In this episode of #StoryFirst we're joined by Rae Wojcik and Stephen Poynter, creators of Sitka World. This is a Web3-influenced storytelling project in two parts:
- Community: "A place for writers in web3 seeking to find work, grow a brand, or launch a web3 project."
- Story: A multi-part fictional story focused on Sitka Frost, who is "on an ambitious mission to bring justice to the North while concealing peculiar budding talents. Sitka’s dreams of impressing the Nobles are thrust aside when she becomes a suspect in a mysterious accident. Suddenly, she finds herself the subject of a scrutiny that could jeopardize not only her hidden powers, but the future of her people."
In the podcast, Rae and Stephen discuss:
- Why traditional Web2 and publishing gatekeepers are barriers to innovation
- The promise and challenges of creating Web3 story-focused communities
- The role of NFTs in the project and how they are being used to fuel the initiative
Speaker 1: I hate to use the word inevitable, because I think that can encourage a sort of like deterministic thinking like, oh, we'll just wait around and happen. Like, no things will only happen if we make it happen. That's why we're here. We need to keep on working. But I do think it's very likely that web three will become the norm for how creators interact with their audiences. We see it happening in film more. We see it happening in music more. We see it started to happen in publishing. We're still earlier in the adoption curve for publishing. When I was at the NFT NYC conference, they had different sort of tracks or categories for the speaking sessions and they had one category for film. They had one category for music. They didn't have one for publishing yet. I would hope or maybe expect that next year, that would change. But like we see in those other industries like film and music, and more broadly with a lot of, um, you know, just art collectable, community focused and FTD is that, you know, there's a new way for fans to drag with artists, whether that's a visual artist or, um, a writing artist or, um, audio, visual media artist, whatever sort of art, because in the old web two platform centered world, we've, we've just kind of taken it for granted collectively a society that platforms can control the internet.
Speaker 2: Welcome to story first, a podcast where we shine a light on the web three Mavericks that are leveraging the power of narrative to create immersive NFT world. We investigate the art and science of story building through insightful interviews with creators, collectors, and investors. For those who seek a richer NFT experience. This is your portal to a vivid new realm of fiction. Story. First is a production of story. Prima doubt, whose mission is to encourage the growth and success of story focused NFT projects through research, education and project incubation story prima do brings you the blockbusters of tomorrow.
Speaker 3: Hello and welcome to the story. First podcast. My name is Devin Sawyer and I am joined by my esteem co-host and co-founder Barry Donaldson, AKA crayons Barry say hello? Hello, good morning. Good evening. Together. We represent story prima, which is a decentralized autonomous organization with a mission to accelerate the growth and success of story focused NFT projects through media research and project incubation today on the story first podcast, we welcome Steven and Ray from the Sitka community. The Sitka saga is an upcoming fantasy tri that has been in the works for over a decade and will be published first on the blockchain. It is part of the Sitka world, a web three brand for creative white writers to improve their craft and bring the magic of storytelling to web three. We're very excited to learn more about the Syco world story and the broad broader ecosystem being built by the team in web three. So let's jump in Ray, like to hear from you. Um, tell us a little bit about yourself, your origin story. What brought you into web web web three and, um, the Syco world.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Hi guys here. Um, yeah, I guess I'll just start with the brief overview of why we started web three and then Ray could share more about the origins of the story itself. So rays really the author and the creative force behind this. Um, I'm just here along for the ride, I guess, in terms of helping to bring it to fruition in web three. Uh, my background's more in finance and, um, web three and helping to build projects. I've started a number of different businesses, marketing, stuff like that. And so I was really just been captivated by the story that Ray has written, uh, cuz she's always been a writer like ever since she was a kid, just would love to tinker with words and create these stories and characters in her mind. And this sit saga is I think a really cool sort of unique fantasy story.
Speaker 1: And I'm like, there's gotta be just like a cool fun way to be able to incorporate that in web three, cuz I think there's a big need for that. I see a lot of web three projects that, you know, they maybe have really cool art. They build cool community, they have all these cool ideas, but there's not a lot of real story or character development there. It seems maybe a little bit random, a little disjointed, a little bit shallow, a little bit rushed. Right. And I was thinking like, you know, what, if we could bring a real deep story like with good characters that people actually care about and want to, uh, get invested in a world building sort of process and, and build a brand on that. So kind of what we're calling a story first idea, which I think is very much in line with what story prima is all about is, um, you know, have starting with a good story instead of just kind of slapping on some sort of two paragraphs of lo backstory on a project and calling it good cause then community disappears a week after Minton people. Wonder why. So we're I kind of see this as an experiment almost in this sort of story first ethos and bringing quality storytelling two web three, but um, yeah, I'll let you share a little bit more when first on the itself, like what is this fantasy world who are the characters or does it matter to
Speaker 4: You? Yeah, so going back, I started, I've been writing pretty much my whole life. I work as a freelance journalist, freelance copywriter book editor. Um, but I've also been really interested in writing my own book. So I started writing this series, um, over, I would say over 10 years ago was when I first had the idea and started to develop this story. Um, and I had, um, the characters just came to me right away, but it took a while to really find, um, the theme and heart of the story. And a lot of that came when I studied abroad in Scotland and I took a class called the psychology of evil, um, which is basically the study of how good people or um, like what we call good people come to be involved in atrocities. You know, when you look back in history and there's these periods of horrible things happening and you know, people say like, how could people have just stood by and let all of this happen?
