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Tales is building the platform where creators can transform ideas into major franchises

Writers Are Struggling

Traditional books aren’t selling like they used to. Below are the bestsellers in each time period. Bestselling books have been declining in each time period. Lord of the Rings (1950-1990), Harry Potter (1990-2000), The Da Vinci Code (2000-2010), The Girl on the Train (2010-Today)
One million books are self-published per year but only 40 of those writers are able to generate $1 million over 5 years. Graph showing millions of writers but only 1 becomes a best-selling author.

Visual and interactive mediums are enjoying unstoppable growth.

Games such as Fortnite, Minecraft, Clash of Clans, Pokemon Go, Fruit Ninja, Subway Surfers, Candy Crash, and Angry Birds have been outselling books.

Storytelling needs to evolve

Mixed Media

Blurred lines

Text only days are vanishing quickly. Great storytellers are able to weave imagery, video, and audio into their storytelling.

Interactive

Responsive

Consumers are used to a world that responds to their voices, whether they're posting a Snapchat story, commenting on a friend's Tweet, or making choices in Black Mirror's Bandersnatch.

Episodic

Engagement over time

Consumers expect regular drips of content from creators they love. They increasingly view media as a service, not a "buy-once and forget" product.

Social

Discuss everything

Consumers love having communities where they can discuss their favorite television shows, movies, games, books, comics, and podcasts.

Bite-Sized

Fits into their schedule

Consumers are busy! They prefer products that work around their schedule, not the other way around. Must be easy to find, try, and understand!

Free

Ownership is dead

The pay-upfront model is on its last legs. No matter what the medium, consumers are increasingly choosing subscription or freemium options for media.

I'm the co-founder of Tales and this is my story

Final Fantasy Adventure: Amanda dies. Writers create unforgettable moments.

I met Amanda in 1991.​

I took this photo of her the moment after she revealed she had just been fatally bitten by a medusa and will become one shortly. Before I ended her life, she begged me to take her dying tears to bring her brother back to life (he had been turned to stone). Even though this was over 20 years ago, I remember this moment in Final Fantasy Adventure very clearly.

However, a decade ago I graduated from Berkeley, ranked 3rd in my engineering class and it occurred to me recently that I can’t remember how to do calculus anymore as I haven’t touched it… well… since graduation.

Why is it I am able to remember an obscure story from my childhood, but I can’t remember basic math that was the building block for my engineering education?

Humans are fundamentally WIRED for stories.

Creators have been drawing on cave walls for centuries.

Before we learned to write in 3200 B.C., we told stories to pass information down through each generation. Those of us that were able to absorb these stories survived and reproduced (the rest were probably consumed by lions). Stories have the ability to TEACH us, INSPIRE us, make us CRY, and make us LAUGH. We can only live one life but stories let us visit the lives of others. At this moment in time, empathy is more important than ever. Stories may very well be the most valuable intangible asset in our lives.

Great storytellers are important.​

But we all know the stereotype of the creative writer. Barista / Uber driver by day, working on scripts by night. Working for years in isolation with no feedback, networking to find agents/influencers, and praying that a publisher will find an audience for them in the rare case they get that one-shot.  

If J.K. Rowling can get rejected 13 times by publishing “experts” for Harry Potter, perhaps the distribution system should be rebuilt. Success shouldn’t be dictated by pure luck or who you know. Good stories should rise to the top through talented storytellers… coupled with user data, rapid iteration, modern formats, and effective monetization.

Tales allows writers to rapidly pilot visual, interactive, episodic stories and iterate off feedback/metrics to improve performance. Couple all this with freemium, subscription, and ad monetization and we’ve got stories that can be produced for the cost of an ebook but with the distribution potential of freemium mobile games.

The gaming industry has done an amazing job with stories about knights defeating dragons to save helpless princesses but we think it’s time to make room for other genres of storytelling. We can’t wait to see what you can do on our platform!

Thomas Wu

CEO / CO-FOUNDER

Asian male wearing leather jacket. About: Thomas Wu

Thomas Wu

Chief Executive Officer
  • Elevation Partners
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Berkeley
Caucasian male with a ponytail + beard. About: Alex Hall

Alex Hall

Chief Technology Officer
  • Netflix
  • Microsoft
  • Berkeley
Latino male wearing a t-shirt. About: Sam Gutierrez

Sam Gutierrez

Technical Art Director
  • Electronic Arts
  • Bigpoint
  • 2K Games
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