What a difference a year makes

Jan 15, 2016Blog

Blair and I attended the Ontario Writers Conference this weekend in Ajax to talk to writers about our interactive storytelling publishing software StoryStylus. It was fantastic to be greeted by familiar faces who were excited to see us and to show the progress we’ve made.

In April 2014, we were only in month 4 of our software development. We didn’t have a prototype to show and we didn’t have any kind of promotional material for attendees to understand this “thing” we were developing. Our purpose in being there was to talk about interactive storytelling and collect names of interested writers. Our booth consisted of a TV displaying our website, some board games that had a similar concept, and a list for people to sign up to receive updates. There was nothing to sell.

Flash forward to this weekend, a year later, and showing what we’d done and what the plans are for authors moving forward. We were able to articulate things like cost – crazy, I know! – and support for the software and how authors will use it, etc. I’m quite eager to schedule our summer weekend intensive training programs (and week-long storycamps for teens) and get writers creating in a new medium – and they were eager, too!

The highlight of the conference: two writers in particular – one who emphatically stated she’d just dreamed about making her book into a game and the other who told us he’d tried to hire a developer years ago to make a game out of his story and it didn’t work out. And here we were, with this software to help them do just that. She wanted to hug me, so we hugged. He wanted to dive into the software and get started – he is that eager.

They say it takes a lot of effort to get your first few dedicated followers when you have a new concept. We’ve struggled with our messaging – how to communicate this new frontier we think we’re at the forefront of but we’re slowly gaining enthusiasts who believe and are vocal about what we’re doing. We know that as a business, now is the time to exceed their expectations and deliver a stellar experience so that more will follow in their footsteps. We’ve traveled far and wide to get interest going and have no regrets. We now have eager fans and customers in Calgary, Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto and Singapore and beyond.

Taking a moment to reflect on what has happened to One More Story Games in the course of one year inspires me. We’ve trained over 14 1st and 2nd year students at Georgian College to create industry-level code, we raised $175,000 CAD from friends and family investors and we’ve impressed some big players in the games industry who are eager to see where we go. One of my personal highlights includes being on a first name basis with international best-selling writers who I admired from afar.

The next 4 months is all about training writers to use our software and helping them tell stories in a different format and preparing to really show off what this software can do. When I think about the past year and what we’ve accomplished, I am proud. When you’re feeling challenged – professionally or personally – take a moment to look back at how you’ve handled life’s challenges over the past year or two. Celebrate the things that frustrated you – you’ve made it through them – and do a dance for the things that came easily. Maybe, like a rain dance, more easy will come your way. I sure as heck hope it comes ours. 😉

When I think about the year ahead of us, I see endless possibilities. My cynicism is tempered by what we’ve already accomplished. Who knows… maybe a year from now, I’ll be in an Italian courtyard sipping sangria at dusk with one of my favourite authors while we talk about the future of storytelling.

Thanks for reading.