Speaker 4: Um, so the class really sought to answer that question. Um, and that really got me fascinated by, um, like the psychology of how that happens, the psychology of villains and how to apply that to, um, my own work. So it was after taking that class that I really started to formulate, um, the story around this. And as I started to develop this more and more, um, I came to realize that the heart of the story is about like bringing out the magic within you, cuz all of us have so many things. Um, our talents, our ambitions, our personalities, a lot of things that don't always fit into. Um, what society says is okay even, and for me personally, um, I had grown up or I had grown up, um, going to church. And then when I was in college had gotten involved in like a pretty strict, um, evangelical church group where I felt personally like I could not be myself and that there are so many strict rules where I was not able to flourish.
Speaker 4: It was basically a cult
Speaker 4: And just realizing like with the options that are there right now, you're either kind of selling all of your work. Basically either two are traditional publishing company or to Amazon. Like those are kind of your choices you have to work with. And I was like, Hey, this is really like, the story itself is really about, um, being your best self really about community. Maybe I could find another way to publish that's focused on community and focused on helping people grow their story. So started to look into serial publishing and then eventually that research brought me to web three and that would be in, you know, December of 2021 that kind of had the idea of like, Hey, what if we turned this book into a whole brand to publish in web three? And that's, I guess the rest is history,
Speaker 3: As I say,
Speaker 3: Amazing. Love it. Um, I love that. Um, first of all, thank you for, um, joining us. I know you've got a cold, um, I do. That's why my voice down the cold. Yeah. Uh, you do sound great, but thank you for, for, for, for being on with us. Yeah. Despite the cold and share your story. It's it's a great one. Um, so, so yeah, so here you are, you find yourself building a brand in web three community kind of at the center of that. Um, so you know, maybe this is a question for you, Steven, tell us a little bit, bit about what is your view on the market for web three and the NFT space and why is, um, why is publishing a brand, a story, a narrative, uh, like Sitka world fitting, um, for the web three market?
Speaker 1: Yeah, I definitely, I mean, clearly elephant in the room is that markets haven't been too great recently. Right. And even qualities have struggled to mint out. And so that's a reality that we have to recognize. And I don't think there's any point trying to fight or deny that. So like for us, we're in no rush to launch because we want to wait until markets are more stable or growing just from a purely sort of business strategic standpoint, however long term, I'm a firm believer in the reality of web three and what it brings to the table and that it will, I hate to use the word inevitable because I think that can encourage a sort of like deterministic thinking like, oh, we'll just wait around and happen. Like no things will only happen if we make it happen. That's why we're here. We need to keep on working.
Speaker 1: But I do think it's very likely that web three will become the norm for how creators interact with their audiences. We see it happening in film more. We see it happening in music more. We see it started to happen in publishing. We're still earlier in the adoption curve for publishing. When I was at the NFT NYC conference, they had different sort of tracks or categories for the speaking sessions and they had one category for film. They had one category for music. They didn't have one for publishing yet. I would hope or maybe expect that next year, that would change. But like we see in those other industries like film and music and more broadly with a lot of, um, you know, just art collectable, community focused NFTs is that, you know, there's a new way for fans to track with artists, whether that's a visual artist or, um, a writing artist or, um, audio, visual media artist, whatever sort of art, because in the old web two platform centered world, we've, we've just kind of taken it for granted collectively a society that platforms can control the internet, you know, look at Facebook or Google or Amazon, you know, the big tech and apple, the big tech companies, they run the operating systems, they run the app stores, they run the, um, aggregators and distributors of all the content.
Speaker 1: So Spotify for music, um, Instagram for ultimately a lot of photographers, um, you know, YouTube or for videos. And so we kind of have with that platform centered world, there's been pros to it. Like it makes it very easy and accessible for anyone to publish content, but there's, it's very hard to monetize if almost impossible to monetize the big tech platforms, they don't really give you that much of the money. They, they usually keep it all for themselves or give you a, a pretty small percentage like Spotify. It's like 10% goes to the singer songwriter for Amazon. Uh, unless you go exclusive through them. And a lot of writers don't for valid reasons. Um, Amazon will take 65% of your book royalties for eBooks, for audiobooks it's even worse. They take up to 80%, uh, for audible. And so, so they take most of the money.
