discussion at a conference. You can display a QR code on your last slide, and everyone attending can scan it and get a limited edition NFT showing they were at the session.  

The digital equivalent would be if someone listens to a Twitter Spaces (or even a TikTok) and gets a secret code word at the end that allows them to download a POAP.  

The basic idea is that these are low-stakes rewards for being an active and engaged community member.  

Other “real world” examples of low-value participation rewards include the “I Voted” stickers given to voters during elections, stamps or badges given for hiking the 46 mountains in the Adirondacks, or balloons handed out to children by McDonald’s staff.

3 ways authors can use POAPs to engage with their readers

So now that we have a basic idea of what POAPs are, what can authors do with them? 

We looked through several use cases and examples and found three use cases that were really interesting for authors specifically.

1) Provide POAPs for IRL or Digital Speaking Engagements.

Whenever an author is giving a reading or a talk, offer readers the ability to download a POAP afterward. It wouldn’t be required of them but would allow you to better understand how many of your fans are crypto-enthusiastic.

2) POAPs as Lead Magnets.

While seeing who has bought your NFTs using blockchain data is great, like we talked about last week, connecting with them off-chain is not accessible if you don’t have their email addresses. By providing a sign-up form that offers a POAP in exchange for their email address, you can reach out to your on-chain readers.  

3) Proto-version of “Read to Earn.” 

Not going to lie; this is why we did this write-up. We’ve been talking about Read-to-Earn since our very first article. Full Read-to-Earn could be the key to unlocking DEMAND for on-chain books by readers. However, many obstacles still remain.

POAPs could be the first step in the direction of read-to-earn or rewarding your readers for doing what they love — reading! 

How to do it?

Place a QR code or secret password at the end of your book to download that book’s POAP and see who starts collecting them.

This would reward readers for reading in a potentially fun and new way. 

This strategy gamifies reading all of the books in a series or an author’s entire catalog of titles.

Imagine if an author like Stephen King put POAPs at the end of each of his books. Passionate readers would love to read through and show off that they have read the entire collection. 

Or if Goodreads worked with authors and instead of just clicking “read” on a new novel, readers actually received an NFT when the book was completed.  

This reminded us of passport stamps in a way because each stamp becomes a bit of a memory for the traveler. We always keep our outdated passports to look through them and reminisce about our travels. The same can be done for avid readers. 

Potential downside of POAPs

The downside is that authors are already wary of losing reader, and most prefer to place a call to action to leave a review on Amazon/Goodreads. 

If authors place a POAP instead of a request to leave a review, readers might have to choose between that and a link to write an Amazon Review. 

Lisa’s advice is for authors to stop caring about reviews on Amazon, but that’s for another day.

Get Your Gutenb3rg POAP for free! 

If you are interested in testing POAPs out with your community, https://poap.xyz/ does a great job explaining how it all works.

One important thing is that these are engineered from the start to be low/no cost, so there is no expense to issuers or collectors for the NFTs.

We talk a lot about testing out different technologies as we go, so we wanted to reward our Gutenb3rg readers with a POAP just for you! 

To get it, you need to:

1) Download the POAP App and follow the directions

2) Click on the MINT button in the bottom right and Select Secret Code

3) Enter: gutenb3rg_1  (all lowercase)

NOTE! We only have 50 POAPs available, and you need to mint them in the next 12 hours (they disappear at 6 pm EST today)!

Side note: As an update, we are powering down in Sweden so we can recharge in the sun and nature, and we won’t be coming out with in-depth articles until August. 

Once we are back, we look forward to digging deeper into a number of exciting projects and technologies to see how web3 can improve how stories are written and how authors are paid! 

Thanks again for reading!

Don’t miss one of our articles!

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Gain New Insights about your Readers using Blockchain Data

Reader Data in Web2

As authors, we begrudgingly acknowledge that Amazon is the largest platform on which we can sell our books. The biggest downside to selling your books on Amazon is that we have zero customer data of our readers. Sure, we can add a call to action to sign up for our newsletter in the hopes that we’ll get their emails, but really, we have no clue who is buying our books. We spend all this money acquiring readers for our books and can’t even retarget them.

Facebook ads are a bit nicer because we can retarget former customers or website visitors using Facebook Pixel. Even if we don’t know who visits our website, we can put one of our book’s ads in front of them again.  

But what if you could see every web3 purchase your readers have ever made?  

Keep reading for how authors can gain new insights about their readers using blockchain data.

New world of Blockchain Data

We’ve been hearing and thinking a lot recently about how blockchain data can provide different insights to creators, we wanted to dig in more. (Note – a really good and in-depth discussion of this is from Mint’s recent podcast – The Web3 Creator’s Guide to Blockchain Data with Erik Reppel. Recommended if you want more details!)

