Tag Archives: narration

Topic for the 10/21/12 #storyappchat: Animations and Interactivity

#storyappchat topic badgeWhy turn a kid’s book into an app? There seem to be a lot of people asking this question, and for good reason. After all, print books are wonderful in and of themselves. Why create book apps at all?

Obviously those of us here at #storyappchat have strong opinions on this, mostly in favor of creating for tablet and mobile devices. But I believe the following question should be asked at the beginning of the creation (writing, illustrating, designing, coding) process: Can this story best be told in app form? And if so, what interactive features should be included in order to enhance/uplift/further the story? Here’s a good post which talks a bit about how the process of creating an app is different from creating a print book–from the ground up.

We’ve all seen book apps that feature an already-beloved print book with some extra animations, sounds and/or puzzles included, in now familiar, expected and distracting ways. I wonder if the app-buying public isn’t already a little tired of this approach. App publishers seem to be listening, too, based on the new features added to several of the Oceanhouse Media titles.

What are those features that really belong in a storybook app–those features that engage, surprise and delight children (and parents), instead of just existing as an excuse to crank out yet another story in app form?

Let’s discuss, debate and hash out this issue during the next #storyappchat on Sunday, October 21 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific. Just start using the #storyappchat hashtag in your tweets around then to join us!


Transcript for 2/5/12 #storyappchat: Standards

We shared opinions on standards during the February 5 #storyappchat–in other words, the features/controls that ought to be present in all storybook apps. In spite of the simultaneous drama on the football field, this chat was very well attended and LOTS of good opinions and information was passed around.

Enjoy the 24-page transcript, and make plans to join us NEXT Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time for the next installment of #storyappchat!

Topic for 12/11/11 #storyappchat: App Trailers

#storyappchat topic badge

App trailers (short videos about your app, designed to generate interest and excitement) are becoming a very important part of the marketing phase of app development. In fact, many app review sites are now making an app trailer a required part of the review.

But how easy are they to create? Is it necessary to contract with a big-budget media group to produce one, or can you spend a few hours with iMovie (like I did) and put one together at almost no cost?

Let’s talk about app trailers at the next installment of #storyappchat THIS Sunday (December 11), at 9:00 p.m. EST. Bring links of your favorite app video trailers, including your own (if you have one). Let’s share the elements that go into a good app trailer, and how they can be used to promote a storybook app. Be prepared to ask and answer questions, and in the meantime, check out these book and app trailers below!

A Present for Milo by Ruckus Media Group

Tracks in the Sand by Loreen Leedy


Peterkin Meets a Star by PicPocket Books

JibJab Jr.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Bartleby’s Book of Buttons by Monster Costume

Cinderella by Nosy Crow Apps

Guest Host for 12/4/11 #storyappchat: uTales!

uTales LogoWe’re very excited to have @uTales joining us for this Sunday’s #storyappchat as guest host. uTales is a picture book storefront that has over 150 stories, accessible either by web or mobile device app (iPhone, iPad and soon for Android). Register for a free account to preview the books, and find out more about creating your own stories for the uTales platform. The site provides tools for creating books with sound, animation and interactivity, and shares 60% of the earnings with the content creators.

Parents who want to share the books with their kids pay either a $9.99 monthly fee for unlimited access, or pay per book fees, usually between 3 and 5 bucks each.

uTales has a blog and a FAQ page to handle common questions, and they have a Facebook community page for authors/illustrators. Gather any additional questions you might have and join us for #storyappchat THIS Sunday (Dec. 4) at 9:00 p.m. EST. We look forward to seeing you there!

Transcript for 10/16/11 #storyappchat: Liz Castro

We were grateful to have @LizCastro serving as guest host for this mind-blowing, fantastic chat–full of pithy opinions, terrific information and timely, appropriate questions. If you didn’t get a chance to check out Liz’s site and blog earlier, now’s your chance. AND, Liz gave away a copy of her complete ePub creation suite–what a deal even at full price! Pore over the 25 pages in the transcript above if you don’t believe me–and remember to join us every Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time for the next #storyappchat installment.

Speaking of the next installment, for the 10/23/11 #storyappchat we plan to cover the ins and outs of Social Media for Content Creators, a topic you won’t want to miss. Plus, we are planning to have a giveaway on a just-released storybook app–more details in a few days. See you there!

Special Guest Host for 10/16 #storyappchat: Liz Castro

Liz CastroWe’ve got someone special lined up for this week’s #storyappchat: tech writer and ePub expert Elizabeth Castro! She authored the book that taught me (and scores of others) HTML more than a decade ago, and her recent EPUB: Straight to the Point book is a godsend for designers and independent publishers tasked with creating ePub documents for the iBookstore and elsewhere. Read more about Liz at her site, blog and Amazon page. Here’s her Twitter profile too.

Of special interest to those of us who want to create electronic storybooks for kids is Liz’s recent ePub miniguide titled Read Aloud ePub for iBooks, which walks readers through the process of creating narrated books for the iBookstore, complete with word highlighting. As far as I know, this book is the only resource of its kind now available.

Bring your questions, comments and good humor for Liz. We will kick things off at 9:00 p.m. EDT this Sunday night–just use the Twitter hashtag #storyappchat to participate.

P.S. First-timer? No worries. Just check out this fantastic Twitter chat cheat sheet by Debbie Ohi–it’s a piece of cake!

Transcript for the 9/11/11 #storyappchat: Sound!

Great chat last night–in which we discussed the pros and cons of using audio in storybook apps–specifically three main categories: background music, sound effects and voiceover narration. Thanks to all who stopped by to share opinions, links and information.

Also a big thank-you goes to Piccolo Picture Books, who gave away FOUR promo codes for stories within their app. If you missed the chat, feel free to peruse the transcript above–and make plans to join us next Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern for the next one!