Speaker 1: They control the content, you know, they, their algorithms control which content as well, which doesn't, you kind of have to try to play by the rules and play into their algorithm and they can censor things. You know, you get kicked off their platform if you don't play by the rules. So it's just, it's, it's kind of like some creators are starting to wake up and realize, do we actually want to live enslaved to these monolithic big tech companies? Like who said that they should have the say over how my businesses run and the content I produce and how I connect with my audience and how I monetize that audience. Um, and similarly for viewers or readers, it's not always a good experience to be locked that platform, right? Like if you buy a book on Amazon Kindle, you don't even really own the book in the way you would own an NFT. You're just kinda licensing the right to be able to read it or a physical book what's that,
Speaker 5: Or a physical book. Like if it's done my bookshelf, I can't come change it
Speaker 1: True. And so you kind of get locked into say the Kindle reading app platform. And if Amazon were to de-list that book, or if you were to lose access to your account, for whatever reason, I'm not saying that you would necessarily lose access to your account, but it's, but it's the fact is you are now locked in. You can't go to a competitor, you can't decide, oh, I, now I on a nook device and I'm gonna transfer my books to the like, Amazon will let you do that. Right? So you don't really own the book. You are just paying Amazon for the right to get locked into their platform.
Speaker 1: So on both the content consumer side and the creator side, I think web three really provides opportunities for real ownership and, um, cutting out the middleman essentially, which provides more, um, you know, financial rewards. And then you can get into the secondary market royalties. You can do royalties sharing with your listeners or readers, you know, so you really have, it's more like a co-op, you know, where the, everyone that's consuming the con and also has an ownership stake in it. And you're kind of more directly relating with the consumers instead of having the middleman. That's also the tax man controlling everything. So that's kinda my big picture. Longwinded answered your question of why I did picture and for web. No,
Speaker 3: That's great. I actually think you, um, I don't think it was long winded. I think you summed it up quite well. There's a lot of, there's a lot of content in the narrative about why web three is a new and better internet. I think, you know, big part of what we believe is that there's a lot of education that needs to happen within the communities. Um, not only, you know, the existing NFT communities that are, you know, there, um, for the large part, because of there's a speculative opportunity to invest in a project and see the big returns, you know, the BOR eight Yaka club dream of 10,000, Xing your investment in a particular NFT project. We've seen a lot of that, certainly with our, our, our, um, incubator project, legends of cipher, you know, we, we find that we're competing almost against some of these big speculative projects, but, and that's why we started the story first podcast.
Speaker 3: And that's why you have a similar ethos, that the story comes first at sick the world. But I want get your view. Um, you alluded a little bit the current market context, but the kind of current market context where, you know, there's a pull back in floors of sort of dropped out of the pricing of some of the NFTs in an equalized market where, where, where it's healthy. Do you, do you see, or have you experienced that it's, uh, a tougher time, a more difficult, a more challenging time to create awareness for projects like yours that are really focused on the story first. Um, any thoughts around that? Is it harder to get a get awareness among the community when you're really above the story and not about the, the flipping of the NFT?
Speaker 1: I guess I entirely understand what you're asking. Are you asking in this bear market, is it harder for us to build community and kind of marketing awareness because of the bear market?
Speaker 3: Well, I was actually thinking of bear market aside, you know, considering how it was before the pull back, but I, I like where you're going. So maybe I'll make it a two parter if I could clarify. Um, so yeah, in a, in a normal market condition where, where the floors are healthy, where there's lots of activity in trading NFTs, did you find it harder or do you think it's harder for projects that are focused on the story to break through among other speculative type of NFT projects?
Speaker 1: Gotcha. Yeah. I mean, I don't know that we have a ton of experience with that because we didn't do a whole lot of marketing or grills before the bear market. So we kind of pick a poor time to launch or what might seem like a part-time to launch. Um, actually though in some ways, what I do think is true is that growth is slower because, um, there's a lot less attention in this space, right? So like we've done Twitter spaces with brands or partners that have thousands of followers. And during the bull market might have easily gotten a hundred people in a Twitter space and now like six people show up. Right, right. Because I think just a lot of people are kind of checked out of the space, whether they're just on vacation or working at McDonald's
Speaker 1: Right. They aren't. So it actually, I think that this is an ideal time to launch really for our community, because we don't want to just have a thousand random NFT flippers join our discord overnight. You know, we want people to be coming in that actually care about the story and care about writing and care about kind of our mission of what we're doing, which we could get into later. But our kind of broader vision is to help bring more storytelling to web three brands. And so I think it's easier in that we're getting more quality people, even though it's slower, but the other way that is easier in a bear market is getting access to project founders, right. Cause during a bull market, when there's 50 projects launching a day and everyone's getting ARD with hundreds of DMS a day, right. It, it can be harder to kind of claw through that noise and re and get, reach out to people and get a response, you know, and not just get buried in message request.
Speaker 1: Um, whereas I feel like now when things are a little more slower, slower paced, it's generally fairly accessible to be able to get through to project founders that we're interested in collaborating with or talking with, um, because there's not quite as much going on. So I think it's, um, I guess that more answer though, B bull versus bear market in terms of though, do I think that people are more interested because we're a story based project I'd say. So, um, I mean, I don't have, I haven't started any other NFT projects, so I don't have others to compare it to from a founder perspective, but, um, but everyone I've talked to seems very intrigued by our story, what we're doing. And there's only, I would say two other projects that come to mind that I know of that are story first, truly where they have an actual book or movie, or like real IP and characters. They've built out that they're now wanting to bring to the blockchain, like the vast, vast majority of them of projects out there. You know, they're starting with an idea with a community with artwork or whatever, and then they might try to incorporate story. And so I think the fact that we really have a story has intrigued a lot of people in there and it does kind of, I think, spark more interest and set us apart. So what,
Speaker 5: What, what are the other two story, uh, projects?