One of the confusing parts for us is that blockchain data is BOTH primarily anonymous AND primarily transparent. While this seems a bit contradictory at first, it makes sense once we understand how it works.

Blockchain data are anonymous because you cannot connect them to real people. Using blockchain data, there is no way to send an email to all your customers (or potential future customers). All you can see from the data are all transactions tied to an account number.

But that is where the transparent part kicks in – and WOW – there is a lot of data there.

(Note two – these next steps are not super easy or straightforward at this stage. But as always, remember that we are SO EARLY)

Gain New Insights about your Readers

OK, so we all agree that Amazon and Facebook (ahem, Meta) are super powerful platforms that are happy to take our money to advertise our books to THEIR users. The only way to transform THEIR users into OUR readers is in hopes that our readers love us enough to subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media.

Let’s be honest — how many of you have LOVED an author and then immediately gone and signed up for their newsletter?

Maybe once? Twice in your life? OK, so that strategy means you’re only capturing a teeny tiny percentage of your readers — they are hardcore fans of your writing, and you’re still missing information on 99.99% of your readers.

Using blockchain data, however, web3 authors can now have high value, individual and traceable purchasing data FOR FREE. It’s all RIGHT there for anyone to look at (kind of scary, huh?)

After spending a bit of time on Dune Analytics (a great free platform to make sense of messy blockchain data), we’ve found a handful of dashboards showing the type of aggregated data potentially available for authors.

Dune Analytics Community-Centric Examples

1 – Your overall web3 project activity and sales – built by @RantumBits

2 – Top customers for your project – built by @lukerfrazier (i.e., some projects will see customers buy multiple NFTs to give them more utility and/or more financial upside)

3 – Web3 purchasing history indicating how much previous experience your readers have with crypto – built by @kristineberth

4 – The number and types of NFTs your customers hold in their accounts – built by GreenHaro

5 – The amount of ETH your customers have in their account

(very frustrating, but we can’t find the link / screenshot of this one.  But trust us, it exists and was a pie chart showing how many ETH were in each account, by buckets (i.e. less than 1, 5-10, more than 50, etc.)

Using these data, you can better understand what content would be most engaging and relevant for your readers. 

You can also benchmark your project against your peers to evaluate marketing or other strategies.

With another few clicks, you can even go one level deeper and get account-by-account details of your readers. 

Individual Transaction Data

If someone new purchases your NFT book, you can copy and paste their account number into Etherscan and see every on-chain transaction they have ever made and the current value in their wallet. 

For example, here is Jimmy Fallons account that links to his twitter and shows he has 33 Ethereum, a number of NFTs/Tokens and has made 32 traceable transactions. 

What could you do with this information? 

A lot…actually.

It would increase your knowledge of who your readers are and what they purchase in web3.

You’d know if they’ve purchased any other books in web3, supported art NFTs (you’d get a sense of what type of art they like), and if they are a newbie or a power-user in web3.

You could always team up with other web3 authors and airdrop (or “gift”) a preview of your NFT book to their readers or vice versa if you are in the same genre.

The possibilities are endless, and those are all quick ideas off the tops of our heads.

What we would like to reiterate is that with great transparency, comes great responsibility.

While people trust Amazon with their data because they know it won’t be released to anyone, users might shy away from web3 if they feel their data will be misused.

Don’t abuse web3 reader data, and definitely don’t contact your readers on web2 if they haven’t consented. 

As a web3 creator, it is important that you respect people’s privacy regardless of how transparent transactions are on blockchain.

Your sales data is also available

Another downside of this public transparency is that it makes your sales and purchases public. 

Here is one NFT collection we launched last November based on our trip to Jordan (our trip to Petra, Jordan was amazing, btw!).

As you can quickly tell, no one has bought anything.

These data are like a supercharged Amazon ranking. Now anyone can see your projects’ success (or failure) with specifics. 

Not necessarily a problem, but very different from our usual expectations of privacy (especially financial privacy). 

Next Steps

As we mentioned at the beginning, the central part of this article required a decent amount of playing around and exploring what is available currently. 

Unfortunately, blockchain data are inherently messy, so it isn’t easy to dig into the raw data unless you are very technical.

Luckily though, several tools make it more accessible. Zora from the podcast we mentioned earlier seems to be doing a great job. Dune Analytics provides free access to aggregated data through publicly available dashboards (and you can make your own if you know SQL). 

Etherscan is a fantastic tool for quick analyses of individual accounts. 

Unfortunately, due to the current nature of the space, most of the dashboards we found on Dune Analytics are focused on the INVESTOR community rather than the CREATOR community. We hope/expect that to change in the future.

Overall, we think that blockchain data have the potential to transform what authors know about the communities that own their books. By combining this knowledge with the web3-enabled ways authors can interact with their communities, major opportunities for community building and engagement are unlocked. 

