Tag Archives: storytime

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!


Topic for the 6/23/13 #storyappchat: Screen Time vs. Screen Quality

#storyappchat topic badgeNo doubt about it, our kids are spending more time in front of screens–and there is some concern about whether or not this is a good thing. But isn’t it time we make a distinction between passive screen time (i.e., television) and active screen time, like engaging with book apps and other educational material on a tablet device?

Carisa wrote about this very topic a few weeks ago on her blog, and it’s worth a look. She reminds us that not all television is bad, and perhaps we should be focusing on the quality of the media we’re consuming (and who we consume it with), instead of the amount of time spent in front of the screen(s).

Let’s discuss the latest research and opinions and what these might mean for content creators, developers and others involved in creating stories for children during the next #storyappchat. We’ll kick things off this Sunday evening, June 23, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific. Join us! Simply start tweeting using the #storyappchat hashtag–we’ll leave the light on for you.

Topic for the 6/9/13 #storyappchat: Sound Resources

Music In BooksOne of the big advantages of creating stories in app or ebook format is the ability to include sound effects and music. When implemented thoughtfully, these can really help move a story along and add to a reader’s understanding of what they’re reading. But where can a content creator on a budget (and all of us are on a budget, right?) find high-quality but inexpensive sound files and resources?

Because I’m an eMusic member, I sometimes get sounds and music files from their royalty-free music and sound effect libraries, although their interface is designed for songs and it can sometimes be time-consuming searching their offerings for an obscure sound effect. I notice that iStockphoto, one of the best-known sites for very inexpensive photos and illustrations, also offers audio files now, although I have not yet used this service.

Are there resources for music and sound effects that you’ve found useful in your projects? Or are you looking for places to go to locate audio files without breaking the bank? Let’s share our favorite sound resources during the next #storyappchat, set for this Sunday (June 9) at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific. Just start including the #storyappchat hashtag on Twitter at that time to join us!

Transcript for the 5/19/13 #storyappchat: iTunes Descriptions

Quiet little chat last night, but still filled with good information, thought-provoking questions, and valuable opinions from the #storyappchat community. Peruse the chat in its entirety via the transcript above, and be sure to join us every Sunday evening at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT for high-quality discussion every week about storybook apps and ebooks for kids!

Transcript for the 5/5/13 #storyappchat: Eli Noyes

What a treat it was to have Eli Noyes with us for this chat! He shared his experiences creating content for kids in a variety of different formats, as well as a look behind the scenes on his latest projects, Ruff’s Bone and the Raymond & Sheila books.

We also gave copies of both the Mac and the iOS versions of Ruff’s Bone to several fortunate winners during the chat! Grab the details in the transcript above, and remember we chat (nearly) every Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific.

NOTE: we are taking next week off to celebrate Mother’s Day. Join us on May 19 when we will discuss ways to make your iTunes description more effective. See you then!

Transcript for the 4.28.13 #storyappchat: Kindle as App Alternative

There are certainly some advantages to the practice of creating the Kindle version of a story first, then going ahead with the app version later, if desired. We talked about the pros and cons of this approach in our recent chat, and you can follow along in the transcript above.

Also, it looks like we ought to have another chat focused on music and sound, based on the other comments made during this discussion. Remember, we do this (nearly!) every Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific, so make plans to join us. Next week we’ll welcome illustrator Eli Noyes, so don’t miss it!

Topic for the 4/28/13 #storyappchat: Kindle as App Alternative

#storyappchat topic badgeCreating an app is a rewarding, but labor-intensive experience. To be competitive in the app market, animated touch points, professionally-recorded voiceover, word highlighting and embedded games and activities seem to be required features for a storybook app. These can be costly and time-consuming to include, although the results can definitely be worth the effort.

A growing number of content creators have been testing the waters with Kindle versions of their books. Because a Kindle book doesn’t have many of the above features by design (not yet, anyhow!), it can be a good way to introduce an illustrated kid’s story to its intended audience quickly. And later, if it makes sense, the app version can be developed too, complete with all the bells and whistles.

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of this approach for the next #storyappchat. Make plans to join us this Sunday, April 28, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific. Just start tweeting with the #storyappchat hashtag to chime in!