Speaker 1: Um, the two that come to mind and I'm not saying there's certainly maybe others out there, but just not ones that maybe I know of, uh, lost children of a Dramat mm-hmm
Speaker 5: Like this, this to me highlights one of the biggest problems that we like us for. And then the everybody else working in this space are facing. Cause we, we launched our project. The first thing we launched with legend decipher was like a 60 page develop. And you guys all know about it. And you also, like we've been working on talking to the guys of Don omega runner and the first thing they're pushing out is a comic book, uh, with it's all about the story there's there, there are other, the problem is it's so hard to find other story based projects like it's, so there, there's not like a Barnes and noble or an Amazon where you can go find these projects, these people like they're passionate about their story and their art and not about flipping and floors and whatnot. It's crazy how difficult it is. The only place is freaking Twitter, which is not reliable for such things. So yeah, like a need like a bookstore for blockchain projects.
Speaker 1: For sure. And I think it will come with time, but I think it's just that building good stories takes time as you know, right. Um, like it takes. Yeah,
Speaker 5: But it's, it's not just, it's not just that it takes good time. It's hard to find them, even if they have a fashion, like a passionate group of like followers, right? Like, uh, the, the omega runner folks, I dunno, they got like 4,005 people are discord. Good story. But it's, it's hard to get the word out to everybody. You, I guess it's just difficult.
Speaker 3: Well, if I, yeah, I think you
Speaker 4: As a developer and wants to develop an NFT bookstore, start on
Speaker 5: It. Yes, please. That's a good idea. I like that.
Speaker 3: Yeah. I think there's, you know, there's, there's out, you know, when you talked a little bit about this Steven, the, the existing centralized platforms, the original benefit to the consumer, um, and to the, to the, to the author, trying to reach audience was this opportunity, a destination that you could go and search and, and discover right at their discovery platforms, that's their original value proposition. But then over time they become behemoth platforms, um, monolithic, as you described them to visit.
Speaker 1: I think we lose that discovery value over time too, as they become saturated. I mean, now there's millions of books in Amazon. So does listing one get you discovered? No. Like you have to do your own marketing and your own brand building anyways. So,
Speaker 3: Which kind of is the good segue to the web three model, which is well a decentralized, um, uh, platform. If you want to call it a platform it's decentralized, it allows for discovery in the exact same way without the need for the publisher at the center, we're not dependent on the publisher's servers and algorithms and whatnot. We can, we can kind of create it from scratch. So I'm interested to maybe pivot to, to, um, maybe a little bit of discussion around community since that's part of the origin as to why web three for Syco world. Tell us a little bit about, um, what you've been doing to build community. Um, how's it going? You mentioned that the people you've talked to are intrigued by the idea that your story first wanna pull on that string a little more, just tell us a little bit about your efforts around building community and anything you've learned on that journey.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Well, I think we start with why we're building community or the maybe two part vision to our community, and then I could get into our efforts at doing that. But yeah, the one side, which I think we touched on a little bit before is the idea of building community around our story. Right? And, and I think helpful analogy is like, I mean, Harry Potter launched JK row and like Warner brothers or whoever had the rights to the films and such like they start, they started being a lot of popup websites in groups like hundreds or thousands of forums and chat rooms, or people were geeking out about Harry Potter. And at first J rowing and Warner brothers and stuff, they were concerned about that. And they started to try to shut those down thinking we need to take legal action. Right. And cuz all these people they're using are IP without our permission.
Speaker 1: And then of course they realized not too long into it, that that was a futile endeavor and a stupid one because you want to encourage that community talk and growth about your brand. Like you want community members to feel like it's their own, like a lot of readers and fantasy fans. They don't want to just be a consumer that gets marketed and sold to, and just passively digest information. A lot of them want to actually get involved and contribute to the story, write their fan fiction or dress up as their favorite characters or make their own derivative art or um, you know, geek out, I mean games or role playing games with other friends about the story. Like there's a lot of things that people want to do and right. And that sort of level of involvement is from our standpoint, its something we absolutely want to encourage.
Speaker 1: We don't want to, we certainly don't want to Sue people for, uh, doing that sort of thing. We don't even want to just sit on the sidelines and watch or permit other people on other sites to be doing that. Like we want to actively encourage that. And so that's kind of why we're building our community and we want, uh, you know, we're building out channels and our discord for people to talk about the story. We're actually working with someone to build their own role playing game, like kind of a dungeon and Dragon's tech based style thing. Like we're we really want to encourage all that. So that's one aspect of the community. The other is building a community specifically for writers and not that you have to be a writer to join our community or be part of our project. Uh, we certainly, you know, want people that are just here because they like the story as well.
Speaker 1: But Ray always wanted to do more author coaching and editing. She offers those services on her website. She has a blog called a Northern word stop blog. Whereas she's been writing for years about the writing craft and publishing and, and helping writers. But a blog is also a fairly one-sided format. It's a little more interactive than just having a book on a bookshelf, uh, on Amazon or bookstore. But you still like, you're gonna might get a few likes, might get a few comments, but it's still a hundred times less interactive than say NFT community usually is. So we're working to kind of bring that aspect of things under our brand as well. And building out we're doing workshops. We do like weekly discussions on story development. We do, um, we're building out a whole online course and working to bring in guest speakers is something that on the writing craft and publishing specifically in web three.
