I created a quick video for The Book App Alliance to answer four questions posed to me about being an author of book apps. Here is the video, with the questions, and my answers, listed below:
Question: What inspired you to be a children’s book author?
My Answer:My inspiration to become a children’s book author really comes from the fun I have when I read to my kids at night. They ask me almost every night to read to them and I find it hard to resist because it makes me feel like I am giving them those imaginative moments that I remember as a kid; some of my fondest memories are when my mother would tell me a story and I would drift off to sleep thinking of the places she would describe. I have a habit of making up stories and presenting them as true tales of my childhood; my kids have caught on and join in the fun by asking me what happened next. I love it when they get excited about the stories I tell, and I was inspired by their excitement to create stories that we could share.
Question: Why did you choose the app platform?
My Answer:I chose the app platform after trying to engage a traditional publisher for about a year or so. It was a frustrating experience; every time I thought I made some headway, the trail would go dark. I was at a business meeting one day and met a friend who was working on a Do It Yourself publishing platform, and it hit me like a ton of bricks: I can do this myself and publish on a platform that really represents the future of reading. I was instantly hooked and literally got started that afternoon.
Question: What were the first steps in figuring out how to create a book app?
My Answer:The first big steps for me were in finding an illustrator. I had the story, and drafted the entire book using block images in Keynote. I’m pretty good on a computer so the Do It Yourself environment was a good transition, but I am not an illustrator by any stretch and that was my biggest problem to solve. I first had to figure out whether to pay outright, offer partnership, or pitch the project as a spec job. I initially reached out to a a few people who didn’t capture the vision I was looking for. Later I started working with a friend who was ultimately too busy to devote the time it would require, and I tried a relative who was really good, but didn’t work in a digital medium, which presented more problems that it would solve. Eventually I was introduced to Zach Clough, who was not only more than capable, but who really caught the vision and joined with me on the adventure. We have since become good friends and worked on subsequent projects together; I couldn’t be happier with the way he helped bring my stories to life, and that’s what you really need to find in an illustrator because the imagery can make or break the experience, no matter how good the story.
Question: What single point of advice would you offer an author considering a book app?
My Answer:If I were limited to only one point of advice, I would say Don’t settle for low quality. There are a lot of authors out there who settle when it is difficult to find an illustrator, or the when the complications of development start to slow things down. Go ahead and simplify your scope when cost or time becomes a factor, but don’t settle for a low quality production; take the time to make a quality book app that inspires and sets you apart from the crowd.
Let me know if you have any other questions for me: I am happy to answer. Also, if you are a book app author, or someone who is interested in book apps, check out The Book App Alliance, an industry organization I co-founded with Karen Robertson.