If you know SQL/Dune Analytics and want to work together on a creator-centric dashboard, reach out!

Don’t miss one of our articles!

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A Behind-the-Scenes look at OpenAI DALL-E 2 AI Art Generator

Like a kid on Christmas morning, I clicked the “Get Started” button on my invitation email from OpenAI DALL-E 2.

Months ago, I joined their waitlist to beta test their powerful AI platform. For the past year, I’ve been experimenting with NightCafe Studio (NC), another AI art generator, with exciting but varied results.

Both AI art generators use text or keyword prompts to create visuals.

So, entering something like, “A wise owl wearing glasses, digital illustration” will result in a wide array of illustrations.

The more specific you are with the text prompts, the more control you can exert over the AI tool, provided you’ve trained the tool using multiple iterations.

After a few attempts, DALL-E 2 created a wide array of beautiful characters — something I couldn’t do with nearly as much ease in NightCafe Studio.

I entered the same prompt in DALL-E 2 and NC to see what both tools provided.

DALLE-2

NightCafe Studio

 

WOW! Right?

The DALL-E 2 illustration was one of 9 illustrations generated by the tool. 

I spent 6 (!!) credits on NightCafe to get an illustration of bizarre-looking vegetables. 

In order to get the NC version to look anything like the DALL-E 2 version, I would need to spend a lot more time and credits experimenting with various start images and prompts.

DALL-E 2 is incredibly, incredibly powerful. 

More results from DALL-E 2

DALL-E 2 In the News

As I was experimenting with DALL-E 2, Cosmopolitan Magazine published its first cover using a DALL-E 2 generated image.

Source: Cosmopolitan.com

 

I tried the same prompt myself and the results were not as striking — proving that AI-generated artwork is revolutionary, but still inconsistent.

The inability to duplicate the same image from the same prompt proves 2 things:

1 – Nobody can really “copy” someone else, even if using the same text prompts

2 – Creating consistent images or visuals is extremely hard

The best combination, in my opinion, is leveraging all of the tools in your toolbox.

Use AI to generate a start image and then manipulate further in another editing tool like Photoshop.

Combining DALL-E 2 and NightCafe Studio

My favorite combination is to use DALL-E 2-created images as starter images for my NightCafe Studio prompts where I have greater control over the style and output.

Perhaps it is because I’m more familiar with NightCafe Studio, but I really love how I can control the finished result using my tested prompts.

Here are a few examples:

DALL-E 2

 

Post NightCafe Studio Edits

 

DALL-E 2

Post NightCafe Studio Edits

DALL-E 2

Post NightCafe Studio Edits

Ethical Considerations of AI Artwork

A lot of people are seeing the power of DALL-E 2 and freaking out saying that this software will replace artists.

AI can be used to improve our lives, but we are really uncomfortable when it starts replacing artistic creativity.

Employment, privacy, and AI becoming self-aware, are usually always cited as the top concerns for artificial intelligence (and rightly so!).

Sure, we are ok with AI in our cars braking for us in case a child runs into the street.

We are even ok with AI in healthcare to improve health outcomes.

But using AI to generate art?? Now we are in murky waters.

As someone who has been in the AI Artwork space for the past year and interacted with artists using Midjourney, NightCafe Studio,  I can say with confidence that it does take a lot of experimentation, time, and effort to figure out how to use text prompts correctly.

A lot of artists say they use AI as their digital paintbrush.

Despite that, innovation and new technology should be approached with caution.

DALL-E 2 has strict limitations on creating artwork that resembles real people like celebrities and political figures. 

Currently, DALL-E 2-generated art is for personal use only and cannot be commercialized.

AI can be a visual tool similar to how Billie Eilish and Kanye West experiment with autotune.

Remove the tool from the talented artists and they are still amazing.

Remove the tool from the amateur and they can’t produce the art.

Current limitations of AI Artwork

Currently, one major limitation of DALL-E 2, is that the AI generates completely different images every time.

One may struggle to create a cohesive narrative story with a main character using DALL-E 2 as it is not possible to replicate similar characters or scenes.

At the moment, the tool can be used for one-off visuals, inspiration, designing mood boards, or brainstorming ideas.

While DALL-E 2 is incredibly powerful, the novice user will have a hard time getting repeated results.

If one uses CLIP-guided diffusion tools and has sets of prompts that produce a similar style of artwork, it is very possible to create a book using only AI-generated artwork.

The Future of AI Artwork

DALL-E 2 is the most powerful AI-generator currently available and the results are stunning.

AI-artwork platforms are just finding their footing and they are becoming more powerful every day as users train the AI.

I don’t think AI-artwork will disappear and if anything, we will see more and more AI-generated artwork in our illustrated books, cookbooks, fairytales, magazines, and media.