Speaker 1: So, so we're really working to build out a lot of value and utility there for writers, um, which also then ties into our Guild of scribes, which is our vision is to be matching writers with web three. So finding web three brands that need help because a lot of them do like we've kind of discussed a lot of them don't have good story. And that doesn't mean you don't have to be story first. You don't have to have a novel or full length feature film made to launch an NFT set, but you do need to incorporate elements of storytelling. I think to be successful in the long term. And there's a lot of ways that can work. We call them story based assets. So that could be a book or film, but it also could be website, lower discord, text, uh, newsletters could be gameplay narrative or game or metaverse integrations.
Speaker 1: It could be interactive fiction for there's like different interactive fiction apps that could be comics, manga, graphic novels. Um, it could be like role playing in your discord where you could have, you know, a moderator being able to like yours, some sort of character from this lo that you've built out. And there's, there's a lot of different ways you can do. You could be discord experiences with, we've actually developed a custom box that, uh, does our discord entry, but there's other applications of it where you can kind have a little choose your own adventure experience and discord. And you could tie that into getting white list spots, right. Instead of just doing a raffle, which is kind of boring and lifeless, you know, what, if you had a little true adventure thing where you get to like find the white list spot. And so there's a lot of, a lot of ways you could word storytelling.
Speaker 1: So I think that some brands kind of think, oh, storytelling that's for other types of projects. We, we aren't really a fantasy or sci-fi brand. We're just a, you know, alpha group or just a, um, networking group or whatever. But any type of brand can incorporate story based assets of some form or another into their brand. And that can be not only fun. It's not just for entertainment value. It's the, the ultimate value is in communicating the why behind your brand communicating like the reason you exist. People don't really care usually about the nuts and bolts of what they buy. I mean, yes, there are some logical buyers, but realistically, most people, they care about our brand. If they get emotionally invested, right? Like people that fight over Ford versus Toyota, right. Or app over windows, or there's gonna be a 10% of those people that actually maybe know all the stats and the, um, specs of which is better in which areas. But most people, they really, at the end of the day have emotional connection or, uh, loyalty to a brand because of what that brand represents and what it means to them and all that. So, so storytelling is really about telling the story of your brand and connecting more emotionally with your audience, which, you know, leads to longevity and loyalty and all that. So,
Speaker 5: Uh, I I'd argue, it reaches out much farther than just, you touched on it at the end, right. But it's much more than just art and, and fiction. It's a, a story of, uh, individual rights, the story of Bitcoin, like the story that gets created around an idea is a thing that gives it life and power because people get tied into it emotionally, like you said, and once they believe in it, they fight for it. So if you can create a good story around an idea and get people to believe in it, then it, it has a better chance of sustaining and moving into the future. So like I stories about the most powerful thing humans have access to. So I think, yeah, so I like what you're doing.
Speaker 4: Yeah. The example I like to give is I love, um, a Swedish YouTuber named Dinton and she and her family make jewelry. So they're essentially a jewelry company, but I care about them because they make blogs about their daily life living in the north of Sweden, all the hardships they endure. So through their vlogs, you come to really care about them and care about their story that, you know, they're not writing any fiction. There's no, you know, fantasy stories behind it, but their story is the story of their lives. It's that emotional connection that then when you think of buying jewelry, you're like, oh, I'll go check out their site first because I feel connected to them.
Speaker 5: It's crazy. Like once, once, once a story has its hooks in you, it's, uh, it's, it's good or bad, whether you're, you know, some bad person or, you know, some good person. Um, it's crazy.
Speaker 1: So yeah, I think stories are hugely powerful and I think just, it is crazy how, how much they're underestimated. Like so many people I think, just think, oh, storytelling, that's just for, you know, some beaks or nerds or writers. And it's like, dude stories are like the most fundamental human cultural phenomenon, right? Like a predates industrial revolution produced internet. It predates, uh, pretty much any technology or civilization, you know, we've always had oral storytelling and that's really what like binds cultures together. If you look at any sort of large institution, whether it's a country or a religion or a sports team, right. Or like anything like that, what it has in common is that those people are bound together with some sort of shared story, right. Some narrative of who they are that gives them identity, that gives them purpose. Like you said, people wanna fight for that. They believe in this narrative that helps them feel a sense of belonging to who they are. Like stories are absolutely what shape everything. And so if you're some sort of project founder and you don't have a story for your brand, then you're really kind
Speaker 3: Little bit about what, what is the story for the audience? How will they come to experience? What will the audience love about the SCA world? Is there any main concepts you can share that might inspire us to engage?
Speaker 4: Uh, I think it really goes back to the idea of bringing out the magic within you, which is connected both to the story like I shared earlier. Um, but also to like our Guild of scribes, you know, helping people who have always, you know, wanted to write, who are talented, who are good at putting in the work to be able to do that, um, helping brands to share, you know, working with them to say, Hey, what's the magic of your brand? You know, how can we share that with the world in a way that helps people to connect? So I would say that that's really the underlying theme behind everything that we're doing.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Where you're asking them more specifically about the story, the, the fantasy trilogy.
