Good morning, Prosers.
It’s been quite the week, hasn’t it?
The last seven (ish) days has been a hive of activity here behind the Prose screens. We overhauled the Challenge Stream and we weren’t prepared for some of the concerns you guys laid across our digital desks.
We tried to answer each one of your concerns, but thought it best, now the dust has settled, to write something to each and every one of you.
Over a year ago, we took a vow of transparency and this is one of those times where we feel full transparency is needed.
There are only 4 of us on the team, and two of us have spent a long time in the past 7 days responding to each and every concern of yours, whilst working part-time on all of our Prose duties, and part-time on the PoetsIN duties.
Some of the complaints we received were misconceptions of the team and the company ethos that we have worked so hard at. So, this is us, setting the record straight. We are going to outline the concerns and comments, and put this to bed so we can continue improving Prose.
1) Default minimum word count.
This is set by default at 15. We will not be changing this any time soon. Why? Because when we allowed full flexibility, with no restriction there, our feeds were full with one word challenges. “Sorrow in one word.” “Death in one word.” Not only was this clogging the streams; we were also getting complaints about it. So we found a happy medium. With tens of thousands of users here, we had a couple of complaints about this. Not enough complaints that would make us re-think our stance.
2) Why did we charge for last week’s challenge of the week?
The first week’s charge for the challenge was to test the feature. We can test on our beta server, but know from experience that the second we unleash it on you guys, if there is a bug that we have missed, you will find it within seconds and we can fix it just as quickly.
3) Will we charge for future challenges?
Short answer, yes. Why? We’ll come back to this shortly.
4) What about those that do not have coins?
Those who do not have coins can either, a) head to the website and buy a coin package, b) become a partner and sell books/shorts/chapters, or c) write exceptional pieces that your Proser peers will juice you for. If neither a, b, or c apply to you, sit out the challenge and find one that doesn’t cost to enter.
5) Are we falling foul of “corruption to profit?”
No. We are most certainly not. We are four people, managing a community tens of thousands larger than our foursome. We work tirelessly on this platform because we love it. This change wasn’t about profit, whatsoever. We’re humble, realistic, and realise that without charging for challenges, and taking a small cut from book sales etc, Prose won’t continue this way.
The above were the main concerns, and comments from people, said in a multitude of ways. All handled in a professional way, sometimes to-the-point, but never abrasive or rude. We are human after all and we’re damn proud of what we have achieved with such a small team and an equally small budget.
Think of how you discovered us. Was that through a large ad campaign? Nope, because we do not do that. We have grown this community organically, by spending time reaching out to people via social media and getting listed on some cool websites, that’s really it in a nutshell. Millions of man-hours go into this and we get paid less than most for the hours we put in.
We have made a tough decision. For the foreseeable, we will be charging for the Challenge of the Week. 50 cents. That’s all. There are challenges out there on the interwebs that charge a shed-load more for entering a challenge. We aren’t charging 50c to make a profit, we are charging 50c to put food on the table.
Over the past 67 weeks, we have given away $6700 in Challenge of the Week funds and have used our funding to pay for it. We haven’t asked you for a cent. The second we do, we have people asking why this “forum” can’t be free. Up until now, we have run Prose from a pool of money from generous investors who believe in what we do as much as we do. We haven’t yet made enough from Prose as a business to be able to pay our bills and such like.
Prose is still free to use. But, if you want $100, you’ll have to pay 50 cents for the chance. We do not make enough currently to be able to keep giving free money, as much as we’d love to. There are plenty of free-to-enter challenges set by your peers that you can enter.
The more you guys buy coins, spend coins on each other, supporting the words of this amazing community, the more likely we’ll be able to offer a free-to-enter Challenge of the Week again. If we do not make enough to pay ourselves and pay the server charges, there will be no paid or free challenges. Dramatic, maybe, but that is the truth.
This does not mean Prose is failing, it does not mean we are going to ‘shut up shop,’ far from it. It’s us making you aware that these changes, along with your cooperation, will ensure our longevity.
Not all of the comments were comments of concern, and we thank each and every one of you for your continued support and for choosing Prose as your home for words.
We are working hard to tip the scales to benefit the author, and we’ve done this so far by providing numerous ways for each of you to make money with your words, with your royalties far outweighing ours.
Tomorrow we have another exciting opportunity for all of you, too, which has been months in the making. But, in the meantime, let’s recap how you can make a living on Prose.
1) Become a Prose Partner. Head here: theprose.com/p/partner. If you are accepted, you can sell your words on Prose. These can be sold as a single poem or short story, or as a book. Books can be sold per chapter, or as a whole.
2) Get involved in the Prose community, like, comment, share, and write. Write like it’s the last thing you’ll ever write; if Prosers like it, they’ll juice you.
3) Create awesome paid challenges. Prosers can actually make money from doing this.
If you would like some marketing tips from the team here, let us know, we’ll create a book in the bookstore that can help serve as a guide with some very useful tips and tricks in there. As a side-note, due to limitations with our time, we will have to charge for this book. Every little helps us, help you.
We think that’s all for now; if you have any further questions or concerns, please message or email us privately, and bear with us while we respond.
Let’s all get back to being creative, shall we?
Until next time, long live Prose!