What I love most about AI artwork is that it allows us all to play in the visual world.

If you want to sign up for DALL-E 2 beta access, you can do that here.

Since the technology is open to everyone, there are other interfaces that you can use to generate start images like DALLE-Mini.

Alternatively, you can always experiment with NightCafe Studio, Midjourney, StarryAI, WomboAI and others.

What do you think of AI-generated artwork? 

Follow me on Insta!

If you love fae, elves, trolls, and more, be sure to follow me on Instagram @AIArtwork_Fantasy

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Why a crypto winter shouldn’t stop you from building in web3

crypto winter meme

Reading time: 2 mins, 26 seconds

Disclaimer: We are not financial advisors and do not offer financial advice. Always do your own research. Consult a professional investment advisor before making any investment decisions. Our content is for entertainment only.

Crypto Winter 2022

Well – this has been a chilly WEEK for the crypto community with talks of a crypto winter.

When we were writing this newsletter last week, the Total Market Cap of crypto was about ~$1,2 trillion. As we write this today, it’s down to ~$0,9 trillion. We aren’t used to working in trillions, but quick math says that $300 billion of value has disappeared in the last seven days.

That’s a lot.

If you follow the crypto space much on Twitter, discord, podcasts, etc., you know that the tone has changed very quickly. Before, web3 newsletters focused on “how to best build community within your DAO.”

Now we are hearing warnings that we are approaching a “crypto winter” where everything freezes, nothing grows, and the community goes into pause mode.

crypto winter meme

We’ve survived a crypto winter before

There have been two previous crypto winters — in 2014, 2018, and potentially, now again in 2022 (Bloomberg 2022: The Crypto Winter is Here). Where traditional markets have “bear” cycles, crypto seems to have four-year cycles of winters.

What’s different about this time versus previous crypto winters was that people worried that the fundamentals of blockchain were flawed. We are already 8-10 years past that worry. 

This winter reflects the general financial issues we are seeing in high-interest rates, inflation, and market hesitation. 

Still, this does not reflect problems with the functionalities of blockchain or crypto itself, implying that the concepts are sound, but the market is tough for everyone, everywhere.

Without a crystal ball, we don’t know what will happen and wouldn’t want to hazard a guess.

Cryptocurrencies are highly variable, and while Bitcoin has crashed to the lowest value seen since July 2021, we’ve also seen it rise just as quickly.

We believe web3 is still relevant, necessary, and revolutionary

This downturn has caused us to think deeply about why we are so interested in the overall crypto space and, even more importantly, why we are interested enough to put out this weekly newsletter.

1) We still believe that web3 enables new ways for authors to get fairly compensated for their work.

2) We still believe that web3 makes it easier for books and authors that mainstream publishers have traditionally overlooked (i.e., due to audience size, not having the right network, etc.) to be published.

3) We still believe that web3 allows new ways for authors and readers to connect and for communities around stories.

4) We still believe that web3 unlocks new ways to write stories- through community engagement, integration with NFTs, and more.

5) We still believe that both authors and readers will value all of the above.

6) We still believe that the billions of dollars that Venture Capital funds have invested in this space improved web3 technologies, tools, and experiences. We all know that these things take time to launch.

7) Overall, we still believe that we are just beginning to see traditional firms (i.e., banks, consumer-facing companies, etc.) put money in the space by launching NFT projects, investing in companies, and making crypto available to the broader public, etc.

Passionate communities will always prevail

So while we have NO IDEA what will happen in the crypto/web3 markets in the future, we feel comfortable with these core beliefs.

We’ve been around long enough to know that anything built by determined, passionate groups of people won’t disappear with a little tumult and hardship. 

The people who continue to explore and build in the space are the ones who will hit the ground running when crypto resurfaces again.

We will keep those beliefs in mind and get inspiration from the amazing project’s building and growing within the web3lit community.

So whenever we get too bummed out about our portfolio value, we’ll look at what we see from Sitka World, SolType, Readl, Jenkins the Valet, Page DAO, StoryPrima, and so many more and realize that we’re in good hands.

Until next week!

Jon and Lisa Ferland

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What are We Most Excited About for Authors in Web3?

why are we excited for authors on web3

2 min, 8 sec reading time

Last week, we sent out a deep dive focused on StoryPrima DAO. As we mentioned then, we are very impressed with their dual focus areas.

Their first goal is to help authors launch their books using NFTS by educating authors and readers and incubating projects.

Their second goal is to create content to spark discussions within the web3 and literature communities. 

Their new podcast series is a huge part of that, and luckily, they were able to get some pretty good-looking and super smart guests for their 7th episode on Wednesday.

(Hint, it was us!)

We were super excited to talk with the team there and enjoyed the conversation with Devin and Barry. 