Speaker 3: Yeah. What is the, yeah. How could we, how would you sum up the world as a, a concept that, uh, we might find ourselves immersed in, give us the elevator pitch
Speaker 4: Maybe. Oh yeah.
Speaker 3: A long elevator ride,
Speaker 4: Long elevator ride. Um, so I think it goes back to that idea of, um, when we look back at those times in history, when we say there's all these terrible things happening, how could people have just stood aside and let that happen? We always fancy ourselves as being like, I'm, I would've been that if I was there, I would've been that one person who would've been different. Like I would've changed everything. Um, but that's so much harder than you think it is. And especially when your life is on the line, when your family is on the line, when you're li when everything is on the line, it gets a lot harder. Um, but we love those people. You know, we love those people who did do the hard thing and stand up for what's right. Um, so much we call them heroes. And I think that's a huge theme in fiction, um, and fantasy in particular, but in a lot of stories. Um, so like in this book, I think it's really about, um, these couple of people who have the courage to be the people despite putting their lives on the line, despite their, um, you know, getting scrutiny from their families, from their friends, um, to be able to be those heroes because they realize that the cost of staying silent is more than the cost of doing something at the end of the day.
Speaker 1: Yeah. And to back up big picture, to paint the picture for what this is, it's a Northern fantasy. So it's not quite like dragons and Knight and shining Arbor and castles. It's not as medieval as a lot of fantasy, as it's more inspired by Northern like Scandinavia, Scotland, Iceland, Canada,
Speaker 4: In particular, where we live
Speaker 1: In Northern and Northern Minnesota, which, which is very similar to Canada, like it's very different. The rest of the Midwest is kind of flat. Cornfield are pretty boring, but, uh,
Speaker 1: There's always like just the main character happens to stumble into a portal. They go into this magical world, they stay there for most of the story, have a great life, or, you know, do amazing things at the end. They return back to their normal home town. And, and that portal seems to only exist for that one person or the few main characters that it's relevant for, but no one else ever, but in real life, it would probably be discovered by people and authorities. So I, in our world, it's kind of more, um, I don't know, dynamic might say, and there's a sort of, uh, underground black market between the portals and there's like kidnappings. And there's the whole magic system is outlawed by the government as kind of a theocratic dystopian Handmaid's tale type government that rises up in the fantasy world. But then there's, um, they're kind of outline magic, but at the same time, the people in power are benefiting from the magic by kind of siphoning it from people and using it for their own control. So that kinda maybe gives you a little bit a, uh, hint to where the, the storyline goes and such. But yeah, I,
Speaker 4: And it's for the comp titles, I say it's like Outlander meets Harry Potter meets head tale.
Speaker 3: Ah, nice. Love it. And so the audience can head Tosca world.com, um, click through some really cool introduction. And I love that you've kind of set up the different roles. And if you click on the, um, I love a good story. Um, our audience can read a little bit of an introduction to the Syco world. Um, and thank you for sharing. Uh, so with that, I'd like to understand sort of your vision for publishing in web three, obviously the NFT being the technical enabler, talk a little bit about how you're using, um, NFTs for your publishing. How will that work for the community? What am I buying? What am I getting, what am I white listing for and, uh, for the story and the books itself. And then if you're doing anything from AOS perspective, um, for your community Guild of writers, um, just talk a little bit about how you're using the web three tech enablers.
Speaker 1: Yeah. So we are looking for ways to actually publish a manuscript natively on web three. So that was part of, one of our original ideas behind this whole thing is right. How do we maybe have a direct relationship with readers instead of being reliant on Amazon or traditional publishing? Now we are going into a hybrid approach, right? We, the market isn't there yet, the readers aren't there to just have the book solely on web three, but we wanna have that be an option and give our holders basically early access to the manuscript. So people that buy our main NFT will be able to get a copy on the blockchain. We're looking to partner likely with Bitcoin. Um, but there's a few others we've looked into. Um, the, basically the it's main publishing platforms, I'd say in web three that are active in developing real solutions right now are book Bitcoin read and page Dow are, are at least the biggest ones that come to my mind, but page, do they have, it's more of a PDF reader.
Speaker 1: I think it works great for cookbooks or short stories or comics, but not really for a 500 page Novelle because it's what we, you know, what a reader wants is a reading app, like a Kindle reading app, right. That can adjust the font size, save your spot, highlight all that sort of stuff. And so that's more the style that read book Bitcoin are building out. So we are gonna be having manuscripts in that format, but we also will be publishing an Amazon. We'll be doing audible, um, another ebook providers and aggregators. And we are potentially gonna publish traditionally if we can find the right agent. Um, but it would have to be a publisher. That's okay with web three as well. Right? Most of them don't know yet what to do with it. Like they're open to it, but they don't really have strategies laid out.
