FAQ

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What is hypertext? What are hypertexts?

Hypertext is a kind of writing. While most writing is typically presented in a sequence (e.g., in a book, the second page always comes directly after the first), hypertext uses links to create multiple paths through a document.

A link is a computational object which permits readers to actuate sequences of text using a pointing device such a mouse. In simple hypertexts, clicking a link may be just like turning a page

Links are often more complicated, however, and the reader's repertoire of interaction is not limited to page-turning. It might, for instance, include interventions that substantively affect the reader's experience of the work or change the work itself. (For instance, clicking certain links may change the outcome of a story.)

Hypermedia, a cognate term, refers to documents that are structured like hypertexts (branching, non-sequential) but also include other media, such as images, video, or sound.

Who is Eastgate?

Eastgate Systems, Inc was founded in 1982 and is located in Watertown, MA, just outside Cambridge. Mark Bernstein is Eastgate's founder and chief scientist

Eastgate is a small company. We've never had more than a handful of employees. Our offices are located in a historic 18th-century farmhouse that was once a funeral home. (Lots of interesting passageways; more than a few bumps in the night.) We're committed to developing the best hypertext software and to publishing the best hypertext fiction, non-fiction and poetry, while maintaining a sustainable business model.

Who writes hypertexts?

Lots of people write hypertext, from researchers to journalists to novelists and poets.

In fact, you've probably already written some hypertext yourself. If you have ever posted a Web site with a link on the World Wide Web, you've written hypertext.

Eastgate publishes hypertexts by established authors with careers in print as well as by talented new authors. Our authors include accomplished fiction writers like Michael Joyce and Shelley Jackson, award-winning poets like Stephanie Strickland, scholars like George Landow and David Kolb, and exciting emerging artists like Wes Chapman, Richard Holeton, Judd Morrissey and Lori Talley.

I'm not sure which hypertext is right for me. How can I tell?

Why not browse our catalog, and give us a call or send an email telling us what you're looking for. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will be pleased to recommend something based on your interests.

I've just placed an order. How soon will it arrive?

That depends on what you ordered, and where you're located.

Storyspace and Tinderbox are available for download immediately. After you place your order, visit the download page and download the software demo. A code will arrive via email that will allow you to unlock your demo, turning it into a full-scale version.

All orders are carefully checked and processed by real people. If your order arrives at night or over a weekend, we'll send your code as soon as the office reopens.

For other in-stock products and titles, your order will arrive via UPS 3-8 business days after you place your order, unless you chose a faster shipping option. You can choose shipping options before you check out.

Orders are shipped Monday through Friday. Please remember that UPS does not deliver on weekends.

If you're ordering from overseas, please allow 1-2 weeks for delivery via post. For reasons that are mysterious to us, orders are occasionally delayed in customs. If you've placed an order from overseas and it has not arrived, we recommend checking with your local post office before contacting Eastgate.

What can I expect when I get my hypertext?

Eastgate hypertexts are published on CD. Each hypertext comes with installation and reading instructions; some include other materials as well. Simply insert the disk into your computer, and follow the instructions.

What if I want to teach a hypertext in my class?

Instructors may order Eastgate hypertexts through their college bookstores, or they may have their students order directly from Eastgate, either via the Web or on the phone

Teachers not ordering through bookstores should remind students that because standard shipping from Eastgate takes 7-10 business days, they should be sure to order their hypertexts well in advance of any class deadlines. Faster shipping is available, but it costs more.

How do I request desk copies?

For information on review copies, desk copies, and evaluation copies, please see our Review Copies page.

Do you offer site licenses?

Yes. We offer 10, 50, and 100-user licenses for Storyspace and Tinderbox, and 10 and 50-user licenses for all our hypertext publications. Pricing varies, depending on the license. Please call or email for details.

What terms do you offer booksellers?

We offer various discounts to booksellers, depending on the size of your order Special discounts are available to booksellers for promotional events such as in-store readings. Please call to inquire about our terms.

How do I learn more about Storyspace?

Please visit the Storyspace section of our site, where you'll find ordering information, case studies, and ideas about how you might use the software.

How do I learn more about Tinderbox?

Please visit the Tinderbox section of our site, where you'll find links to ordering and download information as well as tips, tricks, and notes from Tinderbox users.

What about paying your authors?

Eastgate pays a modest advance against royalties, which are typically 15 percent of net sales.

If you'd like to submit work to be considered for publication, please read our guidelines for authors.

Are any of your hypertexts available online?

Excerpts from Victory Garden by Stuart Moulthrop and Marble Springs by Deena Larsen are available here and here. These excerpts are sampled from the much larger and more complicated hypertext originals. As the excerpts have been adapted for the Web, what you see here on the Web site looks quite different from the original.

You might also be interested in the Web hypertexts published in Eastgate's Web zine, The Eastgate Reading Room.

Do you only publish hypertexts written in Storyspace?

No. We publish hypertexts of merit regardless of the software used to create them. Our authors have used many kinds of authoring software in addition to Storyspace, including Macromedia's Flash, Director, HyperCard, Oracle Media Objects, and Toolbox. Some have even written their own environments, creating hypertexts that are original right down to the code.

Why are so many Eastgate hypertexts written with Storyspace?

When Eastgate started publishing hypertexts in 1987, there weren't many hypertexts around, and there were very few tools. At that time, anyone who was committed to hypertext publishing would have had to develop the tools, publish the literature, and promote them both, and that is what Eastgate did. There weren't many other options. Since then, we've kept all our titles in print and available, which has naturally resulted in a preponderance of Storyspace works in the catalogue. This may change with time, but we don't expect to stop publishing Storyspace hypertexts either. Since its first release, Storyspace has proven enormously popular among writers interested in hypertext, and we're pleased to report that it continues to be the hypertext tool of choice for many.