We think you will enjoy the entire discussion, but we wanted to give you the highlights below:

Topics we discussed:

1) Differences between Web2 Kickstarter/Patreon vs. Crypto

The main difference between web2 and web3 is that in web2, you’re exchanging money for a product. In web3, you can exchange money for equity and invest in an indie publisher or small press.

Both models can have long-term patronage and co-creation, but it’s only in web3 that facilitates easy investment for equity.

2) What determines an author’s success in the web3 space?

Devin: Lisa, with your experience guiding authors in the self-publishing space to raise money for their projects, what are the things you think might be technical barriers to authors joining web3 today?

Lisa: I think the authors anywhere who are most successful are the ones who are willing to experiment and try new things and persevere. I think those are the core qualities for taking on anything. Of course, you have to have a good story, but if you have no readers, it doesn’t matter. So you have to embrace putting yourself out there, explaining why your story is wonderful, fantastic, transformative, etc., and translate the value to the reader. 

Web3 is no different than web2, and if you try to shortcut or do things out of order, you’re just going to stumble and Bumble and take ten times as long. If you build up your audience and build excitement and buzz, you’ll have a big launch no matter what platform you’re launching on.

3) What are we most excited about for authors in web3?

Suppose self-published authors want to direct their community to web3 for the opportunity to participate in a new kind of equity-based model or invite their readers to invest in them as a writer or creator. In that case, that’s a great way to build an authorship business.

Also, what about read-to-earn? That’s a great idea that incentivizes both authors and readers to join the web3lit space and consume stories in a new way.

We also think dynamic art or dynamic storytelling is possible in web3 in a way that isn’t possible currently. The possibilities are endless.

4) How long will it be until a web3 author gets a Pulitzer or a mainstream award in the future?

Lisa: I think it’s tough because traditional publishing really looks down upon alternate ways of storytelling and is reluctant to make big moves outside the box. I’d rather see web3 authors create their own awards than seek the validation of the traditional literature gatekeepers.

This space moves quickly and you won’t want to miss a thing! 

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4 Ways in Which StoryPrima DAO Educates and Accelerates Authors on Web3

4 min, 35 sec reading time

One of the most common phrases you’ll hear if you spend as much time as we do in crypto-Twitter (note – not recommended!) is – “We’re so early!!!”

The phrase is an invitation to everyone who hasn’t been mining bitcoin from their basement since 2014 that they haven’t missed out on all the fun times to come.

It also warns people that the space isn’t fully mature yet, and there are hurdles ahead. Technologies are improving with each innovation, but the road is still unpaved.

If you step away from the space for a month or two, you’ll be blown away by the changes you see when you come back.

Exponential growth and development are especially true with StoryPrima DAO, which launched in March 2022.

Last week, we discussed the potential of DAOs. If you haven’t read that yet, you can here.

It’s important to remember that DAOs are like neighborhoods. The communities will be different, so be sure to do your research to find your people.

What’s great about StoryPrima is that you can get a really good sense of their personalities, mission, and approach to web3lit from their podcast.

Click here to listen: #STORYFIRST Podcast
(We’ll be guests on this podcast in a few days!)

Intro & Background 

StoryPrima DAO started after the founders of “Legends of Cypher” created their story-led NFT project. While doing so, they realized that writers in web3 required more assistance. 

As they write on their site, their DAO was “founded to help make the journey of other individuals and teams seeking to harness NFTs to drive powerful and enduring storytelling easier.” 

Their goal is to give authors “tools, resources, and funding to help them develop rich, story-oriented NFT projects.”

Building a Web3 Publishing House

If you build it, they will come

StoryPrima announced that their first research publication will be a “census and taxonomy of story-oriented NFT projects” published this summer. So we are looking forward to seeing what they eventually publish.  

Their podcast is exciting, and they have released seven episodes so far, all delivering on their promise to “highlight the mavericks who are leveraging the power of NFTs to tell the blockbuster stories of tomorrow.”  

Image Credit: https://storyprima.io

We generally listen to one crypto-related podcast each morning when we walk the dog, and their episodes feature entertaining and thought-provoking conversations.

If you’re interested in learning more about the importance of stories in the NFT world, check out their episode on “How to Build a Blockbuster Franchise.”

Also, their interview about “AI & Community-Powered web3 stories” raised many questions about how AI and web3 technologies can be combined in the future.

Overall, the “getting readers excited” workstreams are off to a promising start, which should create a DEMAND for story-led projects.

For all the Authors in the House

If you’re an author who is interested in web3 for future publishing projects, then you’ll want to head to StoryPrima’s website for more information and contact them if you want to join their DAO.

StoryPrima states that their goal is to educate authors by explaining the “benefits and drawbacks” of web3 technologies and business models. 

StoryPrima can provide authors with a safe place to learn how web3 unlocks new community engagement and storytelling capabilities. 