Speaker 1: And usually they want the full IP. Right. So we wouldn't, we still want to have our own IP rights for the NFT versions. Right. So that's part of it is okay, let's publish in web three and be able to allow readers to actually own the book and resell it. Right? Because normally you can't resell a digital book, but this way you'd actually be able to resell it. And, um, we're also building out a growth is sharing program. So we call it our community authorship program. Our idea is, especially for something like a fantasy world, you want the community to get involved, right? You want the community to be your fan club. Like we best word marketing is word of mouth, right? Like Harry Potter didn't just become successful cuz they had some partnership with Coca-Cola or something. They, um, though they, they had that, but came after it already grew big and it grew big because word of mouth people liked it.
Speaker 1: Right. And people were talking about it. And so, um, our goal is that people that are helping to contribute to the story in small ways, it'll be like some feedback polls, maybe a retweet here. They're just kind of showing that they're involved in helping grow the community and giving their feedback to make the story better, that they can actually then earn royalties. And so then that'll be 50% of all of our royalties from NFT sales, like all the future launches after the initial launch, all the book sales, um, digital or physical that 50% of all the royalties go into a pool. And that pool then is shared to the whole community. Basically you own an NFT, you stake it. And then, um, you earn those royalties by completing tasks. So the more tasks you do, the more royalties you earn. Um, and so that's really a way of getting more community participation, utilizing the tools of web three, right?
Speaker 1: Cuz it can all be automated and tracked and paid out with smart contract and um, making our community have a real ownership in it. Instead of it just being like, oh, we're creating this world on our own, we're marketing our own. You, your job is to buy a book and read it. It's like, no, you're able to actually help grow this brand and share its success. Um, if you want. So that's a big part of we're doing in terms of how we're utilizing web three. And then the other main part is in having like token gated community, right. We, we see web three and NFTs as a sort of to a subscription or Patreon model. Not that there's anything wrong necessarily with subscriptions or Patreon, but this is just an alternative way of viewing it that I think has a lot of upside potential that has barely been explored or tapped yet.
Speaker 1: Because like with Patreon, say if you're part of some writing community, right. And we're looking at offering the education, we talk, right. Workshops, networking, the Guild describes access to paid gigs, right. That's pretty valuable. Um, those sort of things, normally, if you're paying with Patreon as a consumer, you're thinking that money and each month and you can never get it back. Right. So if you're paying $50 a month to access, you know, education and networking and jobs and writing, well maybe that's great. Maybe you get value from it and you want to keep on paying for it for years. But also what if your budget gets tight? What if you, uh, you know, are taking a break from the industry or whatever, then you have to stop paying for it. And then you lose access to anything that you had access to. Whereas, uh, with NFTs, that's really Mory of a resellable membership pass.
Speaker 1: You buy one time up front, you have lifetime access. And then if you no longer want it, you can resell it for potentially as much or more than you paid for it. So in that sense, it kind of lowers the barrier risk to joining because you aren't syncing money in over time. Um, you're actually able to potentially make money while still getting that benefit. So it kind of seems like, well then where's the, where's the catch? Like there's no free lunch. Like, is that bad for the author or creator right. For us. And there is that risk in terms of not having that recurring cash flow from subscriptions. However, where I think there's the benefit is if the you're essentially letting the market price, the value of your community, right? You're you're, the market will reflect how valuable it is to be part of that community.
Speaker 1: And if you make it valuable and if the membership to get into your community is stable or growing, then that makes you a very sort of desirable thing to be a part of, right. That it catches attention and it can make it easier to get higher level collaborations. It could make it easier to launch other derivative products. But then we launch a second book. Then we launch maybe a second membership tier. Um, maybe you also launch ATRA maybe like, whatever else you wanna sell. Now, all of a sudden it's like if people are fighting over getting in and that membership price is going up in value and maybe it's a thousand dollars or $5,000, right. To be a member. Now, all of a sudden that makes your brand value at your implied sort of value really high. And it makes it easy to launch other things or derivative things around that to other people because there's people that can't afford to get into the main membership, but there's other things that they might build to buy from you. Right. So I think it's almost more like a, um, it's a way of rewarding the early community members, if, if that all plays out and yes, you aren't getting money from them every month, but there's other ways that you can actually use that to grow your brand in value. And you might end up making a lot more money long term than if you just were charging $50 a month. Um yeah. And hoping that, and
Speaker 3: The community, the community's incentivized to engage with you because the value upside, um, is shared in the value of the membership. Yeah. No, that's great. Um,
Speaker 5: Patriot, Patriot can kick you off too. Things like that. Centralized, centralized entities like that, like we don't like what you're doing for whatever reason. Maybe they choose to dislike Al, which is unlikely, but who knows? Uh, and then like, Nope, you're going, it's like, oh, it's like anti defi.
