Category Archives: Topics

Topic for the 8/11/13 #storyappchat: Measuring the Marketplace

Kindle + Apple + B&N + ??? = 100% (+ or – 50%)

Kindle + Apple + B&N + ??? = 100% (+ or – 50%) (via Digital Media Diet)

This week we’ll be discussing how to measure the marketplace for children’s illustrated digital ebooks and apps. How many book apps are on the market for kids across all formats? What’s the average price, median price, typical sales? How many digital books have been downloaded for the iPad since 2010?

These seem like simple questions, and on the surface they are very basic questions that almost everyone asks when they enter the kid’s digital publishing industry. The part that isn’t simple is the answer. One of our hosts, Carisa Kluver (@iPad_Storytime) has just published this blog post in The Digital Media Diet about the dilemma intrinsic to evaluating the story app market in particular:

Illustrating in the Dark: Why Dick & Jane Can’t Count (A Publishing Mystery)

Other recent discussions within the publishing industry include:

Let’s talk about what we know about the market from our own experiences, stories from other content creators and how to make sense of the limited data available when making future plans for publishing projects.

So join us this Sunday, August 11th, at 9:00 pm Eastern/6:00 pm Pacific. Just start including the #storyappchat Twitter hashtag to participate, or try using our new #TWUBS account, twubs.com/storyappchat. And follow @storyappchat for resources, transcripts and updates! Follow us on Facebook too.

We’ll see you there!

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Guest Host for the 8/4/13 #storyappchat: Mickey Mantle—Launching Wanderful Interactive Storybooks

First Living Books, now Wanderful Interactive Storybooks

First Living Books, now Wanderful Interactive Storybooks

Do you remember Brøderbund’s Living Books series from the 1990s? We sure do as they were one of the first attempts to do interactive storybooks on the “new” CD-ROMs. They set the standard, introducing innovations we all expect in storybook apps: read aloud with text highlighting, touch a word to hear it read again, touch objects on the page to see them animate (with 10-20 interactions per page, sometimes with multiple random animations for each hotspot), great art, sound effects, and high production values (thanks in large part to Living Books creator, Mark Schlichting).

Mickey Mantle, Founder, President and CEO of Wanderful interactive storybooks

Mickey Mantle, Founder, President and CEO of Wanderful interactive storybooks

We’re very excited to have Mickey Mantle as our guest host this Sunday, August 4th. Mickey was the VP Engineering/CTO at Brøderbund during the Living Books years, and  has recently launched Wanderful Interactive Storybooks to re-release many of the original Living Books titles for iOS, Android, and Mac featuring The Berenstain Bears, Marc Brown’s Arthur, Mercer Mayer’s Little Monster, Eli Noyes’ Ruff’s Bone (previous #storyappchat guest host) and more.

Mickey will be talking about the “journey” behind launching Wanderful. There is a lot more than meets the eye…though they’ve posted some of the backstory of the “journey” on their website, there’s much more to hear.

So join us this Sunday, August 4th, at 9:00 pm Eastern/6:00 pm Pacific. Just start including the #storyappchat Twitter hashtag to participate, or try using our new #TWUBS account, twubs.com/storyappchat. And follow @storyappchat for resources, transcripts and updates! Follow us on Facebook too. We’ll see you there.

Guest Host for the 7/28/13 #storyappchat: Andrea Phillips, on Story Interaction

Andrea Phillips, award-winning transmedia writer

Andrea Phillips, award-winning transmedia writer

We’re excited to have author Andrea Phillips as our guest host this week. Andrea is an award-winning transmedia writer, game designer and author. Her book, A Creator’s Guide to Transmedia Storytelling, is published by McGraw-Hill. We’ll explore different kinds of interaction, “particularly the kind that makes the reader feel like they’ve stumbled into a piece of the story themselves. It’s a really wonderful, magical feeling. On a simple level it can be done with letters and photographs from characters in the story, but it could also be creating ways to ex. send email to a character in the story and have them email you back.”

Andrea’s work includes includes a variety of educational and commercial projects, including Floating City with Thomas Dolby, The Maester’s Path for HBO’s Game of Thrones with Campfire Media, The Drunk and On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour Quest with Stitch Media, America 2049 with human rights nonprofit Breakthrough, Routes Game for Channel 4 Education, the independent commercial ARG Perplex City, and The 2012 Experience for Sony Pictures.

Help us welcome Andrea to #storyappchat this Sunday, July 28, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific. Just start including the #storyappchat hashtag to participate, or try using our new #TWUBS account, twubs.com/storyappchat. And follow @storyappchat for resources, transcripts and updates! Follow us on Facebook too. We’ll see you there.