It can also ensure that authors understand the “chaotic NFT market” demands and don’t expect that simply launching an NFT of their book will make them a million dollars overnight. 

Educating writers about realistic expectations will benefit the whole space and bring much-needed content and readers to the space.  

Attracting Readers to web3

StoryPrima DAO is also focused on building a readership for the writers within their DAO. This is unique as some other DAOs are focused on the more technical aspects of web3lit.

Building a readership is core to every publishing project and if you can have DAO community members help you with that aspect of your publishing journey, that’s a huge value add.

Incubating Selected Publishing Projects

StoryPrima DAO plans on offering an incubation program for projects selected by the DAO members themselves.  

While the application process isn’t yet finalized, the goal is to provide up-front investment to the project in exchange for “royalty or revenue shares.”  

In other words, an advance.  

This is very common in the traditional publishing world, but now the book deal decision-makers aren’t a major publishing house – they are anyone holding a Prima Token.  

Because we care about you, we promise NOT to go into the technical details of how they create and allocate these tokens (i.e., what is known as token economics or, more commonly, tokenomics.) 

Just know that holding these tokens will allow someone to help make strategic decisions in the organization (i.e., which projects to incubate). 

The tokens will be able to be traded for other crypto coins (i.e., Ethereum or Bitcoin), which can be exchanged for actual money. 

(Note – StoryPrima has a lot of details on their site that do go into these details if you want further reading.) 

Is StoryPrima Similar to a Traditional Publisher? Well, not really.

Last week, we showed some examples of how DAOs can be considered the “corporations of web3.” Now let’s see how that works with StoryPrima. 

Traditional publishing houses are corporations that identify books they think should be published. They then (may or may not) help promote and market the books to readers.  

Web3 publishing houses (i.e., StoryPrima DAO) are decentralized and empower the community to identify books they think should be published. 

Using their established podcast, social media, and community members, book promotion will be a DAO-led effort.

One notable difference is that anyone passionate about publishing in web3 can help make decisions for the DAO, while traditional publishing decision-making is top-down.

Hopefully, this can allow amazing new authors to connect with the communities waiting for their stories authentically.  

Summary

We know we’re so early, and StoryPrima DAO launched in early 2022, so there is a lot of potential there. 

It’ll be great to see how they grow in the future.

By focusing their priorities on growing the demand side (i.e., readers) and the supply side (i.e., authors) of web3lit, they are creating the potential for a “virtuous flywheel.”

  • Have a great story
  • Promote Story on Podcast/Media Channels
  • The story reaches passionate readers and is a financial success
  • More authors hear about it and become interested in the web3lit space
  • Incubate more great stories and begin again

Overall, we think this DAO would be great for anyone with publishing industry experience who is disenfranchised, frustrated, or recently quit their publishing job. 

 Also, this DAO is perfect for any author with talent, passion, and a niche audience currently underrepresented by traditional publishing.

Be sure to contact them for more information about what it means to join StoryPrima DAO.

Website: https://storyprima.io/

Podcast: https://storyprima.io/story-first-podcast/

Twitter: @storyprima_dao

This space moves quickly and you won’t want to miss a thing! 

We put out new web3lit articles every Friday.

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Can DAOs disrupt traditional publishing as we know it today?

2 min, 45 sec reading time

We understand if your eyes immediately glaze over in confusion when you hear the term DAO, but we think this overview is worthwhile. 

Web3Lit DAOs are still very, very new, but we can only imagine what they can offer to authors and readers over the long term. 

In all honesty, we believe DAOs can help web3 disrupt and redefine the publishing industry.

Because this is a bit of an “out-there” topic, we’re going to do a quick intro to the idea of DAOs today with the promise to do a Deep Dive next week.

annakin and padme meme about dao complexity

Background

 

 

There are two high-level views of DAOs right now:

1) They are “group chats with bank accounts”

OR

2) they are an “essential tool in the new set of crypto-economic primitives that will change how humanity coordinates capital and resources.”

DAO vs Company_Aragon
Image Credit: https://aragon.org/

While they differ in scale, both describe the idea of a “web3-native” business.

And based on what is taking place in the crypto-marketspace, that seems to be about right. 

While some of these businesses are smaller – more like collectives or co-ops – a number of them are big businesses that have millions or even billions of dollars in their bank account (treasury).

They work in very different ways than traditional companies as well. Instead of a traditional hierarchy of processes and rules, DAOs are much “looser.” 

DAO members can decide what projects to fund, what decisions to make, and even how much contributors are paid. 

And lastly, DAOs are being found across almost every industry. 

This DAO Landscape graphic shows a bit of the complexity – and it was completed in the summer of 2021 – BEFORE DAOs really became popular.

