Maximising your world’s revenue and reach with In-World Documents

3 min readFeb 15, 2024


If you’re part of a BackStory world team, you might have seen or heard of the concept of In-World Documents (IWD) here or there. It’s a feature of BackStory worlds that we feel is incredibly important, so here’s a little bit about what they are and how to use them.

When it comes to producing franchises for your world the go to example is stories. Stories bring your world’s history to life and serve as the main sales channels for your world to generate revenue.

But a good story can leave your fans wanting more, and quickly too. How do you quench thirsty fans? Well IWDs might just be the answer. Let’s explore them.

What is an IWD?

It’s important to make the initial distinction between stories and IWDs. Stories have narratives and dialogue, and are generally told from the third-person perspective.

IWDs are generally told from the first-person perspective, and rarely if ever have dialogue. Imagine a scene where a grisly old soldier is sitting at a gnarled table in a crowded inn, drinking his beer and recounting the events of a bloody battle he took part in to some compatriots. How would he explain it to those willing ears? His recounting is an example of what an IWD is.

Need another example? Have you ever read the works of the Greek writer Herodotus, the father of history? He tells tales of distant lands and fascinating peoples. Content that comes across in the ways that his does would be classed as IWDs. To be clear, there is no storyline in IWDs, they serve as ways to augment exposition about your world.

Why can IWDs be important?

There are a few reasons why adding IWDs to your world’s stable of content can be important. Let’s have a look at them.

Building a story franchise takes time. Since we don’t accept AI-written content on our platform everything has to be written by authors. It can take an awful lot of time to produce a good novel, even a good novella, and in the downtime between publications you want to keep your fan base engaged and attentive. Feeding them morsels of content can achieve this.

IWDs serve to help fans grow their knowledge of your world. They can often be classed as exposition, similar to our autogenerated time-sensitive wiki pages, but have a much more interesting way of going about it. From the example above, a retelling of a chaotic battle that is mentioned as a historical event in one of your franchises is a perfect IWD. It draws your readers in and gives them the gritty details.

Readers can like and give feedback on IWDs in just the same way as they can with stories. You’re able to see and learn about this feedback in your world’s app so that you can take action on it. You can often float the possibility of a new franchise to your fans through the medium of a single IWD. If you get a lot of positive feedback from it, that might be the catalyst you need to start development of said new franchise.

IWDs are purchased and consumed in the same way as franchise stories. They have a price in BackStory credits, which readers pay to gain access to the content. So developing and writing IWDs is not deemed as extra-content that your team is doing for free. You can derive revenue from them.

How to write IWDs?

The important thing to remember is that your focus when it comes to IWDs is on exposition, not storyline. You’re trying to draw your readers further into your world, by giving them insight into its moving parts.

  • Who is this culture, and which cultures did it spawn out of?
  • Why is this organised religion suddenly hell bent on converting everyone?
  • Who was this historical character and what did they get up to?
  • Why are these two families at odds with each other?
  • What the heck happened in that battle?

All of these examples should help you to understand a little bit about IWDs and how to write them.

They should be written from the perspective of an in-world character

What we have come to notice is that some writers are really good at writing fiction, but others are better at blogging. Due to the nature of IWDs being written in the first-person, you might consider adding 4 or 5 writers who blog to your roster. This kind of writing could possibly come very naturally to them, and perhaps more so than your storyline authors…




story-writing and world-building platform, bringing you amazing fiction content from fantastic creatives. Check us out at