Open Mic Night for #storyappchat THIS Sunday, July 21, 2013

Plan to drop by the weekly #storyappchat this coming Sunday [July 21] at 9 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Pacific) for Open Mic Night. That’s right–the topic or topics are up to YOU. The possibilities are endless:

  • Writers and illustrators: ask the developers about the ins and outs of getting your story built into an app or ebook
  • Story app developers and story app service providers: meet and get to know talented digital artists and writers; find out what your users like and don’t like about your apps
  • Moms, dads, teachers and caregivers: find out about new apps for your kids, and discover how they were created

Since you can create your own topic during the chat hour, there’s no reason why we won’t be seeing YOU this Sunday night at 6 pm PT/ 9 pm ET. Use the #storyappchat hashtag, and tweet away!

P.S. Try using our new #TWUBS account, http://twubs.com/storyappchat and follow @storyappchat for resources, transcripts and updates!

Topic for the 7/14/13 #storyappchat: Sponsored Apps

#storyappchat topic badgeNobody likes ads in their apps, right? Well, it depends. Sometimes unobtrusive ads are OK if it means we get the app for free. And the placement and handling of the ad(s) or product mention(s) make a huge difference. A simple welcome screen including the words “sponsored by” and a company name is a lot more palatable than rotating pop-up ads that insist you view them before moving on in the app.

As creators of storybook apps for kids, we need to be very careful how we incorporate ads in our products, if at all. In fact, a recent update for a book app  that customers had already paid for included new ads, and users were presented with the option to pay again in order to remove the ads. This was an unfortunate decision, especially in an app designed for children featuring trusted, popular characters. There are ways to monetize content without making people feel as though they’re getting ripped off.

On the other hand, if done tastefully and unobtrusively, a sponsorship could make the difference between an app or ebook getting made or not. Perhaps more companies with deep pockets will be willing in the future to pay to sponsor our work, in exchange for a mention and website link. This could be placed on a “For Parents” page in an electronic story, so as not to interfere with the reading experience for a youngster.

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of introducing sponsors and other paid content in apps and ebooks during the next #storyappchat, this Sunday (July 14) at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific. Just start tweeting using the #storyappchat hashtag to take part!

Last Week’s Transcript: on Monday morning I tweeted a link to the 7/7/13 transcript (Selling in Non-U.S. Markets), but if you missed it, the link is here. Follow us on Twitter to get all the latest updates!

Topic for the 7/7/13 #storyappchat: Selling in Other Countries

#storyappchat topic badgeI admit with some embarrassment that #storyappchat is somewhat USA-centric. Since all of us involved with keeping the chat and blog going are here in the States, it’s easy to forget that there is a lot of exciting mobile development (and great stories being written and illustrated) in other parts of the world. I’d like to be more clued in to what’s going on internationally.

In addition, there are real and potential sales from mobile customers in other countries, and both Apple and Amazon make it pretty easy to start selling internationally. But what are the things to watch out for when making apps and ebooks available worldwide? Should our content be translated? What are the best ways to reach customers who don’t speak English?

Let’s discuss the realities, both positive and negative, of selling storybook apps in other countries during the next #storyappchat. We’ll kick things off at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific on Sunday, July 7.

Topic for the 6/30/13 #storyappchat: Critique Groups

#storyappchat topic badgeI studied industrial design in college, and one of the most memorable components of the course material was the critique. Led by the instructor, we’d engage in a whole-class discussion of every piece created by the students for the latest assignment, and I remember going into most of these with a certain amount of dread. I’d heard stories about professors who’d pull work off the wall and silently (and dismissively) let it fall to the floor.

Luckily, I had mostly caring instructors who doled out constructive criticism, but the fear surrounding those critique sessions remains planted in my memory.

Today’s critique groups don’t work like that, thankfully. A critique group is a carefully chosen group of supportive artists and/or writers who are working on projects in the same genre you are. The idea is that everyone in the group both shares current projects with the other members, and provides constructive criticism on everyone else’s work. There should be lots of give and take, and members are expected to stay current on the state of the publishing world so realistic options can be kept in mind and discussed. After all, we all want to reach our target audiences with our work, right?

Critique groups can meet in person on a set schedule, or online in a forum or other web venue. There is no right way to create or maintain a critique group, but certain best practices can help keep members focused on helping everyone in the group achieve success.

Let’s discuss the topic of critique groups during the next #storyappchat, set for this Sunday (June 30) at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific time. Just begin tweeting using the #storyappchat hashtag to take part!