Image Credit: https://coopahtroopa.mirror.xyz/

Now you can easily find DAOs that:

1) Run Podcasts (we are part of this!) – https://www.rehashweb3.xyz/

2) Launch Wall Street style investment tools – https://indexcoop.com/ https://syndicate.io/

3) Fund big projects that benefit the Open Web – https://gitcoin.co/

4) Are trying to buy a professional sports team https://www.krausehouse.club/ or a country club https://linksdao.io/

5) Fund BioTech Longevity research https://www.vitadao.com/

6) Create a crypto-media network 

7) Literally anything…there is a DAO for basically everything now! 

(We even joined a DAO that tried to buy a copy of the US Constitution so that it could be kept in a museum for everyone to see…that didn’t work out so well.)

Overall, DAOs create a super democratized approach for how people work together to develop businesses within the crypto/web3 space. 

 It can get MUCH more complicated than what we’ve described, but we’ve promised not to go too deep here. 

If you want further reading, feel free to dig into these articles:

 

With all that said, what do DAOs mean for web3lit?

Glad you asked!

Get excited for next week when we dive into StoryPrima DAO and what that could mean for the future of publishing.  

This space moves quickly and you won’t want to miss a thing! 

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How Tales of Elatora uses Dynamic NFTs and Gaming to Keep Readers Engaged

illustration of a polar bear holding a spear NFT in tales of elatora

By: Jonathan Ferland | Estimated reading time 7 minutes

Web3Lit Deep Dive of the Week
Tales of Elatora

Imagine the creative possibilities if your readers could own artwork that changes over time.

What if one of your characters starts off as a beautiful princess living in a castle on a hill. As the reader progresses through the story, the princess gets drawn into battle and she becomes a fierce warrior.

She trades her jeweled crown for a messy braid and mud-smeared face. Her smile turns grim as she defends her kingdom on the battlefield.

Your reader who buys the artwork at the beginning of the story refreshes their OpenSea account and watches the artwork transform over time. The beautiful princess is now the battle-tested warrior.

Not only is this possible, but that’s what is currently happening in Web3Lit with dynamic (programmable) NFT artwork.

Writers are customizing their character artwork, cover designs, and more based on seasons, time of day, and story progression.

In our Deep Dive of the Week, we explore how Tales of Elatora (ToE) uses dynamic NFT artwork AND gaming to keep their readers engaged with the story and one another.

The possibilities are endless and only available through Web3Lit.

In their words, “Tales of Elatora is an NFT story and RPG that launched April 2022. Featuring 22 different animals, each part of a Faction (Buntai or Gundan), carrying unique traits and a specific role.”

Overall, we believe that Tales of Elatora provides a wide range of inspiration for people new to the space and those trying to understand what makes Web3Lit different from Web2 (or even Web1!).

The Story

visual categories of content creation in web3lit

ToE is a “story-led NFT” project with a well-thought out lore, including maps of the Elatora world and deep dives of their factions and spirits that are central to the story. 

They have also made the first three chapters of the book freely available on the site so anyone interested can check out the story before collecting one of the NFTs. 

In addition to the written story, they are also coming out with audiobook options.

cartoon illustration of a wolf-like creature holding a skull in a tree staff

Cool Stuff that they offer that wouldn’t be possible without Web3

Side note: When people first started hearing about NFTs, the majority were static image/art NFT.

Over time, Web3 projects released Dynamic NFTs to keep collectors engaged over time. These dynamic NFTs are programmable and can change appearance based on the season, time of day, or any situation to reflect what is happening in the story. 

Imagine if your ebook cover design changed from a daytime scene to a nighttime scene based on the time of day? This technology allows for artists to be even more creative with their digital work. 

ToE uses programmable/dynamic NFTs to enhance the reader experience and provide utility in both the story and role-playing game.

Vince Macmahon meme about swappable NFTs

Programmable Art NFTs

illustration of a polar bear holding a spear NFT in tales of elatora

When you first mint your NFT you get “2 for the price of 1” (except for transaction fees) with both a character NFT and a weapon NFT.  

Because they are split into two distinct NFTs, users can swap or trade with other members to switch their features and further customize their characters.  

So, if you started off with the Polar Bear with a Spear, you could trade with your Otter friend to get a battle ax.

This leads to more personalization and community engagement overall.

illustrated otter with a battle axe

So while the great Otter image above shows the character in the daytime, by refreshing the metadata (easily done on OpenSea), the art will update to show “Elatora time” (i.e. shifting from day to sunset to night views).   

That’s fun! 

Both of these dynamic strategies are really creative ways of customizing your NFTs that we haven’t seen in many other projects, while also adding a lot of “wow” factor.  

This type of dynamic art could be used in really innovative ways – potentially changing hair, makeup, clothing, character age or anything else that ties in with the story.

Maybe the art could change based on how far the reader has gotten into the book?  