Speaker 1: Yeah, for sure. And even from, so like another reason why we're publishing in this way, instead of with serial publishing, like subs stack or such is kind of a similar idea too. Like if you're a reader and you have a good story, do you want to keep on having to pay more and more every month to keep on reading the story? Like, yeah, maybe it's a good story, but then it kind of feels like you're just being asked to keep on pulling in your pocket and keep on paying over and over just to finish the story. And if you stop paying, then you can't read the rest of the story. Um, and it kind of sucks, you know, in its own way. Like it's not necessarily the best experience. And so yeah, there, there's some other brands that have been exploring basically using NFU as an alternative tube subscriptions. And I think there's a lot of interesting potential with that. Um, so yeah, that's, I guess to answer your question in a way that we're using one, three for our brand, so
Speaker 3: Yeah, no, love it. Um, you you've clearly got a ton of knowledge and it's great to hear you speak about it. Um, cuz it's very much aligned to the ethos of web three and the way that we had storied prima see it as well. Um, and I know you've been very active, networking, different communities talking, maybe just share, um, one key lesson learned maybe in the last four to six weeks, uh, in some of your networking from another project or founder or something, something maybe from NY CD, uh, NFT, any key lessons learned from your, um, discussions over the last couple months?
Speaker 4: Well, one thing that comes to mind for me is I'm just so impressed with how much people are willing to collaborate in this space. Um, whether it's collaborating, you know, among, you know, finding an artist to work with or different creatives to work with or just among, um, authors and creators too, it seems like people like the space is still small enough right now, where if you spend enough time getting to know people, you'll kind of get to get in these networks. Um, but people are just a lot more eager I think, to work with each other and to people as collaborators rather than competitors. So that's something that I've been really impressed with.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Um, I mean, and for lessons learned a corollary to that is just the fact that we're early, like just seeing all these different builders and all these ideas and seeing how much is still not brought to fruition yet, which is challenging in some ways, but encouraging, I mean, right. Like it took it or what four decades into the internet or something now. Right. Like it is really only the last 10 years since apps and smart post came out right. That the internet, as we know it has existed. And so we maybe think that it's happened quickly, but it took decades of development right. To get to this point. And so that's the same with web three, like it's going to take, I mean, decades, I would say for at least a decade probably for Webre to really fully build a take off and be what it can be and will be.
Speaker 1: Um, it'll still be probably several more years till we start to see more of that happening. Um, and right now though, there's but is there's so much going on behind the scenes. So like if you're newer to Webre listening and you're like, oh, but like there's all these, you know, Bitcoin and ethere maxes and evangelist saying, oh, web, three's gonna transform all these industries, but
Speaker 1: And so the more that we've been in touch with other teams and collaborating and seeing what's going on behind the scenes, the more, we're kind of amazed with the things that are being built, but also like, gosh, I wish it could be out there now. Like why isn't this live? It's like, well, cuz it takes months or years to develop. So it'll be awhile to see these things come to life. But we are early, there is a lot being built beyond the scenes and just because it's not all out there yet doesn't mean that you can just dismiss the space as a passing fad or a ripoff or, um, hype, like there there's, there's real stuff being built and it's coming. So
Speaker 3: It's like an overnight success after 10 years of work.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 3: That's uh, uh, we totally agree. Um, and it's good to see, uh, and connect with builders like yourselves who are here for the long haul. Um, you know, I've been in the internet business being a former, um, digital marketer, um, in the web two world for the last two decades. So yeah, I know how long it takes to, to reach a certain critical mass. Um, I do hope it happens quicker than 10 years because man did the old internet get awful, ugly, awful fast. Um, and you know, as a father of, um, soon to be young adults, um, I see firsthand what the, um, web two and social centralized platforms have done to their social and cultural wellbeing. And uh, so yeah, it's gotta be fixed. And I think web three is, is an answer, but I totally agree. It's gonna take a lot of, a lot of builders doing a lot of building and for long, for a fairly long time.
Speaker 3: Um, and whatever we can do to accelerate it is certainly why I'm here. Um, so really love the time. And thank you so much. I do have one final question as we're up on the hour here. Um, it's a bit of a fun question. We ask it of all of our guests at the end of the show. And that question is how long in say years, months do you feel? Um, it will take before we see, um, say a, a, a piece of literature receiving one of the mainstream, um, legacy awards, like a Nobel, uh, prize for literature, um, eh, going to a web three born story and community. Any thoughts on that?
Speaker 1: Well,
Speaker 4: I would say longer than that personally. I think even, I mean, a lot of literary awards still often don't consider regular indie published books. They often just go to traditionally published books. So I'm gonna go with longer than five years.
Speaker 3: Five to 10 years. I'm gonna take from you guys. Is your answer fair? Yeah. So we, we we'll start a pool eventually. And, uh, that'll be your entry we'll have an NFT. Well, one thing that one of our guests mentioned in answering the question, um, was, you know, we probably should, uh, build our own reward system so that we can reward our community in our way and, and start to build, um, awareness through our own reward system. So maybe that's something else that's Sy a world or story prima, uh, can start to think about as we endeavor to build the ecosystem and infrastructure for we, what we've started to call story three.
Speaker 4: Hmm. Yeah. I like it.
Speaker 3: Yeah. To, to more broadly capture everything around film 3, 1, 3, right. Because we, we like you believe that, uh, it all starts with a great story. So on that, um, I wanted to say, uh, bring it to a close and say, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. Um, we value your time, your insight, and great to great to meet, um, other web three enthusiasts that are building the future of the internet. So thank you both for your time. Absolut
Speaker 1: A to you. Thank you.
Speaker 3: Super awesome.