As further reading if you are technical and/or really interested in the space, I’d highly recommend this article by Unlock Protocol. 

Unlock Protocol is an amazing team (honestly – so impressive!) that offers open-source technology “designed to streamline membership benefits for online communities” and was used by ToE to build out their Dynamic NFTs. 

In the article, they go deep into the how the logic works for everything. It confused us, but was really well-written and thorough! 

Co-Creation and Gaming

In addition to the NFT technology they used, they also created multiple ways to USE the NFTs.  

The first is one of our favorites Web3Lit use cases – allowing NFT holders to co-create the story.

With ToE, anyone with an NFT can “vote on the storyline at the end of each chapter as it’s being written.”

While we were pretty familiar with the story co-creation idea, this next idea was something we had never seen from any other project and really caught our eye. 

This unique feature is a “text & image” based Role Playing Game (RPG) run through Discord.

As they describe it, “our game allows all NFT holders to explore Elatora in a fun, different way. The game checks your crypto wallet and sees which NFTs you have. You will then play the Faction and Class that your avatar has. Besides getting to know our world better, the game also allows us to give away fun prizes and rewards.”

We love the story+game idea for three reasons: 

  1. ToE understands their target community and delivers interesting ways for readers to interact with the characters in an immersive setting.

     

  2. This project provides both reason and incentive to purchase multiple NFTs since they can be used in the game.

    The Dynamic NFT technology uses your character avatar and (interchangeable) weapon NFTs. This enables you to use your NFTs in new and fun ways as you go (assuming we understood everything correctly).

     

  3. The project keeps the community engaged while the story is being written. Writing a story like this can’t be rushed too much – quality is essential!

    But this means that chapters (and voting) can take weeks or months before the next update. In most projects, this means that community members don’t really have a reason to login to the Discord Channel and communicate with each other.


    But like having a pool table in a basement when teenagers live in the house – the interactive game means that there is still something for them to do and a reason for them to engage and build a really tight-knit community.

Stuff that could be done without Web3

Community Building

As always, community building is the hardest and most important part of any project.

ToE has a few unique ways that they are trying to create a passionate community and opportunities for co-creation. 

The first is the “buy more, get more” bundle strategy. While most people will start with the one NFT option (which gives the benefits we’ve talked through today), they’ve also outlined 3 other premium bundles.

Based on how many NFTs a collector acquires, they can get:

  • Minted Artwork
  • Character role in the Book (*note, this is interesting and something we will touch on in future weeks for other projects)
  • A “house” in Elatora that would be included in the book/game
  • A town named after you in the book/game!

Similar to tiered crowdfunding rewards, this allows more passionate investors to invest more and receive additional value-add.  

NFT tiers of tales of elatora

The also build community by acknowledging new collectors on Twitter.

While this will be tough to maintain as the community grows and eventually sells out, it’s a really nice, welcoming feature now. 

Lastly, as part of our research for this deep dive, we’ve recently joined the Discord Channel, and it appears to be a very positive, energetic and passionate group. A fun community is exactly what you would want to see in a project like this!

Summary

Overall, Tales of Elatora provides a wide range of inspiration for people new to the space and trying to understand what makes Web3Lit different than its predecessors.

They do a great job of combining some “traditional” literature tools (i.e. reward tiers) with some really innovative and effective ways of utilizing new Web3 technologies.  

Even compared to the majority of Web3-native projects, their usage of Unlock Protocol’s dynamic NFT technologies and the game they created really sets them apart from the crowd. 

All-in-all, this project provides a roadmap for how innovative, independent, and story-led NFT projects can launch.

We are very impressed with their ability to take on high-quality story writing AND game development simultaneously. 

We also acknowledge that it takes a lot of grace to turn over creative decisions to your community.

Not many writers want to put too many creative decisions in the hands of their readers, and we are impressed that ToE is so engaged with their community.


We are really excited to see where the project goes in the future!

Important links:

https://talesofelatora.com/

https://twitter.com/talesofelatora

https://discord.com/invite/bfze56AJ3V

 

High-level Summary of Tales of Elatora

Tales of Elatora is a story-led NFT project that allows for extensive community engagement and co-creation. Not only can NFT holders trade weapons and characters that are part of the world, but they can also direct the storyline and interact with fellow community members in both story and role-playing game.

ToE is unique in that by using Unlock Protocol as their technological platform, the NFTs are programmable, making them customizable for the NFT holder. Similar to outfitting a character in a game, you can swap out their weapons based on the NFTs you hold, which grants them different powers in the game.

Who Might Be Interested in This Model

A story with a broad universe of characters and elements that readers might want to swap/exchange. This could be anything from changing clothing, weapons, hairstyles, makeup, you name it! If you have a world of characters or features that you want to program into your NFTs, you have a lot of options.

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